How to Identify a Fake Ruby
in Jewelry Blog

How to Identify a Fake Ruby

You find a ruby ring that you really love, and the price is right. How do you know you are looking at the real thing? First, a little education on rubies.

Natural Rubies

A natural ruby is mined from the earth, having been created over millions of years from the earth’s pressure. It is then cut into facets by a gemologist or gem cutter. Prices per carat for natural rubies can vary widely based on a number of factors too numerous to mention here. Real rubies are rare, but the demand for them isn’t. So sometimes other gemstones are passed off as rubies.

Ruby Substitutes

Here are a few of the materials that you may find as ruby substitutes:

  • tourmaline
  • garnet
  • glass
  • rubies fused with glass called "glass-filled rubies"
  • imitation rubies made in a lab

How You Can Tell the Difference

Real rubies are very hard – almost as hard as diamonds. Substitutes are made of softer material and can be scratched. One way to smoke out a dishonest seller would be to ask them to prove the gem is real by using the scratch test, and note their reaction.

A fake ruby may be offered to you at a low price. That’s another clue.

Weigh the stone. It will probably be lighter in weight than the real thing.

Really, the most reliable way to choose a ruby and be sure it’s not an imitation is to buy from a reputable jeweler in the first place. A bargain ruby may turn out to be a costly mistake, and the trouble it takes to detect a fake may not be worth your time and energy.

If you really like the stone and want it anyway, you can ask a jeweler to evaluate the gemstone before you buy it from a private seller. A seller on the up and up shouldn’t object to this.

In the end, you are the one who must be satisfied with your purchase, so proceed with caution.