Rubies & Sapphires: What to Look For

When selecting a ruby or a sapphire, observe the ?four Cs? (Color, Clarity, Cut, Carat) as you would for a diamond. The deeper and more vivid its color, the more valuable a ruby or sapphire is. ?Pigeon Blood Red? is considered the most desirable color for a ruby, and is very rare. Sapphires should be a strong, clear blue ? but not too dark.

Rubies and sapphires contain needle-like inclusions that distinguish them from synthetic or simulated stones. Some have a star-like inclusion that can increase the beauty and value of the stone. Such stones are cabochon-cut (smooth and unfaceted) to display the star.

Rubies and sapphires are almost always heat-treated to enhance their color and clarity. This is considered an acceptable treatment by jewelry industry standards. Stones that are certified as being untreated in any way will command a premium price. Always ask your jeweler whether a ruby or sapphire has been treated.

Examine the stone indoors and outdoors: Its color should not change, and it should be ?eye-clear? (no visible inclusions). Note the reflection of light off the facets of the stone. Does it reflect evenly when you hold the stone face-up?
Large rubies and sapphires usually cost more per carat than small ones. For very expensive stones, origin is important. A stone that’s certified of Burmese origin (or from Kashmir in the case of a sapphire) will command a higher price. Of course, it’s all about personal preference. If you find a gem that speaks to you ? even if it’s not from Burma or Kashmir ? go for it!