Rubies are a luscious pinkish-red to crimson in color. They are considered to be one of three most coveted colored gemstones in the world. (Sapphires and emeralds are the other two gemstones in this prestigious group.) For centuries, the most desirable rubies in the world have come from Myanmar, previously known as Burma. They are also mined in many other parts of the world, including Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Madagascar and Tanzania. Rubies are extremely hard, commanding a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale (diamonds are a 10), so they make a great choice for gemstone jewelry that will be worn on a regular basis. Rubies are typically heat treated to improve color or filled with epoxy pigment fillers. If you are fond of these sumptuous red gemstones, you will be equally mesmerized by the following captivating alternatives:
1. Red Spinel
Red spinel is found in shades of rich red wine to crimson and has been mistaken for ruby throughout history. The highest quality red spinel comes from Myanmar, formerly known as the country of Burma. It has a Mohs hardness rating of 8 so it is almost as durable in jewelry as ruby. If you love rubies, but don’t want to pay as high a price per carat, red spinel is for you.
2. Red Tourmaline
Red tourmaline is typically referred to by its trade name, “Rubellite.” It is found in stunning shades of transparent fuchsia. Rubellite hails from Nigeria, Mozambique, Brazil, Afghanistan and Madagascar. It has a Mohs hardness rating of 7 to 7.5. Rubellite can be heated or irradiated to intensify color and sometimes can be treated with fillers. If you like rubies with a pinkish-purple hue, rubellite is the alternative gemstone for you.
Rhodolite is a gorgeous deep pink with purple undertones. It is a member of the garnet family. Rhodolite is found in Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. It has a Mohs hardness rating of 7 to 7.5. Rhodolite is a great alternative for ruby lovers that don’t want the maintenance of rubies because it is not enhanced by any gemstone treatment methods.
Bixbite is a striking pinkish-red transparent gemstone with cool violet undertones, so it could easily pass for ruby. Bixbite is a red variety of beryl found so far only in the state of Utah in North America. According to Classic Gems.net, it is one of the rarest gemstones on earth. Bixbite has a Mohs hardness rating of 7.5 to 8. Like ruby, bixbite has numerous natural inclusions and can be treated with oil or resin filler. If you are looking for a unique alternative to ruby that few people have ever heard of, bixbite is your gemstone.
If you love the rich pinkish-red hues of rubies, consider adding some captivating alternative gemstones to your collection. Red tourmaline or rubellite as it is known in the jewelry trade, and red spinel are gorgeous gemstones that could pass for rubies with their rich pinkish-red hues. Rhodolite garnets and bixbite are also lovely alternatives to rubies that you might find equally captivating.
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