What Is the Difference Between a Ruby and a Diamond?
Two of the most popular gemstones for jewelry are rubies and diamonds. And while these are both precious gemstones, there are some key differences when it comes to a ruby vs diamond.
As a whole, ruby and diamond have different chemical makeups, different properties, and get produced in different ways. Let's take a look at what the differences are between these two rare gems.
The Chemical Composition of Rubies vs Diamonds
Red rubies are commonly confused with other stones such as garnets because of their common red color. And, while you can find both a red ruby and a red diamond, the two are not the same. To get an understanding of the difference between diamonds and rubies, let's start with the chemical makeup of each type of stone.
Rubies' Chemical Composition
Rubies belong to a family of gems called corundum. A few other gemstones in this category include sapphire stones and emeralds. Gemstones in this category have a hardness of 9.
While rubies and red diamonds both have a red hue, ruby's colors are richer and more expressive. They can show in tones of pink, deep red, purplish hues, and more.
The reason for rubies' red color is that Cr2O3, or chromium, is part of its chemical makeup. Its chromium percentage ranges from 0.1% to 4%. The clearer and deeper the red color that a ruby has, the more expensive it is.
Additionally, rubies fall on a scale of five different transparencies. The highest level of transparency is transparent and the lowest is opaque. Rubies with higher transparency are usually valued at a higher price.
Diamonds' Chemical Composition
Diamonds are a bit different from rubies. Highly pressurized carbon forms these gemstones. This creates a very rare and unique crystalline structure. Thanks to that structure, it is the world's hardest substance.
Most diamonds do not come in a strong red hue, and if they do they are very difficult to find. Sometimes, jewelers irradiate diamonds using heat. This process enhances their natural color and can make red diamonds richer looking.
Another way of finding a red diamond is to grow one in a laboratory. When this takes place, chemists can add chemical substances to the diamond to give them a red hue. Red diamonds usually have more of a red undertone than true red color.
Like other diamonds, appraisers value red diamonds by their color, clarity, carat, and cut size. Each of these factors will influence how much they cost and can give them greater value.
Where to Find Rubies and Diamonds
Another difference between rubies and diamonds is where miners find them. While both of these gemstones can occur naturally, miners find them in different places. Or, people can produce both of these gems chemically in a lab.
Where to Find Rubies
Rubies, when mined naturally, are mainly found in the marble belt. The marble belt is a section of the Himalayan mountains. This part of the mountains ranges from the Southern part of Tajikistan through Afghanistan. It also crosses through Nepal, China, and Vietnam.
Outside of Asia, you can find rubies occurring naturally in Africa and Australia. You can also head to the United States to find rubies in South Carolina and Montana.
Where to Find Diamonds
Diamonds appear in different parts of the world than rubies, for the most part. For the most part, Brazil, Russia, and India are major sources of diamonds. These areas may produce red diamonds, but they are not as common in these areas.
The red diamonds are mostly found in the Argyle mining section of Australia. In fact, miners found a diamond called the Moussaieff Red in this area. The Moussaieff Red is the largest naturally occurring red diamond in the world.
The Clarity of Rubies vs Diamonds
Now that we know the basics of rubies and diamonds, let's take a look at a few of their individual properties. Every gemstone has characteristics that make it unique, and rubies and diamonds are no different. One factor that differentiates rubies and diamonds is their clarity.
The Clarity of Rubies
One interesting fact about rubies is that they have more imperfections than diamonds. Professionals call these imperfections inclusions or birthmarks. They impact the clarity of the gemstone. Because of this, they're judged on a smaller scale that includes four points.
The Clarity of Diamonds
Similar to rubies, diamonds almost always have inclusions under the surface of the gem. However, they are judged on an eleven-point scale instead of a four-point scale.
Diamonds usually have their inclusions removed. Experts do this by drilling pathways through the diamonds. From there, they pour acid into the diamond to remove the inclusions. While this process removes the inclusions, it can reduce the clarity of the diamond.
The Cut of Diamonds and Rubies
We hear a lot about the cut of a gemstone. The cut is the shape that a gemstone gets made into. When shopping for engagement rings or other pieces of jewelry, you'll select a cut to adorn the type of jewelry you purchase.
Rubies and diamonds differ significantly in their cut. The cut, in turn, then influences the price of each of these types of gemstones.
The Cut of Rubies
The cut of a ruby reduces its price and its quality. They're typically cut immediately after removal from the mine. When this happens, the gem is called a native cut ruby. When the cut brings out the ruby's color or improves its refraction, it can impact the price of the gemstone, although this is fairly uncommon.
The Cut of Diamonds
Unlike rubies, the way that a diamond gets cut is one of the factors that positively influence a diamond's price. This is because it can drastically change the way that the gemstone looks. People often purchase diamonds for their specific cut. However, jewelers still keep the gem's weight in mind when cutting it.
The Carat Weight of Rubies vs. Diamonds
While gemstones come in varying carat weights, there are a few differences between the carat weight of diamonds and rubies. This is mostly due to how easy it is to find one or the other of these two gemstones.
The Carat Weight of Rubies
Rubies with a weight greater than 1.0-carats are much rarer than diamonds that have the same weight. The carat weight of a ruby will increase its overall weight in the same way that it does for diamonds.
The Carat Weight of Diamonds
Only one out of every million mined diamonds can be polished into a 1.0-carat jewel. Because of this, there are many diamonds that are quite large but have a much smaller carat weight.
The Gemstone Value of Rubies vs. Diamonds
Another factor that differs between diamonds and rubies is the gemstone value. There are many different gemstones, and each of them is valued slightly differently. Rubies and red diamonds are no different, despite their similarities.
Several of the factors we've discussed, such as carat weight and clarity will affect the value of each of these gemstones. However, the overall cost of these two gems varies quite a bit.
The Value of Rubies
For the most part, the value of a ruby is lower than that of a red diamond. In addition, the value of a ruby will depend on whether it is mined naturally or is created in a lab.
The blood pigeon ruby which is found in Burma is one of the most expensive types of naturally occurring rubies. At a weight of 1.5 carats, you can expect to pay around $7,000.
In contrast, if you choose a lab-created ruby you'll still get the corundum gemstone you're looking for and the gorgeous color without the hefty price tag. A 1.5 carat, lab-created round ruby costs less than $1000.
Similarly, a 5.0-carat blood pigeon ruby made in the lab will only set you back $5000. This makes lab-created rubies far more cost-effective for people who still want the beautiful appearance of a ruby.
The Value of Diamonds
Red diamonds are one of the rarest gemstones out there which is why they cost significantly more than a ruby. For example, a pinky-red diamond that's naturally occurring and very small will cost about $8000.
For something that's been color enhanced but is more than a carat, you'd be expecting to pay around $20,000. Another example would be a 5.0 carat, natural red diamond, which would cost $500,000.
In fact, the average cost per carat for a red diamond is about $920,000. With such a high price tag attached to it, this makes red diamonds a less popular choice than rubies for most people.
Rubies vs Diamonds in Pop Culture
It's not just physical properties that make rubies and diamonds different. In fact, these two have some major differences when it comes to pop culture.
Both gemstones have been around for a long time, and have a rich history associated with them. While both are recognized as precious stones, pop culture has treated them very differently.
Rubies in Pop Culture
Rubies were first discovered nearly two thousand years ago when the first ruby was mined in India. The stone quickly developed a reputation for symbolizing health, romance, devotion, wealth, and success.
Warriors in ancient times used to inset themselves with rubies to protect them during battle. They believed that having rubies on their person would keep them safe and ensure their success.
Ancient scholars also sought benefits from rubies. They believed that rubies would bring them wisdom, success, and wealth.
Over the years, the symbolism of rubies didn't diminish. In 1937 King George VI commissioned The Imperial State Crown to be made with The Black Prince Ruby. Later, in 1973, Queen Elizabeth had 96 rubies added to her tiara when the people of Burma gifted them to her for her wedding.
In modern culture, rubies are still considered beautiful and precious gems. We see them featured on Dorothy's slippers in The Wizard of Oz and we saw Kate Middleton wear them on the red carpet. They've also become a common 15th wedding anniversary gift for couples.
Diamonds in Pop Culture
Diamonds have also been around for thousands of years, and have been mentioned in many manuscripts dating back to the first century AD. Like rubies, they were first found in India, where locals used to gather them in streams and rivers.
Diamonds, just like rubies, developed a lot of symbolism. These precious stones were given the symbolism of trust, love, and faith. Thanks to these connotations, they quickly became a popular choice for engagement rings.
One interesting use of diamonds in the middle ages was as a cure for many diseases. Doctors stated that diamonds could be used to remove toxins from the blood, heal brain disease, and even give relief for pituitary gland disorders. They also ascertained that diamonds could be used as a prevention for anxiety and fear.
In modern times, we see many instances where diamonds make an appearance. Marilyn Monroe's hit song Diamond's Are a Girl's Best Friend and Breakfast at Tiffany's both brought diamonds into the limelight. Today, we still see diamonds featured everywhere we look, finding them in films like Titanic and around the necks of celebrities.
What Is the Difference Between a Ruby and a Diamond?
Knowing the difference between a ruby and a diamond can help you make buying choices about your jewelry. You'll know what each gemstone is worth, what characteristics to look for, and why you should be proud to wear these precious stones.
Whether you're looking for beautiful diamond jewelry or a stunning ruby-based piece, Philophrosyne has gorgeous pieces you'll love. Get in touch with us today to find the perfect piece of jewelry.