What You Need to Know Before Selling Rubies
Last updated: July 30, 2018
They are the color of fire and blood and among earth’s most valuable gems. The best rubies sell for a million dollars a carat! The Sunrise Ruby, a fine, unheated pigeon’s blood red 25.59-carat cushion shape, smashed all records when it sold for $30.3 million at Sotheby’s in Geneva in May 2015. If you are selling rubies, you need to do all you can to make sure you are getting what they are worth.
Here at Worthy, we help people sell their unwanted diamond jewelry for the best possible price. What we’ve learned about selling diamonds can help you when you are selling rubies as well. Here are ten things you need to know about selling rubies to make sure you receive the maximum value.
Color is the Most Important Ruby Value Factor
Color is by far the most important aspect of a ruby when it comes to value. Rubies can come in a variety of colors, including all shades of red and pink. Just as with other precious gems, the secondary hue of a ruby plays a big part in its perceived color, and as a result, its value. If the color is too light, the stone may be considered a pink sapphire, and if it is too dark, not enough light will be able to penetrate the stone. The color must be just right, with the most prized rubies having a blood-red primary color, with a secondary hue of purple. The purple tends to accentuate the primary color, giving the stone an even deeper red.
When you Sell Rubies, Consider Clarity Too
The perceived color of a ruby and its sale price is affected a great deal by the transparency of the stone. While some stones have exceptional natural transparency, it is common practice to heat rubies in order to increase their transparency. Similar to sapphires, rubies are heated to extremely high temperatures, as high as 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. Untreated stones will typically draw much higher prices than heated stones, even though the practice is common.
Some Treatments Decrease the Sales Price of Rubies
It has also become common to fill fractures on the surface of the ruby with a type of lead glass, increasing the smoothness of the surface, as well as transparency. Rubies that are filled with lead glass are worth much less than rubies that are simply heated.
Where Rubies are Mined Can Affect Value Too
While rubies are found all over the world, most of the highly valued blood-red rubies come from Myanmar, formerly Burma, in South East Asia. Other popular mining locations include Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Tanzania, Thailand, and Madagascar.
Large Rubies are Extremely Rare
Rubies are very rare in large sizes: a ten-carat ruby is much rarer than a ten-carat diamond. As a result, the per-carat price of large rubies is much higher than the per-carat price of smaller gems.
Synthetic Rubies are Common
Manufacturers have been producing synthetic rubies for almost 100 years. Synthetic rubies were commonly used in Art Deco jewelry so vintage jewelry you own may also contain synthetic rubies. Today, retailers like Zales and Macy’s sell more synthetic rubies than natural rubies. Synthetic rubies sell for much less than natural rubies.
The Most Common Ruby Shapes
Rubies are most often cut in cushion and oval shapes. Other shapes may be harder to find and may cost more in large sizes since they are rarer.
Rubies and Sapphires are the Same Mineral
Rubies are formed from a mineral called corundum and are in the same family as sapphires. The red color of rubies is caused by traces of the element chromium. Along with sapphires, rubies are considered to be one of the four “precious stones.” Unlike sapphires, which can come in a variety of colors, rubies must be red or pink in order to be considered a true ruby, with the darker reds fetching the highest prices. The name itself stems from the Latin word for red, ruber.
Rubies Have Been Treasured for Thousands of Years
For millennia, rubies have been considered to be one of the rarest and most precious gemstones. Ancient people believed that rubies contained mystical powers; warriors would implant rubies in their skin in order to ward off danger in battle. The astounding beauty of the deep-red color of rubies came to symbolize romance and prosperity. Just as in ancient times, rubies are still widely renowned for being one of the most valued and beautiful gemstones used in modern jewelry. Modern royalty and the mega-rich consistently choose rubies as the gem of choice for their fine jewelry. Famous ruby owners include Queen Elizabeth and Elizabeth Taylor.
Some Rubies Have Stars
When cut in a smooth domed cabochon shape, some rubies show a shimmering white six-rayed star that moves over their surface. This is known as an asterism. This phenomenon is a result of countless needle-like mineral inclusions within the gemstone. The value of star rubies depends on their color and the strength, sharpness, and evenness of the star.
If you sell rubies, these ten tips can help you get the highest price for your gems. At Worthy, our expert evaluations, descriptions, and photography set the standard for reselling diamonds and jewelry. On our innovative live online auction platform, our network of thousands of professional buyers around the world compete for your jewelry at the highest price. Because we receive only a small percentage of the sales price, we are on your side: we profit only when you do too, unlike jewelry buyers who try to acquire your item for the lowest possible price so they can profit more. Although Worthy is not currently selling rubies, you can subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when we begin selling gemstones online.