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How to Tell if a Ruby Is Real

March 29, 2023

When purchasing jewellery, it can be tempting to go for the first piece that catches your eye. Jewellery purchases are an investment, and often tied to a memory or a person. Authentic gemstone jewellery can be passed down to family members for generations. When you put it in those terms, you want to pause and ensure you’re investing in genuine ruby-laden jewellery. 

Authentic rubies take millions of years to form naturally, and it pays to wait for this treasure. These gemstones symbolise passion, protection, and wealth, and you certainly have to spend some money to bring about that abundance.

However, you don’t have to be an expert to tell if a ruby is genuine. Simply read through our list of tips and tricks for identifying real ruby, and you’ll be ready to buy natural ruby jewellery in Australia!

Be Aware of Common Imitations

Glass, tourmalines, and garnets can look very similar to rubies. While these may sometimes even look presentable in jewellery, natural rubies are much more valuable. You don’t want to tarnish your special memory of purchasing your first ruby by accidentally falling for an imitation. Always ask the shopkeeper what stone you’re being sold. 

When it comes to glass, you can identify a fake by comparing it with a real ruby under a bright light source. Evaluate the lustre the stone holds, because a naturally-formed ruby will have visual evidence of unaltered mineral inclusions.

Inclusions include dark spots or small lines on the stone’s surface. These imperfections are visible only through the use of a magnifying device and are what make the stone even more precious.

A ten-power (10X) loupe, readily available online, can help you look for inclusions on your ruby. If no inclusions are present, chances are, it is a fake. A similarly tinted glass will lack the brightness and richness of the hue of a natural ruby; often, the glass will contain tiny air bubbles, which are rarely present in natural rubies.


Test the Hardness

A defining characteristic of rubies is their hardness. Rubies rank 9 on the Mohs scale, second only to diamonds and moissanite gems. This means any object ranking lower than 9 on the Mohs cannot scratch a ruby.

To test the hardness of a ruby, you can use something called the scratch test. The scratch test involves attempting to scratch the surface of the ruby with any object that is not a diamond or a moissanite gem. You will know the stone in your hands is not a natural ruby if it scratches successfully.


Assess Colour

Colour is an essential decider of whether the ruby in question is real. Rubies are known for their rich, bright hue. A pale or dull stone, therefore, is likely to be fake. When evaluating the colour of the stone, remember that the colour of a genuine ruby is often called ‘spotlight red’ due to its similarity to that of a bright traffic light.

You can also perform something called the rub test, where you rub the ruby against a smooth, hard surface. A real ruby never leaves colour behind on the surface it’s scratched against.


Check the Weight

Fake rubies are less dense than real ones. To determine whether a ruby is real, compare its weight with the weight of genuine ruby of a similar size. If the weights of both pieces are similar, it indicates that the ruby being tested is real.


Check the Price Tag

One good indicator of the authenticity of a gemstone is its price. Natural rubies are an extreme rarity. Less than one percent of all gem-quality rubies remain unaltered. 

Even rarer are natural rubies over one carat, and thus they are one of the most expensive gemstones in the market. Typically, a one carat, unheated African ruby is valued at $2,000 U.S. dollars. If you think you’ve swung a deal because you’re only paying a few hundred dollars, there’s a high chance it’s an imitation ruby or a common gemstone that looks similar.


Look For Certification 

Looking for proper certification is another method for ensuring authenticity. Most reputable jewellers will provide a certification of authentication for each of their jewels, detailing their carat weight, colour, clarity, and cut. 

The document will also likely specify if the gemstone has been treated. If a jeweller fails to provide a certificate of authenticity, their ruby is probably a dupe.


Ask Professionals

If nothing else works out and you’re still in doubt about the authenticity of that ruby you’ve determined is your birthstone, consulting a gemologist or another expert is always an option.

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