Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Without a doubt. But if you’re looking to add more color and sparkle to your jewelry collection, you might want to invest in beautiful gemstones as well. Speaking of which, emerald, ruby, and sapphire are the “big three” that are increasingly becoming as valuable as diamonds, both in terms of value and popularity. These gems are amazingly beautiful in many different ways. If you are unsure which gem to invest in, all you need is a complete guide. Learn all about ruby, sapphire and emerald, what they symbolize and their striking differences.
Understanding the Big Three Gems
Currently, only ruby, sapphire and emerald are considered precious stones. The rest of the gems are classified as “semi-precious”. Gemstones are “high value”, which means that their price per carat is higher than that of a diamond. Several factors make gemstones precious. These include rarity, popularity, durability and, of course, beauty.
Known for its gorgeous red hue, this stone is a favorite of celebrities and royalty around the world. But what is a ruby really? Ruby comes from the Latin word “Rubens” which means red.
The gemstone comes in different shades, from pinkish to the most expensive – the color of “pigeon blood”. Ruby was first discovered in 1973 in Kenya by two American geologists. Since then, it has become one of the most sought after gemstones. Ruby is one of the most expensive gemstones, but its value is mainly determined by its color. The best rubies are dark red with a hint of purple, also known as “pigeon blood”. Currently, the largest deposit of high-quality rubies is located in Myanmar, Burma. Ruby is the stone of July. For centuries, this beautiful stone has symbolized nobility, courage, purity and passion. Because of its color (close to the color of blood that carries oxygen to all parts of the body), ruby is believed to help align and energize the body. It is also believed to promote positive energy, spiritual vitality, and well-being.
Another attractive choice for your jewelry collection is the emerald. Like a ruby, a high quality emerald can cost more than diamonds per carat. However, most emeralds on the market have inclusions or defects. Emerald gets its radiant green hue from chromium and vanadium.
It is difficult to find an uncut emerald without flaws. This is why most emeralds are processed to improve their color and reduce imperfections. This precious green stone is truly one of a kind. In the US, it is traditionally given as a gift on the 20th, 35th and 55th wedding anniversaries. Emeralds, considered the “jewels of kings”, have long been popular with royal families. We saw Princess Eugenie wear the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara on her wedding day. Even Cleopatra adorned herself with emeralds. But this stone does not just symbolize royal power. It also includes wisdom and love. The ancient Romans and Greeks believed that the stone represented the goddess Venus. Thus, it is considered to represent hope and love. Color, cut, clarity and carat weight determine the value of emeralds. The most expensive emeralds are bright green or bluish green.
If ruby and emerald have only one color, then sapphire can boast of different shades. These magnificent stones can be found in many parts of the world, but they mostly come from Kenya, Cambodia, Colombia and India. Like ruby and emerald, color is a determining factor in a sapphire’s value.
As a general rule, sapphires with more intense and uniform colors are the most valuable. The most famous royal blue sapphire is Princess Diana’s engagement ring, now given to Kate Middleton. Those that are not blue are called “fancy sapphires”. Among them are the popular “ruby sapphires” (pink), orange, yellow, green and purple. Sapphires are known to symbolize wisdom, virtue and good luck. They also signify sincerity, loyalty and holiness (for members of the royal family). In the ancient and medieval eras, sapphire (having a sky blue color) signified the pinnacle of heavenly hope and faith and was considered to bring good luck, protection, and spiritual healing. That’s why tons of eternity bracelets are made from sapphires and other “members of the three great gems.”
Ruby vs Sapphire vs Emerald
Now that you know the most important facts about the three big gems, it’s time to make your choice. Let’s look at the differences between emeralds, rubies, and sapphires.
Ruby comes in different shades of red. But the best quality should not be too dark or red, otherwise it will affect the brightness of the stone. Emerald boasts a brilliant green color while sapphire is available in a variety of colors (royal blue being the most valuable).
Ruby symbolizes love, passion and purity. Although emerald and sapphire are considered “royal gems”, the latter also symbolizes fidelity, while the former symbolizes hope.
Clarity (which is one of the 4Cs of the diamond and gemstone classification) indicates the relative absence of inclusions (blemishes, surface imperfections, and cracks). The higher the purity, the higher the value of the gemstone. Among the three gemstones, the emerald usually has the most inclusions (99% of emeralds are defective). Even type 1 may have visible inclusions. When choosing a gemstone, try to avoid those that have highly visible inclusions.
A good quality ruby tends to be more expensive than most sapphires and emeralds, with record prices of up to $1,000,000 per carat. Sapphires can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $11,000 per carat, but you’ll find good quality stones for $450 to $1,200 per carat. Emeralds cost between $525 and $1,125 per carat. However, note that the price of a gemstone is affected by several factors, including color, carat weight, and clarity.
Sapphire is the third hardest gemstone (after diamond and moissanite). As such, sapphire stone jewelry is extremely durable and ideal for everyday wear. They score 9 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale. Since ruby is made from the same mineral (corundum) as sapphire, they have the same hardness. Although emerald is the least hard of the three, this stone is still very stable, with a hardness rating of 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale.
All three minerals are extremely popular and are getting more popular every day. Like diamonds, gemstones are the perfect addition to your jewelry collection. The choice of stone for you will depend on several factors, including your lifestyle and personal preferences.