You’re at the right place if you want to know the difference between garnet and ruby. Read on!
In this guide, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about these two red gemstones along with answering some of the most frequently asked questions about them including:
- Are rubies best suited for engagement rings?
- Are garnet gemstones durable?
- Can I buy natural rubies?
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Garnet Vs Ruby Comparison Guide
Key Differences Between Garnet and Rubies
- Rubies are the red variety of corundum while garnet usually comes in a range of colors.
- Rubies are best suited for everyday wear while garnet is a soft gemstone.
- Natural red rubies are quite rare while natural red garnet stones are more common.
- Garnets are semi-precious gemstones while rubies are precious gemstones
- Rubies are the birthstone for those born in July while garnet is the birthstone for people born in January.
Origin – Garnets Vs Rubies
As earlier mentioned, garnets come in a range of color varieties. Garnet is the birthstone for those born in January and is known for its deep reddish-orange hue. Red garnets are quite common although some garnet color varieties are rare especially green garnet stones.
People have been using garnet jewelry pieces since time immemorial. Garnets are one of the most ancient stones along with other semi-precious and precious stones. Most ancient Egyptian artifacts contain garnet stones.
Save for ancient Egyptians, there are other people that were also fascinated by garnet stones. For the most part, garnets were used in different jewelry pieces and signet rings by Greeks and Romans. They used garnet signet rings to seal documents.
The name garnet was derived from “granatas”, a Latin word which means grain or seed. Most people speculate that the name refers to the color definition of the stone because they resemble pomegranate seeds. Red garnet stones are the most common even though garnets are available in a wide range of color varieties.
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Garnets are found all over the world. Red garnets are available in different places while some color varieties come from few deposits. Some of the most common places where you can find red garnet stones include India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, China and United States among others.
Rubies are pinkish red to deep red varieties of the corundum mineral. You probably know about corundum a little better owing to its trade name sapphire. Save for red, all other corundum colors are known as sapphires.
Like garnets, rubies have also been around since time immemorial with special mentions in biblical texts as well as ancient times. However, for the most part in history, people mistook it for red spinel. Many different cultures revered rubies including China, India and Europe.
As earlier mentioned, rubies and garnet stones date back to ancient times. Rubies are among the four different precious gemstones including emeralds, sapphires and diamonds. An authentic ruby is not subjected to any kind of treatment, is equally rare and falls on the higher side of the pricing spectrum.
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The name ruby is derived from a Latin word “ruber” that means red. Moreover, the term rubinous comes from the word ruber and that’s why the gemstone is known as ruby. Most natural rubies usually come from Burma, now Myanmar.
You can find rubies in different countries including India, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia and Afghanistan among others.
Appearance – Garnet Vs Ruby
In this learning, we’ll be focusing on red garnet stones even though they come in different color varieties and shades. Almandite garnet is the most common variety of red garnet. Almandite garnet features a deep red color with brown or orange secondary hues.
Almandite garnet stones can also come in red color with orange or brown secondary hues. Most people like rhodolite garnet in red. Rhodolite garnet stones usually have purple or pink secondary hues as opposed to reddish brown or orange color.
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Rhodolite stones are deep red and have a rich raspberry secondary hue. Other different red colored varieties start to venture in orange garnet stones like Malaia, hessonite and spessartite. Don’t expect garnet stones to be subjected to any kind of treatment since most varieties are not only affordable but also common.
In the same breath, there are no lab grown garnet stones on the market. However, you might come across garnet imitation stones like glass and cubic zirconia.
Ruby features a deep red hue that comes from tiny traces of chromium that enter color corundum when it forms. Ruby’s base color is entirely red with slight pink or purple secondary hues. The gemstone also has some iron content.
Fine color authentic rubies, on the other hand, come from all over the world. However, those from Burma are highly valuable. Pigeon blood rubies is one of the best color varieties of ruby. These gemstones usually have intense shades of blood red hues.
Price and Value – Garnet Vs Ruby
There difference in price between a carat untreated authentic ruby and a carat pyrope or almandine garnet is quite significant. Natural rubies that are not subjected to any kind of treatment are rare and not easy to come by that’s why they’re relatively expensive.
Ruby jewelry pieces are usually valued based on color. Untreated fine quality ruby stones can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per carat. The price of fine colored rubies from Burma that have undergone heat treatment is $7,000 or thereabout per carat.
Rubies are quite expensive as compared to red garnet stones. The rare red color varieties are no exception. Almandine garnet and pyrope garnet, on the other hand, goes for $35 and $20 per carat respectively. Rhodolite garnet stones are more expensive as they cost $100 per carat.
Garnet and ruby stones can both come with asterism. Asterism is typically a gemstone phenomenon in which inclusions are usually arranged in stars when hit by light. You can clearly see the star effect when the stone is cut en cabochon.
Star garnet stones are rare as compared to star rubies. The more the carat weight the more expensive the stone. For instance, a 1 carat top color star ruby can cost up to a maximum of $1,500.
Save for the actual value of the stone, it’s also best to assess the long-term value of garnets and rubies. You wouldn’t want to replace your engagement ring 1 or 2 years down the line after spending a fortune to get it.
Most people choose to wear their wedding rings daily that’s why the stone needs to hold up remarkably well. Rubby saves you the hassle of worrying about its longevity. All corundum minerals are rated at 9 on Mohs hardness scale.
Mohs hardness scale helps you know how well the stone in question can resist scratch from dirt and dust in the air especially if you plan on wearing the jewelry piece every day. However, Scratchability resistance is quite different from standing up to blows and bumps. Rubies lack gemstone cleavage which means that they have great wearability.
Different garnet stones usually have different hardness level rating on Mohs scale. However, corundum is the hardest stone variety. Garnets are rated at 6.5 to 7.5 on Mohs hardness scale but that depends on the variety.
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Like rubies, garnets also lack gemstone cleavage even though they have relatively low hardness rating. However, you don’t have to worry about the stone splitting when hit like their faceted counterparts.
Conclusion – Garnet Vs Ruby
Garnets and rubies are both beautiful gemstones best suited for engagement rings. At this point, it always narrows down to personal preference and budget. However, some gems make excellent center stones than others when it comes to engagement rings.
Ruby has an edge over garnet when it comes to engagement rings. Here’s why:
- A ruby engagement ring is ideal for everyday wear owing to its high hardness rating on Mohs scale.
- Rubies are less likely to split when struck since they lack gemstone cleavage
However, garnets are relatively cheaper in larger carat sizes and are equally easy to find. Plus, unlike rubies, they come in different color varieties. Rubies are only available in reddish pink variants. If you go for a garnet ring, you might want to ensure it’s in a protective setting such as flush setting.