Ruby Vs. Diamond Engagement Rings: A Buying Guide to History, Meaning, Symbolism, Color, Quality, Types, Ring Styles and Costs

By Freelance Writer, February 28, 2021

A Guide to Choosing a Ruby Engagement Ring Stone: Pros, Cons, Buying Tips

Although, less popular than diamonds, rubies are a popular choice for an engagement ring center stone. These colored gemstones traditionally represent love, romance, protection, and success, a proposal ring worth celebrating for your engagement. Their rarity, beauty, and durability make them most sought-after gems, but they can be more expensive than diamonds. Learn what to look for in a ruby for your custom made engagement ring stone and how you might save some time and money.

Mohs Hardness Scale

Ranking 9.0 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, rubies are the second hardest natural gems in the world, just behind diamonds, which means they are durable enough to withstand the everyday wear that your engagement ring is subjected through. 

Like diamonds, rubies are graded using criteria known as the GIA four Cs, namely color, cut, clarity and carat weight. Rubies value is also determined on the basis of their geographic origin.

Ruby Engagement Ring Buying Guide

Before you buy, keep in mind these tips when you’re shopping for a ruby in a traditional jewelry store or online.

1. What’s the most important aspect when choosing a ruby engagement ring stone? While you’re shopping, make sure that you can choose the ruby center stone and not just see its color, clarity, and cut from photos online but in person or in a video before you buy. These factors can differ from one ruby to the next, as there is no industry standard on grading rubies. Keep in mind that one jeweler’s 'AA' quality is another’s 'AAA.'

Our experts can also help you choose the right stone in your budget and style, as well as build he perfect ring of your dreams.

2. Need to Comprise - There is No Perfect Ruby

If you’re looking for a perfect ruby, most probably you’ll not find one.  

loose ruby

3. Choose the Best Color Possible

Usually, when customers are shopping for a ruby, they're looking for a deep blood-red color. Color is the most important aspect of a ruby. Other qualities like clarity are not that only important to consider unless stone has lot of inclusions, which can affect it's integrity.

4. Always Ask Jeweler About Heat Treatment/Fracture Filling

Enhancements other than the usual heat treatment can dramatically lower the price of a ruby. But, they can also impact structural untegrity, and can cause chipping or breakage. Be sure to ask about enhancements or ask for at a certified laboratory report before choosing a ruby center stone.

What's the Difference Between Rubies vs Sapphires?

A ruby can range in color from pink to blood-red. Like sapphires, rubies are part of the mineral corundum family. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires. Ruby is one of the favorite gems, along with  sapphire, emerald, and diamond among today's modern brides. The word ruby comes from the Latin for red, namely ruber. Rubies derive their glorious red color from chromium. For a long time, red garnets or spinels were also thought to be rubies.

Ruby is part of the mineral corundum family, while rubies are red and any other color of corundum is called sapphire.

The most treasured Pigeon Blood red color can only be found only a few natural Burmese ruby gemstones, and it’s very rare at even one carat or above.

The Ruby Engagement Ring Meaning

The color red has for thousands of yearssymbolized love and passion. Assitionally, ruby is the traditional July birthstone and an alternative birthstone for non-diamond brides.

Ruby engagement rings are also frequently seen our favorite celebrities and royalty's ring finger. Jessica Simpson’s engagement ring features a ruby center stone, while her sister, Ashlee Simpson wears an Art Deco-inspired ring. Prince Andrew also proposed to Sarah Ferguson with a high-quality ruby ring to match her red hair.

Vintage-Inspired Floral Halo Ruby Engagement Rings

In Victorian times, floral halos were very popular and today they can be a unique way of bringingvintage design into a ruby ring.  

Ruby Mining

Since ancient times, the majority of the worlds rubies were mined in Myanmar (Burma), specifically the Mogok Valley in the upper region of the country. More recently there has been a considerable amount of mining in the center of Myanmar, in the area of Mong Hsu. Additional sources for rubies have been Thailand, Australia, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Brazil, Namibia, India, Japan, and Colombia.

Myanmar is known to produce some of the finest rubies that exist on the market, although it was not always considered the legitimate source. The sanctions in Myanmar were lifted by President Obama and trading with that country is considered legitimate today.

Often more valuable than diamonds, the most coveted pigeon blood-red rubies have traditionally come from the ancient Mogok mines, or Myanmar. Today, these mines are almost depleted, so the prices of Burmese rubies are well beyond the budget of most modern brides. Add to this the US embargo on gemstones from Myanmar and it is easy to understand why gem collectors have turned elsewhere in their search for the perfect redgem. And so it is that Gemfield's African rubies are increasingly popular and adding their flash of rich purple red color to high jewellery pieces.

What Difference Does a Ruby’s Mine Can Make on Quality, Color and Prices?

Rubies are mined in only a few places in the world, and the ruby’s mine can have a dramatic effecy on the price. Some customers might also be concerned about ethical mining, and as a result don't prefer Burmese rubies.

Burma Rubies

The traditional source of ruby is Myanmar, formerly called Burma. Burma rubies, which are much more rarer and expensive than diamond, are found in the Mogok Valley. This mine has produced some of the world’s most rarest and famous rubies.  

This mine has produced more rubies with the prized Pigeon’s Blood color than any other source, these fine-quality traffic-stop red rubies are also more expensive than those from other sources.

However, Myanmar is also known for human rights violations, and as result, the US imposed sanctions on import of Burma rubies.

Thailand Rubies

Thailand is another important source of ruby found in engagement rings or fine jewelry. Due to a higher amount of iron, these tend to have a brownish tint to their red and exhibit less glow than Burma rubies. These rubies were popular because of their lower prices and due to the scarcity of Burma rubies.  

African Mozambique Rubies

Mozambique rubies contain more iron than the Mogok rubies but have less brownish tint than Thai rubies, and account for a large portion of rubies found on the market.

More Ruby Options

There are more ruby mines that may supply a ruby stone for an engagement ring. Kenya, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, and Tanzania all produce rubies. A few rubies even come from Australia, and the United States.

Factors Affecting Rubies Value

The quality of a ruby depends on its color, cut, clarity and with carat weight. The brightest and the world's finest red rubies command a large premium over other rubies of similar quality from other mines. Like diamonds, a high clarity stone will command the highest prices, but a ruby without any needle-like rutile inclusions may indicate that the stone has been color enhanced or treated.

How to Buy a Ruby Engagement Ring Stone

When you’re buying a ruby center stone for an custom made engagement ring, what should you look for? Color is the most important aspect of ruby, but other 4 Cs of diamond quality: clarity, cut, and carat, are also important when choosing a ruby, too.


Color is the most important aspect of ruby. Some rubies tend toward pink, some toward brown or purple, and others glow like a pigeon blood color.

How Dark-Tone Can a Ruby be?

This is a matter of personal preference and your budget. Some prefer darker tones, while others go for a medium-tone pink-red ruby.

Rubies Vs. Pink Sapphires: What's the Difference?

Keep in mind that rubies are red, in fact the ruby derives its name from the Latin word ruber which means red. Any gemstones offered as rubies that are a light pink color, are not true rubies, but are called pink sapphires.

The world's finest and most desirable rubies are a deep red color, almost like a blood red, feature a good cut, and have a high clarity rating.

Color Zoning

Rubies often have color zoning, lighter and darker areas in the stone. You don’t worry so much if you see this from the side of the stone.


In color zoned stones, the color is poorly distributed. In large table gems, the cut is too shallow, which creates additional problems.


After color, it’s important for you to to consider ruby’s clarity. This refers to the fractures within the ruby stone. Rubies commonly have eye visible inclusions, but their location, size, and color (dark or light) can make a difference to how the faceted gem looks.


The quality of the cut is also an inportant factor for you to consider. Most rubies receive poor cuts, with large tables and shallow cuts. Gem cutters usually try to get the most out of the rough gem weight, and they often try to minimize weight loss.

Consider A Custom Made Engagement Ring

Designing your own custom ring will allow you to choose a ruby based on the above quality aspectss rather than a fixed size.  


Carat, or weight, doesn’t impact quality, but it can the price of an engagement ring drastically. Genuine rubies are rare at any carat size.

What are the Best Affordable Options for Ruby Engagement Ring Stones?

So, how can you get a ruby engagement ring in your budget and style? Rubies are some of the most expensive gemstones in the world, with high quality, untreated rubies reaching prices higher than diamonds.

Heat Treatment

Almost all rubies found on the market are heat treated. This treatment is common, widely accepted in the industry. It improves the ruby’s color and clarity permanently, making lower-quality rubies more affordable and eye-catching.

If you’re thing of buyng untreated rubies, you can save around 30% or more compared to a heat-treated ruby.

Natural Rubies Vs. Synthetic Rubies: What's the Difference?

Ask the seller about any type of heat-treatment or other enhancements the ruby gem in the ring has undergone. Keep in mind that heat treated rubies are very common, and unless otherwise specified it should be assumed that the stone has received this type of treatment. Other types of treatments are less desirable and will affect the value of the stone drastically. Generally, if the stone is too good for its price, most probably it is a synthetic ruby. Ruby also have typical inclusions called fingerprints. (An independent lab can confirm if the gemstone has undergone treatments).

Synthetic rubies are on the market since early 1900s, and these rubies are often labeled as laboratory created or laboratory grown rubies. But, some sellers may not reveal that their rubies are actually synthetics. Again, an independent evaluation and a 30-day refund policy can protect you if you have bought a synthetic ruby.

If you see quality ruby engagement rings that are made with rubies that have an excellent transparency, deep red color, and one-carat size for an affordable price, chances are that you are buying a stone that has been heat-treated or which is synthetic. It is important to know that good quality ruby gemstones are at least on average $1,000 per carat, and many fine stones are even more valuable than diamonds.

Lab-Created Rubies

Buying a lab-made ruby gives you a lot of options.

Other Red Color Gemstones

If you’re just looking for a red gemstone, there are many options to choose from, garnets and spinels are durable and less expensive alternatives to ruby.

Guide to Setting Types

Diamonds are by far the most popular choice for engagement rings since De Beers marketing campaigns. A large single diamond solitaire rings are most common setting for engagement rings, which was popularized by Tiffany & Co. Round brilliant cut continues to be the most popular cut for an engagement ring, which achieves the maximum amount of sparkle. Also popular are three stone engagement rings with side stones. These rings usually have a single large diamond set in the center and smaller diamonds on the sides. The three diamonds or colored gemstones on the ring are believed to symbolize the couple's past, present, and future. Settings can change the style of the ring dramatically, taking the ring to another level.

Engagement Ring Settings Can Change The Style of Ring Drastically

As a hard and durable gemstone, rubies will hold up well in any type of setting. You won’t need to take any special precautions.

Since durability isn’t an issue, you’re free to create any design you can imagine for your ruby engagement ring.

While some like the cool look of platinum or white gold with their ruby, many like to set rubies in yellow gold to bring out the stone’s warmth. Remember, you could always pair a yellow gold setting with a white gold band for the best of both worlds.

Rubies Vs Diamonds: What's the Difference?

Ruby engagement ring can vary in price. It depends on the color of the stone, its shape and weight, size, and hue. The deeper and more transparent the red, makes them more desirable. It also depends on the design and style of the ring, whether it contains a precious gemstone or diamond. The price of the colored gemstone depends on the quality of the gem. The average price of a ruby gemstone is $1,000 per carat, but the cost of ruby engagement rings and wedding bands can change drastically according to the quality of the rubies in the rings and the rubies' color, cut, carat, size and clarity qualities. You may choose an engagement ring because of a family tradition, to represent a unique personal style, want blood free diamonds or mercury-free ethical gold, to fit your budget and style. Man made stones and diamond substitutes such as czs are also popular choices for couples.

How Much to Spend on an Engagement Ring

The idea that a man should spend three months salary for an engagement ring originated from De Beers marketing campaigns in the 20th century in order to sell more diamonds. Rubies also tend to be more affordable than diamonds. On average, the price of a ruby gemstone is $1,000 per carat. We will help you find the gem that suits your budget and style.


Caring for Your Ruby Engagement Ring

The level of care that rubies require depends greatly on their treatments. Untreated rubies and heat-treated rubies are both stable and durable. These gems, as well as lattice-diffused rubies, are fairly resistant to heat, light, and most chemicals. They can be cleaned in ultrasonic and steam cleaning systems.

Mild acids can damage fracture-filled or dyed rubies. Clean these gems with damp cloths only. Boric acid can damage any type of ruby, so keep your ring away from any solutions that contain it.







Ancient Traditions & Cultures

In many cultures, the engagement ring is worn on the fourth finger of your left hand. In ancient times, people used to believe that a vein of love from this finger ran directly to the heart.

Ruby engagement rings have been the ultimate symbol of love for thousands of years. In ancient Egypt, they wore rings on the third finger of the left hand to mark where the 'vein of love' went directly to the heart, starting a tradition that continues today. When pledging your love with one of our unique Ruby Engagement Rings, you are starting your own family tradition or passing down a family heirloom. The most important value factor to consider when shopping for Ruby Engagement Rings is the design of the ring and quality of the center stone. We hand-select top quality conflict-free gems that are expertly cut for maximum beauty and color. Our beautiful selection of Ruby Engagement Rings by our expert jewelry designers means you can find one of our Ruby Engagement Rings that perfectly symbolizes your loving lifelong relationship. Sndgems fine quality Ruby Engagement Rings are designed to be passed down for generations to come, crafted by hand in the United States.


July's birthstone, the ruby, is known as the king of precious gemstones, have been prized by royalty throughout the ages. 

Ruby Properties

Color: Orangy Red to Purplish Red

Crystal: Tabular Hexagonal Prism

Cleavage: No Cleavage

Tenacity: Brittle

Durability = Excellent
Hardness = 9.0
Refractive Index = 1.762
Specific Gravity = 4.00

Meaning of the Ruby

The ruby has long been associated with love and passion, but the ruby is also believed to imbue the wearer with trust, knowledge, and the ability to make the right decisions in married life. For couples interested in ruby engagement rings, this gemstone - which symbolizes long lasting passion and affection - is a symbol of a loving lifelong relationship. Peace-wise, it is said that the ruby can settle fights between lovers.

Today with so many couples getting divorced, a ruby engagement ring has become an increasingly popular choice between partners.


Some of the Worlds Most Famous Rubies

The Sunrise Ruby is the worlds most expensive and the rarest ruby. The certified untreated, 25.60-carat Burma ruby set into a Cartier ring and accented by very fine white diamonds has a richly saturated natural pigeon blood red color; a high clarity and brilliance and a finely proportioned cut and shape. It is named after a poem of the same name, written by the 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi. It was sold at Sothebys for $30.3 million in 2015. It has many world records: highest auction price for a ruby, highest price per carat for a ruby ($1.2 million per carat), and Cartiers most expensive gemstone. 

Weighing 16 carats and set in a unique gold and diamond mounting by Verdura, the Jubilee Ruby fetched $14.2 million at Christies New York in 2016. (This is $885,000 per carat.) At the time it was the most important ruby gem to be offered for sale in the U.S.  One of the main reasons that Burmese rubies are so desirable is because of their pure saturated color and their natural fluorescence, which allows the stone to appear to glow red from within.

The Liberty Bell Ruby is the largest and the rarest ruby in the world, found in east Africa in the 1950s. It weighs 8.50 carats. It is a single piece of ruby that was carved into a bell shape, surrounded by a white diamond halo and has an eagle for the United States 1976 Bicentennial celebration. There are 50 diamonds, which represent the 50 states of America. The Liberty Bell was stolen from Jewelers in Wilmington, Deleware during 2011 heist. recovered.

The 100.32 carat DeLong Star Ruby resides in the Museum of Natural History in New York City. The beautiful, deep red ruby with a 6-rayed star gets its name from Mrs. Edith Haggin de Long. She purchased the stone in 1937 from Martin Leo Ehrmann, the renowned gem and mineral collector and dealer. The DeLong Star Ruby was also stolen in a jewel heist. Along with the Star of India and the Midnight Star Sapphire, it was stolen from the museum in what became known as the Jewel Heist of the Century in 1964. Luckily all three stones were ultimately recovered.

This Sri-Lankan stone is renowned for its great colour and well-defined star pattern. Rosser Reeves, an American advertising executive donated this jewel to the Smithsonian in 1965, but he referred as a lucky stone. It is one of the worlds largest and finest star rubies clear and more translucent that the Delong Star with a fine six-rayed star.

The famous London luxury jeweler Laurence Graff paid a record $8.6 million for a Burmese ruby, the top lot at a Sothebys Geneva auction. Graff, bought the ruby of 8.62 carats for the second time, having acquired it first at an auction eight years earlier. He had named the pigeon-blood gemstone the Graff Ruby at the time. A cushion cut Burmese ruby with a weight of 8.62 carats set records at the Sothebys Geneva auction of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels in November 2014.  

This 23.1-carat Burmese ruby, was set in a platinum ring with very high quality diamonds, is one of the finest and largest faceted Burmese rubies known in the world. This extraordinary gemstone displays a richly saturated red color, combined with an exceptional degree of transparency. The stone was mined from the famous Mogok region of Burma in the 1930s. The ring was donated to the Smithsonian by businessman and philanthropist Peter Buck.

Non-traditionalEngagement Rings: What the Ruby Symbolizes.

For those who are lucky enough to be born in July with a ruby as your birthstone, in the ancient times, ruby - or ratnaraj - means the 'king of gems'. It was highly prized by the royalty thought the ages.

The Burmese rubies are famous for its pigeon blood hue and these gems are considered the finest in the world, but other important rubies are also found in Africa, India, Sri Lanka and Australia.

While diamonds are thought to symbolize strength and eternity, sapphires represent truth and fidelity, and rubies have long been associated with love, passion and protection.

For those who are lucky enough to be born in July with a regal ruby as your birthstone, in the ancient times, ruby was known as the 'the king of the gems'. Rubies have been prized by royalty throughout the ages. Rubies symbolize romance and passion making a perfect gemstone alternative to the traditional diamond engagement ring.

Because red has long been associated with love and passion, a ruby makes a fitting focal point for a romantic non-diamond engagement ring.

Although diamonds previously ruled the engagement ring world, the diamond paired with the ruby in the 17th and 18th centuries in toi et moi ring, in order to symbolize eternity and love.

Tips for Buying Ruby Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands

Start by shopping for high quality ruby engagement rings with retailers who specialize in precious gemstone engagement rings, wedding bands and other jewelry. Look for retailers who offer a risk-free easy refund policy.

To be 100% sure that you have purchased a high quality ruby ring, particularly if you have paid for a one-carat ring, it is best for you to have the ring checked by a professional third-party laboratory.

Shining bright with the color of love and passion, a ruby engagement ring is the ultimate symbol of romance.

The ruby is known all over the world as a symbol of love, romance and passion. With so many elegant and unique designs to choose from, a ruby engagement ring is a fantastic way to celebrate your love and commitment.

To view our beautiful ruby engagement rings online click here or on images below.

Guide to Ruby Engagement Rings: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28.