Ruby is derived from the Latin word “ruber,” meaning red – the color of passion. Ruby gemstones have been esteemed since ancient times and are mentioned in the Bible as one of the gems used to represent one of the 12 tribes of Israel, during Exodus. Kings and Queens have long enjoyed this rare gem, and rubies are amply represented in royal regalia. Rubies remain one of the most popular gemstones in history.

The gemstone is a variety of the mineral species corundum and is related to sapphire, another variety of corundum.

Ruby is the July birthstone.


The finest rubies are a pure, vibrant red to slightly purplish red. The gemstone can also be found in varying shades of red, with tones of orange, brown or pink.


Ruby gemstones are cut into round, pear, oval, cushion, emerald-cut and other shapes. Rubies may also be carved or cut as cabochons or beads.


Ruby sources include Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Madagascar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Vietnam. Burma (Myanmar) is known to produce some of the world’s finest quality rubies.


Ruby is a durable gemstone with a hardness of 9.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.


Ruby gems are often heat treated to increase transparency, clarity and color. Other treatments such as use of leaded glass to fill pits and cracks in the stones or oils and dyes may also be used, but these treatments are not considered durable. Any treatments should be disclosed to the buyer.


Ruby can be manufactured in a lab rather than mined. This information needs to be clearly disclosed to the buyer.

Care & Cleaning

  • To minimize scratching and wear, store each piece of fine jewelry separately in a soft cloth or padded container.
  • Ruby jewelry is best cleaned with warm, sudsy water and a tightly woven microfiber or other soft cloth.
    Do not use ultrasonic or steam cleaners on fractured or filled gemstones.
  • Take all your fine jewelry to a professional jeweler at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and inspection.

Find Ruby pieces at a trustworthy, JA Member Jewelry store in our Find a Jeweler directory.

Content © GIA. Image © Robert Weldon/GIA

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