How To Distinguish Between Real & Fake Ruby Gemstone?

Updated on 17 February 2024.

Ruby gemstone, or Manik, is recognized as the birthstone of the Sun. The stone is dark red, and it is an exceedingly valuable gemstone.

The structure of the ruby stone is cubical. The dark red color ruby birthstone is termed the highest quality gemstone. However, in recent times, due to the presence of artificial gem makers, it has become highly difficult to trust a gem seller.

Thus, it becomes essential to know the right tactics to distinguish between synthetic and real ruby stones. Distinguishing between a genuine ruby and a fake one has become an essential skill for gemstone enthusiasts and buyers alike. In this comprehensive guide, we will unravel the secrets of identifying real rubies.

Understanding the Basics

  • Know Your Ruby Types

Before delving into the identification process, it’s crucial to understand the different types of rubies available in the market. Natural rubies, synthetic rubies, and treated rubies are the primary categories. Natural rubies are formed in the Earth’s crust over millions of years, while synthetic rubies are created in laboratories. Treated rubies undergo enhancements to improve their color and clarity.

  • Study the Color Spectrum

The color of a ruby gemstone is one of the most important factors in determining its authenticity. Genuine rubies exhibit a vibrant, deep red hue known as “pigeon blood red.” Be cautious of stones that are too light or have purplish or brownish tints. Use a color chart to compare and identify the true red of a genuine ruby.


Physical Properties

  • Hardness Test

Rubies are second only to diamonds in terms of hardness. Perform a scratch test using a diamond or corundum, as rubies belong to the corundum family. If the stone scratches easily, it is likely a fake. However, exercise caution, as scratching can damage the gem. The hardness of ruby gemstone on the Mohs scale is 9.

  • Density and Specific Gravity

Real rubies have a specific gravity ranging from 3.95 to 4.10. You can assess this by weighing the ruby in air and then in water. If the gemstone is denser than water, it is likely genuine. However, this method may not be foolproof, as some imitations can closely match the specific gravity of a real ruby.

Visual inspection

  • Examine Inclusions

Authentic rubies often contain natural inclusions, which are tiny imperfections within the stone. These inclusions, also known as “silk,” can resemble fine, needle-like structures. Synthetic rubies may lack these characteristic inclusions, so a complete absence should raise suspicion.

  • Check for Flaws

Genuine rubies may have visible flaws, known as “jardin.” These flaws are a result of the natural crystal growth process and are usually not present in synthetic or imitation rubies. Use a jeweler’s loupe to inspect the gem closely for any internal flaws.

Light and Reflection

  • Evaluate transparency

Hold the ruby up to the light and observe its transparency. Genuine rubies typically exhibit some level of transparency, allowing light to pass through. If the stone is entirely opaque or overly transparent, it may be a fake.

  • Assess Reflective Properties

A real ruby will reflect light in a distinctive way, creating a sharp, six-pointed star effect known as asterism. This phenomenon, called a “star ruby,” is a rare and valuable variety. Synthetic rubies may lack this star effect or exhibit a more blurred appearance.

Advanced Testing Techniques

  • Use UV Light

Natural rubies often fluoresce under ultraviolet (UV) light. If you have access to a UV light source, examine the ruby in a dark room. Genuine rubies may exhibit a red or purplish-red fluorescence, while many synthetics do not fluoresce at all.

  • Thermal Conductivity

Employ a thermal conductivity probe to measure the gem’s ability to conduct heat. Natural rubies have high thermal conductivity, causing the probe’s reading to drop rapidly. Synthetic rubies, being less conductive, will show a slower decline.

Professional Assessment

Consult a Certified Gemologist : When in doubt, seek the expertise of a certified gemologist. Professionals have the knowledge and tools to conduct thorough examinations, including microscopic analysis and spectroscopy. A certified gemological report provides an accurate assessment of the ruby’s authenticity.

Distinguishing between real and fake ruby gemstones requires a combination of knowledge, observation, and, at times, advanced testing techniques. Whether you’re a gem enthusiast or a prospective buyer, arming yourself with this information ensures that you make informed decisions in the fascinating world of rubies. Remember, the beauty of a genuine ruby lies not just in its captivating color but also in the rich history and geological processes that brought it into existence.


Frequently Asked Questions :

  1. Why is it important to distinguish between real and fake ruby gemstones ?

Distinguishing between real and fake rubies is crucial to ensure that you are making a genuine investment. Real rubies are precious gemstones with significant value, both aesthetically and monetarily. Identifying imitations or synthetics helps prevent financial loss and ensures you get the authentic gem you desire for positive results.

  1. What are the primary characteristics of a genuine ruby ?

Genuine rubies exhibit a deep red color known as “pigeon blood red.” They are also characterized by their hardness (second only to diamonds), specific gravity, and the presence of natural inclusions or flaws. Additionally, real rubies often fluoresce under ultraviolet light, and some may display a star effect known as asterism.

  1. Can synthetic rubies be as valuable as natural ones ?

While synthetic rubies can be visually similar to natural ones, they are generally less valuable. Natural rubies are prized for their rarity, especially those with exceptional color, clarity, and size. The market values natural rubies higher due to their geological origin and unique characteristics.

  1. Can I rely on color alone to identify a real ruby ?

While color is a significant factor, it is not the sole determinant of a genuine ruby. Other characteristics, such as hardness, inclusions, specific gravity, and fluorescence, should be considered for a comprehensive assessment. Some synthetic rubies may closely mimic the color of real rubies, making it essential to examine multiple factors.

  1. Is there a risk of damaging the ruby while performing tests ?

Yes, some testing methods, such as the hardness test, can potentially damage the gem. It’s crucial to exercise caution and use non-destructive methods whenever possible. If in doubt, consult a professional gemologist for a thorough examination without the risk of harm to the gemstone.

  1. What should I do if I suspect I have a fake ruby ?

If you suspect you have a fake ruby or are uncertain about its authenticity, the best course of action is to consult a certified gemologist. They can conduct a thorough examination, provide a professional assessment, and offer guidance on the next steps based on the specific characteristics of your gemstone.