Top 5 Best Places to Buy Ruby Jewelry Online (2020 Edition)

Looking for the perfect place to buy ruby jewelry online?

You're in the right place! In this Learning Jewelry guide I'll answer common questions like:

  • What Should You Look For When Buying Rubies Online?
  • Are Rubies Good For An Engagement Ring?
  • How Do You Know You're Getting A Good Deal?
  • What Are The Red Flags To Watch Out For When Buying?
  • How to Save Money When Shopping For Ruby Jewelry Online?
best stores to buy ruby jewelry online

Top 4 Best Places to Buy Ruby Jewelry Online

If you need the list quick, here are my top picks for finding quality ruby jewelry from reputable online dealers. Keep reading for more information about each of these shops. 

  1. James Allen
  2. Leibish & Co.
  3. Brian Gavin
  4. Jared
  5. Zales

What Are Rubies?

Rubies are known for their bright red color and are also the birthstone for those born in July. Rubies are faceted from the mineral corundum, which is the same mineral of sapphire.

Red corundum is ruby, but any other color corundum is sapphire. Corundum starts off as colorless, but when certain chemical impurities come into contact with the corundum, it creates colors. Corundum needs to have chromium introduced to it to become a ruby. 

There are many things to know when picking out the best quality rubies. Let's get into it! 

blue nile ruby and diamond necklace


#1. Buying Ruby At James Allen

james allen red ruby gemstones


James Allen has a large collection of loose rubies that you can set in an engagement ring, pendant, or ruby earrings. All of the rubies from James Allen have received heat treatment, which is how they can sell such affordable pieces.

A loose ruby is affordable from James Allen more so with others. They have hundreds of loose rubies of varying color hues, tones, and saturations. After you've picked out your center stone, you can pick any one of their settings. They'll put it together and send it to you very quickly.

A custom designed ring locally will cost you a ton, but James Allen won't. Not only is a loose ruby from James Allen affordable, but they offer complete transparency. 

Their 360 viewing technology allows you to survey the ruby from every angle, observing it clarity and cut details. You can buy with confidence knowing that you are going to receive exactly what you see online. Check it out below

james allen 1.1 carat natural ruby

If you purchase any ruby jewelry from James Allen, they give you an awesome free lifetime warranty. This warranty covers any routine metalwork you might need, such as retipping prongs, rhodium plating white gold, and polishing or cleaning.

They even have select Jared stores that you can send off jewelry for repair. Additionally, you get one free ring resizing, just in case it doesn't fit quite right. 

Buying Ruby At Leibish & Co

leibish ruby gemstones


Leibish and Co. is a high quality fancy color diamond and precious gemstone online jewelry store. They are generally a high priced dealer, with only a few rubies under $5000 for a 1 carat.

Their rubies mainly come from Mozambique.  Leibish and Co. also carries treated and untreated rubies. They also carry a couple of the prized pigeon blood rubies from Burma. 

leibish 2.02 carat burmese ruby

As you can see, the prices skyrocket at Leibish & Co. If you're a buyer or collector that has an open wallet, I definitely recommend buying from Leibish & Co. All of their stones have a 360 degree viewer, allowing you to survey any clarity inclusions and really see the color in it.

The rubies also all come with a certificate from their place of origin as well. The craftsmanship at Leibish is really beautiful. They have unique pieces that are timeless and can be passed down from generation to generation. 

Why James Allen is better: James Allen gives you a lifetime warranty on all your ruby jewelry to cover any routine maintenance it might need. Most of their rubies are much cheaper than Leibish & Co and they offer it for free. At Leibish and Co., you can spend $10,000 and still have to pay for the same warranty that James Allen gives you freely.

Buying Ruby Jewelry At Brian Gavin

brian gavin ruby jewelry

The rubies at Brian Gavin are going a small collection of highly priced rubies. They will have some of the finest untreated rubies on the market. Currently, they have under 10 options of rubies and the least expensive is over $22,000.

Make no mistake, Brian Gavin has gorgeous red rubies, but most people won't be able to afford. Some come with GIA grading reports too.

The other thing about Brian Gavin is that they have no settings for you to put the stone into. This jewelry store is more of a diamond dealer, but do have some choice colored gemstones.

So if you do decide to purchase one of their stunning rubies, you'll have to find a ring setting elsewhere and also have to pay for a jeweler to put the two together. And because they don't have any ring settings, they don't offer any warranties for their highly priced jewelry.

brian gavin 3.32 carat red ruby

You can't see any real kind of viewer, other than to magnify certain areas of the stone. However, you can be sure that if you're buying from Brian Gavin, your stone will most definitely be top quality, even if you can't physically see it. It's the lower price ranges you have too look out for, like chain retailers in the United States. 

Why James Allen is better: James Allen offers rubies for everyone, no matter what their budget or price range is. Even if you can't afford something right then and there, the goal is attainable to save money for the purchase. Brian Gavin is not meant for the average buyer.

Brian Gavin sells to those who have a high or unlimited budget. They are very close lipped about their business and don't really like talking to people who aren't serious buyers. If you're not elite with a large bank account, they're not very interested. James Allen welcomes everyone.

Buying Ruby At Jared

jared red ruby jewelry


Jared is one of largest corporate fine jewelry retailers. They're the top tier store of mega fine jeweler, Signet Jewelers. They carry the largest and best selection of rubies out of their sister and cousin stores, Kay Jewelers and Zales.

Most of what Jared carries in rubies is going to be heat treated. You're also going to end up paying around double the price for a ruby of lesser quality. You won't find ruby engagement rings in store, but you can find them on the website, like this one here. 

The issue with Jared is that you can't see the stone. Most of Jared's "high quality" rubies consist of an opaque gem and are often worse looking than their synthetic counterparts.

I used to think high quality gemstones were opaque, because that's how I saw natural gemstones when I worked at Kays. You will pay more for worse quality at Jared, even if it is more affordable.

jared natural ruby engagement ring

Jared does have this fantastic lifetime gemstone guarantee that requires you to get your diamond, emerald, sapphire, and ruby jewelry cleaned and inspected every 6 months at either Jared or Kay.

They record it into their tablets and if you lose a stone, they'll replace it with one of equal or better quality for free. This is also a free warranty. They actually charge for the warranty that covers the metal work. 

Why James Allen is better: Jared may replace your stone with an equal or better, but you still don't get to see it. You could potentially lose your ruby whose inclusion lay close to the girdle, but then have one that plays across the table. They don't certify their stones either, so you have no idea what the quality actually is. James Allen offers completely transparency. Because they are an online only dealer, what you see is what you get upfront, always.

FAQ When Buying Ruby Jewelry Online

Are Rubies Good For An Engagement Ring?

The hardest and most durable natural mineral known to man is a diamond, which reaches a 10 on the Moh scale of hardness.  Corundum reaches a 9, meaning that rubies are durable enough to be worn every day as an engagement ring.

You might not find too many engagement rings with rubies as center stones or as melee stones. You're more likely to find blue sapphires in these settings than rubies. If you're wanting a ruby engagement ring locally, you'll most likely have to consult a local jeweler for a custom ruby ring, or a fine jewelry retailer that does customs. Personally, I'd suggest taking your search online before committing to buying only locally. 

Image by the National Park Service. Public Domain.

Is Ruby Jewelry More Expensive?

Being a colored gemstone, rubies are not going to be as expensive as diamond, usually. A 1 carat ruby center stone will probably be less than a 1 carat diamond. However, the measurements of value for both rubies and diamonds are quite different.

Diamonds require top quality in all 4cs (Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat). A ruby's value is generally determined by color and carat weight or size. But, if it's eye clean of inclusions, it'll be valued even more. So, a 3 carat natural ruby that is eye clean will probably cost more than a 1 carat eye clean diamond. 

There are always exceptions to the idea that color gemstones are less expensive than diamonds. A 1 carat Burmese ruby from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) will command prices more expensive than a 1 carat diamond because of its color and scarcity.

Read More: What are the best ruby rings for men?

What Should You Look For When Buying Ruby Online?

You've probably heard of the 4Cs by now, a diamond grading system put forth by the Gemological Institute of America. With gemstones, they follow the same basic guidelines, but without the actual grades. 

Cut

Rubies are native-cut, which means that they are cut in their country of origin without much effort to control the shape of the gem or its inclusions. They are cut with standard facets that don't display a ton of light or color.

Often time these stones have to be recut, if the cost of recutting is worth it. Most of the time, cut doesn't affect colored gemstones too much, but cut shape has somewhat of an impact on ruby value. 

Ruby is desired to be in brilliant cuts like round brilliants, and cushion cuts, which maximize the amount of light through the stone. Step cuts like Asschers and emerald cuts are also great for rubies. Ovals and cushions are very common in ruby jewelry.

Rubies have their place among cabochon jewelry, which is cut and polished, but not faceted. Corundum sometimes has rutile inclusions that are arranged naturally to display an asterisk across the stone. These are referred to star rubies and star sapphires. Cabochons utilize lower quality ruby and can be cut to set in jewelry.

james allen ruby cut types


Color

Rubies are most valued by their color and their color tone, hue, and saturation.

The tone of a colored stone is measured from colorless to black. The grading terms can be found as follows: Very Light, Light, Medium, Medium Dark, Dark, and Very Dark. They can be For most gemstones, you'll want it in the Medium to Very Dark range.

gem tone scale

Similar to sapphires, there are different hues of rubies that are desired. The most desirable and high quality rubies are from Myanmar. They are known for blood red hue, known famously as pigeon blood red rubies, An untreated Burma ruby can sell for $1 million per carat, out of most people's price range. You can see a gorgeous Burmese ruby bracelet at the famous Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. 

Colored Gemstone Hue Example

gemstone color hue example

Hues may not be exact color

Other hues of ruby quality can be orangey red, pinkish red, or purplish red. Rubies from Thailand are thought of as excellent quality ruby as well with their dark red hue. The combo of iron and chromium in the chemical makeup creates the dark red color.

Afghanistan rubies produce a light red to a dark red color. Madagascar rubies have been known to range from orange into natural red. It can be difficult to differentiate between pinkish red rubies and pink sapphires.

Sometimes one lab may grade as a ruby, while another may grade it as a pink sapphire. Sapphires are prized, but rubies are rarer, even if they're the same mineral. Strange how that works, huh?

Saturation is how intense the color is in the ruby. When you have low saturation in a colored gemstone, it can make the gem look either brownish or grayish, depending on its color. Rubies from Tanzania actually are valued more as smaller stones, because the saturation is more vivid. 

For cool colors like blue, violet or green, low saturation causes the stone to look grayish. For warm colors like yellow, red, and orange, low saturation will cause these colors to look brownish. You may see the saturation terms on a grading report from the GIA as follows:

GemSaturationScale

Clarity

The clarity of a gemstone refers to how transparent the stone is when the light is reflected through it. Clarities of colored gemstones use the I3, I2, I1, SI2 SI1, VS, VVS, and IF clarity scale. However, they are sub-grades under gemstone clarity types I , II, and III.

Quality rubies should have a eye clean clarity between SI1 and VS2. It's possible to find a ruby with an I clarity grade that doesn't have an inclusion across the table, but you might have to spend time with the 360 viewer.

This is why it's important to be able to see the stone before you buy it. Inclusions are natural, so they're not placed the same in each crystal. You can have the same amount of inclusions to be an I clarity grade, but their placement will determine the beauty.

james allen ruby ring

Carat

It's actually pretty uncommon to find rubies larger than 1 carat. And if you do find a gem quality ruby in a larger carat weight, it's going to be very expensive. The size of a ruby is the other factor (the first is color) that determines its overall value and price. Anything over 2 carats is extremely rare and will cause prices to skyrocket.

Red Flags When Buying Rubies Online?

It used to be really unsafe to purchase online. Thankfully, there have been many advances for security. While your credit card info is generally safe through places like Paypal, CashApp, and Apple/Google Pay, we don't have to worry too much about it. But there are a couple things to look at for. 

The key word you want to avoid is ruby simulant or simulated rubies. Simulated rubies are other stones, man-made or other gemstones to portray ruby. They use ruby as the keyword in the title so anyone searching for a  ruby will come with a cheap piece of jewelry that says ruby, but isn't. Here's an example:

how to spot fake rubies online

The description says ruby CZ, but what it means is that the stone is red cubic zirconia, meant to pretend it's ruby. CZ comes in a variety of colors and is probably the most used gemstone simulant in fake jewelry. Other ruby simulants could be red spinel, dyed glass, and even garnet are passed off as rubies. 

Simulated rubies aren't to be confused with synthetic rubies. The only difference between a synthetic ruby and a natural ruby is that they are created in a lab, not dug out of a mine. The physical and chemical composition is the same. Synthetic rubies are usually heat treated as well, and you can find them pretty cheap. The lab conditions also allow for better controlled clarity and color too. 

How to get the Best Deal When Rubies Online?

I'm going to leave you with three lasting tips and reminders to think about when buying rubies online.

Make sure you can see the stone

Darker rubies that are almost opaque aren't going to reveal inclusions like a high quality transparent ruby will. When buying online, you'll want to see all aspects of that stone, especially if it's to be a center stone of an engagement ring. 

If you're buying an affordable ruby center stone under $1000 per carat, you're going to want to be able to see the stone clearly, whether it's through a 360 viewer like James Allen, high magnification like Brian Gavin, or showroom viewings at Zales.

If you're buying a high quality ruby from Brian Gavin or Leibish and Co, seeing the stone isn't as important. You can pretty much guarantee that if you're paying those prices, you are receiving top quality ruby gemstones. 

Buy from a reputable dealer

Buying on the internet can be a little sketchy, especially from private dealers on different social media apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, and others. It's not to say that you can't buy a nice ruby from a local person in a foreign country, but there are many stories throughout the gem community of people being ripped off from these situations. 

This is why it's good to avoid these altogether, unless you're an experienced collector. Most people looking to buy a ruby engagement ring aren't gemologists and are better suited to buy from a reputable company. Any of the fine jewelry stores we've mentioned in this article are safe for you to purchase from. 

Don't compromise on Cut

Corundum is the second most hardest mineral known to man, just under the durability of a diamond. It reaches a 9 on the Moh scale, which makes it a perfect stone to wear everyday. This why both rubies and sapphires are great as center stones on engagement rings and wedding bands.

Not all gemstones are hard enough to survive the bumps of the day. But if your stone has a bad cut to it, it can compromise its durability. The weight needs to be balanced, so make sure to pick out rubies with a good cut and even shapes.

blue nile ruby earrings

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