How to Tell If a Ruby Is Real: Natural & Treated Rubies

How to Tell If a Ruby Is Real: Natural & Treated Rubies

Assessing a Ruby’s Color, Clarity, Inclusions, Origin, Thermal Conductivity, and Obtaining Professional Certification Are Key Factors in Determining if It Is a Genuine, Natural Stone or a Treated One.Curious about whether the ruby in your possession is authentic or counterfeit?

Rest assured, you’ve come to the perfect destination.

Within this informative manual, I shall provide answers to the subsequent inquiries:

  • What sets apart genuine rubies from treated rubies?
  • Which locations yield authentic rubies?
  • What exactly constitutes a counterfeit ruby?

Defining Natural Rubies

A natural ruby gemstone represents the crimson variation of the mineral corundum, exuding exquisite beauty. Corundum, the mineral species responsible for the diverse palette of sapphire gemstones, sees its red manifestation known as ruby.

Natural rubies

Renowned as one of the four esteemed precious gemstones in the realm of jewelry, ruby holds a special significance as the birthstone for individuals born in July. Its allure extends to encompass a wide spectrum of gemstone enthusiasts, making it an enduring favorite in the world of adornments.

Ruby gemstones can be discovered across the globe, originating from diverse regions. These geographical locations yield a plethora of red gems, each exhibiting distinct nuances in their crimson shades. Myanmar, previously known as Burma, stands out as a prime source for the highly sought-after pigeon blood rubies, renowned for their exceptional quality. Additionally, notable countries contributing to the production of gem-grade rubies encompass the United States, Afghanistan, India, Thailand, Madagascar, among numerous others.

Natural Rubies vs Heat Treated Rubies

Various colored gemstones undergo heat treatments to augment their hues. The application of heat is a customary practice in the realm of gemstones and generally does not significantly influence their worth. The consensus within the gemstone industry is that this process simulates the authentic natural phenomenon of rubies undergoing heating, thereby intensifying their color.

It is worth noting that heat treatments do not exclusively serve as the sole means to enhance the color of rubies. Many rubies can also undergo irradiation to attain more desirable shades. The effects of irradiation are permanent and imperceptible to the untrained eye. It is prudent to assume that all naturally occurring rubies have undergone some form of treatment unless expressly stated otherwise.

RECOMMENDED: Best Ruby Rings for Men

Unprocessed rubies in their natural state command exorbitant prices, particularly when originating from Burma. The absence of any treatment renders Burmese rubies even more precious, with individual carats exceeding a staggering value of $10,000.


Heat treatments do not diminish the intrinsic worth of genuine rubies. However, it should be noted that not all treatments applied to rubies involve heat. Certain treatments may be employed to improve clarity, while others may involve the filling of the gemstone with glass. These particular treatments tend to reduce the value of the ruby. In fact, the general populace often regards glass-filled rubies as counterfeit.

One effective method to discern between a glass-filled ruby and a heat-treated ruby is by utilizing the play of light to manipulate the stone’s angles. A glass-filled ruby will display flashes of red and orange when viewed from various perspectives. Furthermore, imitations made of red glass can usually be distinguished by their tones, as they fail to produce the nuanced hues exhibited by genuine rubies.

These rubies may also be referred to as composite rubies.

Natural Rubies vs Synthetic Rubies

Distinguishing between a natural and synthetic ruby proves challenging for the ordinary individual. Laboratory-generated rubies, known as synthetic rubies, hold authenticity as genuine rubies.

The captivating crimson shade of both natural and lab-created rubies emerges from traces of chromium within the corundum crystal. Synthetic rubies exhibit vivid red tones and unwavering transparency, radiating brilliance. Prominent jewelry establishments like Zales, Kay Jewelers and Jared proudly showcase synthetic rubies among their exquisite assortments.


While several examinations and markers possess the ability to identify counterfeit rubies, they often fail to ascertain whether the gemstone in question is of synthetic origin.

Rubies vs Pink Sapphires

Many individuals hold the belief that authentic rubies solely possess a crimson hue resembling blood, disregarding the range of colors they can actually exhibit. Genuine rubies naturally span a spectrum of red shades, ranging from delicate pinks to fiery crimson tones. Additionally, they can manifest a deeper, more intense red hue. However, if this darker shade veers towards excessive opaqueness, it diminishes the gem’s overall worth.

RECOMMENDED: Pink Gemstones Names and Pictures

This is the point at which certain purveyors of gemstones derive pleasure from perplexing unsuspecting buyers. The realm of rubies encompasses a vibrant array of colors, spanning from reddish-pink to hues reminiscent of purple. Pink sapphires, on the other hand, were traditionally associated with a paler shade of pink, varying from a peachy tint to a fervent hot pink.

Now, the question arises: where does one draw the demarcation between a scintillating pink sapphire and a ruby boasting a reddish-pink hue?


The boundary, dear companions, stands obscured. Experts in the field of gemology find accord in defining a pink sapphire as a shade akin to pinkish red, while a ruby possesses the potential to manifest a reddish-pink tint. Nevertheless, one must acknowledge that perception of color is an individualized experience, unique to each beholder. Each person discerns hues through their own distinct lens.

What Are Fake Rubies?

Genuine rubies can be obtained through various means such as mining, subjecting them to heat treatment, or even creating them synthetically. In contrast, any gemstones or substances that assert their identity as rubies but do not fall into these categories are mere imitations. These imitations lack the inherent physical, chemical, and optical properties that define a true ruby. It is important to note that fraudulent rubies can encompass both natural gemstones or minerals, as well as artificially created materials.

Almandite Garnet
Red Spinel
Red Man-made Gem

In the past, prior to the discovery of red spinel, any red gemstone unearthed was mistakenly believed to be an authentic ruby. One notable example is the misnomer given to the Black Prince’s Ruby in the 1300s, which is, in fact, a red spinel.

It was not until the 1500s that the true nature of the stone was unveiled, but by then, altering its name was an impractical endeavor. As a result, this renowned counterfeit ruby continues to be exhibited in London.

RECOMMENDED: Red Spinel Vs Rubies: Which is Better?

The manufacturing process for synthetic spinel is straightforward, enabling its widespread production and deceptive marketing as genuine ruby. One can also find cubic zirconia and red-tinted glass cleverly cut and polished to resemble rubies, often fooling unsuspecting observers upon initial inspection.

Differences Between Real Rubies and Fake Rubies

Determining the authenticity of a ruby involves several cues that can assist in distinguishing between genuine and counterfeit gems. It is unwise to rely solely on a single characteristic when assessing the legitimacy of your ruby adornments. Fancy apparatus is not always essential for differentiating between bona fide rubies and their deceptive counterparts crafted from red glass, red cubic zirconia, or red spinel.

The optimal approach to discern spurious rubies from genuine ones entails carefully scrutinizing the gemstone under a luminous illumination and employing a jeweler’s magnifying lens.

RECOMMENDED: Garnet Vs Ruby Comparison Guide


Genuine rubies possess imperfections, known as inclusions, which are minute flaws captured within the crystal during its formation deep within the Earth. These inclusions, referred to as rutile or silk inclusions, can be found within ruby gemstones. When a genuine ruby is shaped into a cabochon, it may exhibit asterism, a phenomenon caused by the presence of rutile inclusions. The allure of natural star rubies is undeniable.

Rubies with a high number of inclusions are easily observable to the unaided eye, rendering them of lower quality. Such stones are perceived as lacking brilliance if not cut skillfully. Even a superior quality ruby may still exhibit visible inclusions when examined closely under significant magnification.

RECOMMENDED: Best Places to Buy Ruby Jewelry Online

Rubies devoid of any imperfections or clarity issues often signal the presence of counterfeit or lab-created stones. Genuine rubies possessing exceptional clarity command exorbitant prices in the market. Any item purporting to offer a bargain deal on a legitimate ruby gemstone is likely to be composed of fraudulent or artificially produced materials.

When evaluating the authenticity of a remarkably clear ruby being sold at a significantly high price, it is prudent to examine additional factors that substantiate its genuineness.

Mohs Hardness Scale

The majority of individuals familiar with the Mohs scale wrongly believe that it singularly determines the durability of gemstones. Their understanding of the concept of “hardness” is misguided. A gem’s hardness rating is indicative of its susceptibility to scratches.

The susceptibility to scratches holds significant value for minerals due to the presence of airborne dirt and dust. A substantial portion of airborne particles comprises quartz and other mineral fragments. These particles have the potential to mar gemstone jewelry through scratching, particularly when worn daily over an extended period of time.

RECOMMENDED: Best Places to Buy Gemstones Online

Hence, certain gemstones with vibrant hues are unsuitable for adorning engagement rings. Corundum, renowned for its exceptional durability, stands as one of the toughest gemstones. In the case of rubies, their resistance to scratches extends to the extent that only diamonds possess the ability to mar their surface. Diamonds, being the hardest of gemstones, reign supreme in terms of toughness.

The employment of the scratch test emerges as an immensely reliable method to ascertain the genuineness of rubies. Since they exhibit considerable resistance to scratches, one can endeavor to scratch them using either glass or a steel blade. Should the gemstone remain unscathed, the likelihood of it being authentic greatly increases.


Various examinations exist to detect the presence of synthetic rubies. Certain methods involve visual inspection or the use of a jeweler’s magnifying tool, while others entail comparing the stone to different surfaces.

Nevertheless, these indicators alone might merely suggest the presence of an imitation. If your aim is to acquire genuine rubies, it is advisable to procure them exclusively from authorized vendors who can provide legitimate gemstone certifications that authenticate the authenticity of the ruby.

This foolproof approach is the only reliable means to differentiate between untreated natural rubies and those that have undergone treatment.

I trust that you have acquired valuable insights to help you discern between genuine rubies and their synthetic counterparts. Some of these techniques may obviate the need for certifications or visits to reputable jewelers.

Nonetheless, I highly recommend purchasing loose gemstones accompanied by official certifications issued by professional gemologists or grading laboratories.

Remember, while most tests can determine the genuineness of gemstones, they might not always provide insights into the specific composition or materials used in the production of ruby stones.

Leave a Reply