Ruby vs. Garnet: What's the Difference


ruby vs garnet
ruby vs garnet


Garnet and ruby are both gemstones, yet their values differ significantly. Ruby is much more rare and valuable than garnet. Ruby gemstones are one of the world's four most precious stones, along with diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds. Even though garnet is also a gemstone, it is a semi-precious gemstone with a lower value than ruby.



Rarity & Value:



Rubies are not the rarest of gemstones, but they are difficult to find. Garnets—silicate minerals in various colors—are less rare than rubies. Rarity equals worth. Furthermore, it is much more uncommon to find natural rubies larger than one carat. The price of gemstones corresponds to values such as their rarity, size, color, clarity, and cut.



Price:



Typically, you can expect to spend more for a ruby than a garnet. Rubies are rarer, so they're prized higher by gemstone buyers. Likewise, larger rubies are also rarer and have higher values than smaller ones.


The cost of ruby gems varies, ranging from $100 to $15,000 per carat; in comparison, less expensive garnets range from $5 to $5,000 per carat.


Many different factors affect the cost of rubies and garnets, such as size (the larger the stone, the higher its value), purity (fine-quality rubies are more costly than impure ones), cut (shallow or deep stones will also determine prices) and clarity (fewer flaws mean greater value). The cost of rubies and garnets, like other gemstones, is also influenced by their color. The more saturated the shade of red, the more valuable the stone becomes.



Where They Are Found:



Ruby mines exist in various countries. The precious stone is closely related to sapphires, and regions that have ruby mines usually also have sapphire deposits. Southeast Asia is home to the world's greatest ruby deposits, with Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, and Afghanistan accounting for the bulk of the globe's rubies.


Myanmar is the world's ruby capital, with almost 90% of the globe's raw rubies coming from there. Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is world-famous for its Myanmar rubies (sometimes used as a trade term for finest quality rubies and not always indicative of geographical origin). Sri Lanka is another country that produces most of the rubies globally. Sri Lanka is also known as "Ratna Dweepa," which translates to "Gem Island," as a testament to the country's large ruby mines.


When mining for rubies, high-grade corundum comes in the form of metamorphic and igneous rocks. While raw rubies extractions take place from hard rock, the method is time-consuming, and many of the small rubies end up damaged during this mining process.


Therefore, mining for rubies takes on an alternative filtering path through stream deposits. The majority of these natural rubies come from washing the gravels of these stream deposits. Looking for these small rubies is frequently done by hand because the ruby deposits are small and irregular in shape and character.


In contrast to raw rubies, common sources for garnet gemstones are countries such as China, Scotland, Australia, and South Africa. Today, different varieties of garnet exist across other parts of the globe, such as pyrope garnet in Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, almandite in parts of Brazil, India, Madagascar, and the US, and spessartite in Brazil and China, Kenya, and Madagascar. Last but not least, Myanmar, South Africa, and Zambia are home to grossularite garnets.


Garnet is a mineral found in various rocks sourced from igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic rocks.



Clarity & Light:



The four criteria used to grade rubies are the same as those used to grade fine diamonds. The four criteria are color, cut, clarity, and carat weight in the 4c system.


Rubies seldom exhibit the high clarity of fine diamonds. Rubies usually contain various inclusions, and even the greatest gems may have some flaws when examined at 10x magnification.


Whereas garnet clarity usually depends on its variety, garnets are clean stones, transparent, and exhibit a glassy luster. Red garnets like pyrope and almandine are usually eye-clean stones, meaning gemstone inclusions are only visible with a microscope under 10x magnification.


On the other side of the spectrum, orange garnets such as spessartine and hessonite frequently contain gemstone inclusions. However, when it comes to star garnet, these usually ugly inclusions create a beautiful star effect called an asterism, which is in demand for its rarity. The asterism that causes star garnet is one of those rare situations in which a flaw becomes an attractive feature for gemstone buyers.



Color & Shade:



Yes, both ruby and garnet stones have a lovely red tone, but there's an important distinction in their color. The deep red of a ruby stone is more distinguishable than garnet's lighter, paler color. If you were looking at a ruby, it might seem slightly purple. Some people might argue that the "true" ruby has more of a bluish tint, while garnet is an orange or yellow shade.


It is also worth mentioning that ruby gemstones only come in red, while garnet colors are usually red. However, garnet colors also come in many other shades, such as pink, purple, brown, yellow, orange, green, black, etc. Additionally, color-change garnets look blue in daylight and red or purple under artificial light.


It is important to note that rubies are a medium to dark tone, primarily colored red. This means light colors in rubies are not 'pink rubies' but pink sapphires. 'Pink rubies' is an incorrect term used to label pink sapphires and does not actually exist.



Toughness & Durability:



Though the rocks might not look different to a novice, experts can see significant differences in their properties. For example, while rubies' hardness ranks 9 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness, a good score, they are durable and pretty resilient stones. However, rubies' hardness does not protect them from being scratched by a diamond, which ranks a perfect ten on the Mohs scale.


In contrast, garnet gems rank approximately 7 or 7.5 at best. Due to this low hardness level, garnet stones are more prone to damage and may be scratched by rubies, diamonds, or any other gemstone that ranks higher on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness.



Artifical Treatments:



Because of their high value, most rough rubies are enhanced to improve their appearance. Rough rubies undergo various treatments, such as glass filling to improve transparency and heat treatment to enhance their color.



1. Heat Treatments


  1. Heat-treated rubies show improved clarity and color. Sri Lanka rubies often have pink and purple hues modifying their valuable ruby-red shade. With heat treatment, Sri Lanka rubies become a more intense red. Due to a high iron content, which quenches fluorescence, most Thailand rubies tend to have a garnet-red color, not the valuable ruby-red shade. With heat treatment, Thailand rubies lose their brownish tint. Likewise, Möng Hsu rubies (not to be confused with Myanmar rubies) lose their dark, unsightly cores. Furthermore, this is a long-term and permanent solution; as a result, the color effects will not fade with regular wear and cleaning.


Heat-treated rubies are sometimes treated with flux to help heal severe fractures. If these fractures heal successfully, there should be no adverse effects on the stone.



2. Glass Filling


Rubies and other gemstones can lose a lot of clarity due to cavities and fractures, so fracture-filling treatments are available. Glass-filled rubies show improvements in clarity and sometimes color. The drawback of this treatment is that it isn't long-lasting, and glass-filled rubies treated in sonic jewelry cleaners can be harmed.



3. Flux Filling


Flux is a material used to heat cavities that weaken a ruby's durability. This material fills the cavities and allows the ruby to heal the internal fractures. While flux filling produces a more durable result than glass filling, it is not unusual to have residual flux.


Untreated rubies - rare to find - will command high prices because they have natural beauty. For example, at around 1 carat, untreated rubies are approximately two to three times as valuable or more than heat-treated rubies.


On the other hand, Garnets do not undergo heat treatment or enhancement. Yes, you read that right. Garnet gems are not affected by irradiation or heat treatment. Instead, they come in their natural colors, so what you see is what you get with these stones.



4. Beryllium Diffusion


Diffusion is the least popular and contentious of the three most prevalent therapies. When heat treatment fails, sellers generally turn to this procedure. The rubies are heated, and then they add beryllium at high temperatures to the rubies. A white sapphire can transform into a ruby depending on whether the corundum responds to the treatment.


It raises the question of whether the treated stone is a natural ruby or white corundum. It's worth noting that the extra color doesn't penetrate the entire stone, only a section of it. Even if the corundum is cut open, the center remains white (or whatever the original color is).


While controversial, this procedure is stable and long-lasting, albeit severe chipping may create a loss in the original colored layer. It also gives consumers a more comprehensive range of rubies at a reasonable price. Finally, it must be disclosed to the buyer before purchasing, just like any other treatment.


It's also possible for synthetic overgrowth to occur when using diffusion therapy. For example, it is heated to near-melting temperatures to allow the additional chemicals to penetrate the corundum. The exterior surface of the stone recrystallizes as it cools. Because the foundation material did not form naturally, the recrystallized surface of the stone is labeled synthetic overgrowth.



Popularity:



There's no denying that ruby and garnet are two of the most popular gemstones on the market. But which one is more popular? It's hard to say for sure, but we can take a look at some data to get a general idea.


According to a recent survey, ruby is the second most popular gemstone, behind only diamond. Garnet, on the other hand, is the fifth most popular gemstone. So it seems like ruby has a slight edge in popularity.


However, it's important to keep in mind that these surveys are often conducted among people who are already interested in gemstones. So garnet may actually more popular than ruby among the general population.


If you ask a group of gemstone collectors, ruby is the clear favorite. Ruby has been treasured for centuries and is known for its rich red color. But suppose you ask a group of fashion designers. In that case, garnet may be the more popular choice since garnet is popular in jewelry and accessories, and its deep red hue is perfect for fall and winter fashion.


In terms of media coverage, ruby and garnet are both fairly popular. They're often featured in magazines and on television shows about gemstones. However, ruby seems to get a bit more media attention than garnet.
Finally, we can look at Google Trends data to see how often people search for these two gemstones. According to this data, ruby is more popular than garnet.


So, based on all of this data, it seems like ruby is more popular than garnet. However, it's important to keep in mind that this is just a general idea. The true popularity of these gemstones could depend on various factors, such as personal preference.



Metaphysical Properties:



Both rubies and garnets are gemstones, but they have different metaphysical properties. The significance of rubies is that they represent love, passion, and energy.


Why do rubies represent love? Rubies have been worn as a talisman for centuries, and many ancient texts claim that they contain the power to attract love. Their association with romance is clear because rubies are fiery gems, like passionate emotions.


The significance of rubies' color is linked with blood, thus representing life itself. Rubies are bloodstones that strengthen the heart, myocardium, ventricles, and coronaries while promoting excellent circulation and blood flow.


Blood red rubies stimulate the circulation of life-force energy or chi through the body, which corresponds to the frequency of a cleared base chakra. Blood red rubies strengthen the ability to meet one's needs and manifest one's desires and are powerful in stimulating the chakra energy known as kundalini. Thus, wearing untreated, genuine rubies helps increase the wearer's vitality and helps them create their future.


Garnets are lovely, high-vibration crystals with the energy to assist us in personal change and spiritual development. Not only are these high-vibration crystals with an intense energy that's beneficial for spiritual grounding as well as manifestation, but they're also a powerful healing tool. Garnet's healing abilities come from the stone's brilliant hues, which resemble and balance the human aura.



Similarities:



Despite their differences, there are some similarities between these two beautiful stones as well.
First of all, both rubies and sapphires belong to the same mineral family, corundum. All corundum that is not red is considered sapphire. So, in a sense, rubies and sapphires are cousins.


Both stones also have high durability, and when properly cared for, they may last a long period. Rubies and sapphires are on the same page regarding hardness or rigidity. On the Mohs scale (a standard instrument for determining the hardness of gemstones), ruby has a hardness of 9.0; similarly, sapphire has the same hardness on the Mohs scale of 9.0.


Third, they are both expensive gemstones. The price of a ruby or sapphire depends on many factors, including the weight or size of the stone, its color, and its quality.



Wrapping Up:



In conclusion, while ruby and garnet share some similarities, they also have key differences. Knowing these differences can help you decide which stone to wear as part of your jewelry collection. Whether you choose a single ring with one stone or whether you want two different stones, ruby and garnet are both beautiful accents.



Ruby vs. Garnet: Comparison Chart


RUBY

GARNET

COLOR

  • Ranges from dark reddish-brown to a bright red
  • Comes in different shades of pink, green, brown, black, yellow, pink, as well as colorless

TOUGHNESS

  • Ranks 9.0 on the Mohs scale

  • Ranks 7 to 7.5 on the Mohls Scale

CLARITY

  • Typically have Inclusions
  • Usually Eye Clean

PRICE

  • Ranges $100 to $15,000 Per Carat
  • Ranges from $5 to $5,000 Per Carat

TREATMENTS

  • Usually Heat Treated
  • Typically None