The 10 Different Types of Ruby And What They All Look Like

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

| Updated

The 10 Different Types of Ruby And What They All Look Like

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Imagine yourself holding a piece of the deep red sky at sunset. That’s what holding a ruby feels like! It’s a kind of corundum that gets its captivating red color from a tiny bit of chromium inside it.

Because of what ruby looks like, it has been loved for thousands of years and worn by kings and queens. Even today, it’s a symbol of passion and adventure.

Good thing, there are different types of ruby that you can choose from if you covet this gemstone. In this article, we’ll explore these amazing ruby types and all the secrets they hold!

The 10 Different Types Of Ruby And What They Look Like

As one of the most amazing gems you can find, the value of ruby can be expensive, depending on many factors discussed in our separate article on that.

Among these factors is its geographic origin. Below are the different types of ruby, most of which are based on where the gem comes from:

Burmese Ruby (Myanmar Ruby)

A pigeon blood-red ruby crystal on white marble matrix
Burmese ruby on marble matrix photo provided by @finemineralphotography and Edward Boehm

Burmese ruby shines in the most captivating shades of red, often described as “pigeon’s blood” red, a color that’s both deep and vibrant with a slight bluish tint.

What sets it apart is its exceptional clarity and the way it seems to glow with an inner light. This glowing appearance, combined with its rare color, makes it highly sought after and valued in the jewelry world.

In fact, it’s considered one of the finest rubies available, often fetching higher prices than diamonds of a similar size.

For centuries, this ruby type has been a symbol of power and wealth, featured prominently in the crowns and jewels of kings and queens. This long history adds to its allure.

Where you can find Burmese ruby (Myanmar ruby)

There are many places where you can find ruby. Burmese ruby, for example, comes from Myanmar, once called Burma, which has some of the best ruby mines in the world. The most famous spot for finding it is the Mogok Valley.

Another important place is the Mong Hsu region, which started producing rubies in the 1990s and quickly became known for its high-quality stones.

Thai Ruby

A pair of chandelier earrings adorned with deep red Thai rubies and colorless diamonds
Thai rubies and diamond earrings photo provided by Bayco Jewels

Thai ruby has a darker, almost mysterious color, often described as deeper reds with hints of purple or brown.

This distinct look comes from the iron content in the areas they’re from. And while they might not have the most vivid red color, they make up for it with their clear, almost flawless appearance.

This clarity is one reason why they’re so valued in jewelry making. They can be polished to a high shine that shows off their unique color.

Interestingly, Thai rubies have a role in history and culture. For a long time, Thailand was a hub for trading all kinds of gems, including it. This made Thai rubies well-known around the world.

Where you can find Thai ruby

Thai rubies are treasures from Thailand and the most famous places for finding them are Chanthaburi and Trat provinces. These areas have a rich history of ruby mining.

Even though the mines aren’t as busy as they used to be, these regions still hold a special place in the gem industry.

Madagascar Ruby

A pinkish Madagascar ruby perched on a biotite matrix
Madagascar ruby on biotite matrix photo provided by sevencrystalsph

Madagascar ruby glows with vibrant colors that range from pinkish to rich reds.

They were only discovered in the 1990s, which makes them relatively new to the gem market. Despite this, it has quickly made a name for itself.

It stands out with its brightness and the range of colors it comes in, which can be lighter and more varied than the deep reds you might see in rubies from other parts of the world.

It’s valued for its clarity and the way it can light up a room with its sparkle. Jewelers and gem lovers appreciate Madagascar ruby for these qualities.

Where you can find Madagascar ruby

The most famous areas in Madagascar for these precious rubies are Ilakaka and Vatomandry. These places have turned into bustling hubs for ruby seekers, thanks to the rich deposits found there.

Mozambique Ruby

A pair of cushion-cut Mozambique rubies
A pair of Mozambique rubies photo provided by and available for purchase at PreciousSapphireGems

Mozambique ruby can look almost as amazing as the Burmese rubies. It has a rich, deep red color that sometimes even matches the highly prized “pigeon’s blood” red seen in the best rubies from around the world.

This vibrant color, combined with good clarity, makes it extremely valuable and sought after.

One reason Mozambique ruby is so loved is its size. It can be found in larger sizes than what you might see in other types, which is great for making a big, bold statement in jewelry.

Like the Madagascar ruby, the Mozambique ruby was only discovered in the last couple of decades, making it relatively new.

Where you can find Mozambique ruby

Mozambique is home to this ruby type. The most famous spot for it is the Montepuez region. Since its first discovery in 2009, Montepuez has quickly turned into one of the top places to find high-quality rubies.

Afghan Ruby

Afghan ruby crystal with a saturated red hue on a contrasting matrix
Afghan ruby on matrix photo provided by Collector’s Edge Minerals – @collectorsedgeminerals

Afghan ruby shines with a deep, captivating red that can catch anyone’s eye. Its rich color can sometimes have a touch of purple, making it unique compared to other rubies.

This gem is known for its clarity and the beautiful way it sparkles under the light, which makes it a top choice for stunning jewelry.

People value Afghan ruby not just for its beauty but also for its rarity. Finding a high-quality ruby with that perfect deep red is rare, and when one comes from Afghanistan, it’s even more special.

For centuries, this ruby type has been admired and treasured. It’s been part of royal collections and has a history of being exchanged as precious gifts, showing its value and the esteem in which it’s held.

Where you can find Afghan ruby

Afghan ruby can be found in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan. One famous area for finding it is the Jagdalek region, which has been known for its ruby mines for a long time.

Vietnamese Ruby

A simple ring with a vibrant red Vietnamese ruby as center stone
Vietnamese ruby ring photo provided by Otto Jakob | Jewelry Artist

Vietnamese ruby glows with an incredibly deep red color, sometimes with hints of pink. It stands out because of its stunning clarity and the vibrant colors that seem to light up from within.

It’s different from other rubies because it can have this amazing brightness, even in lower light.

Vietnamese ruby is valued for its beauty and the unique qualities it brings to jewelry. Its bright red color can rival some of the best rubies in the world.

This ruby type was not widely known until the 1980s. Before then, this beautiful gem was a secret kept by the mountains of Vietnam. Once discovered, it quickly became sought after by gem collectors and jewelers around the world.

Where you can find Vietnamese ruby

Vietnamese ruby comes from the beautiful country of Vietnam, with the most famous spot being the Luc Yen district. This area is nestled in the mountains, where miners have been uncovering these precious red gems for years.

Tanzanian Ruby

A hand-carved locket made out of purplish-red Tanzanian ruby
Tanzanian ruby locket photo provided by Luis Alberto L’AQUART

Tanzanian ruby has this cool mix of colors, often showing off a stunning purplish-red that you don’t see in rubies from other places.

This unique color blend gives it a special look, making it appealing to those who want something different in their jewelry.

Its rarity and the vibrant colors it comes in make it distinct. It might not always be as famous as rubies from some other spots, but its distinct hues and the way it shines make it highly valued.

Tanzanian ruby was only discovered relatively recently and it’s part of the reasons Tanzania has become known for having an amazing variety of gems.

Where you can find Tanzanian ruby

Tanzanian ruby comes from the beautiful landscapes of Tanzania. One of the standout places for finding it is the Longido district. Another important spot is the Morogoro region, which is also known for its rich deposits of these precious stones.

Sri Lankan Ruby (Ceylon Ruby)

A bracelet made out of pinkish-red Ceylon rubies

Sri Lankan ruby, also known as Ceylon ruby, tends to have a lighter shade of red, sometimes leaning towards pink.

This lighter color doesn’t take away from its beauty; instead, it adds a unique touch from the deeper red rubies often have.

Amazingly, this ruby type can show different colors in different lights. This quality makes it highly valued by jewelers and gem lovers. Their versatility means they can be the star of a piece of jewelry or a beautiful complement to other stones.

Sri Lankan ruby has been treasured for thousands of years, right back to ancient times when traders sailed the seas looking for precious gems.

Where you can find Sri Lankan ruby

Sri Lankan ruby is mainly found on the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, particularly in the Ratnapura area. This place is often called the “City of Gems” because it’s full of precious stones.

Ratnapura is not just famous for the quantity of gems it produces but also for the high quality of these treasures. Its rich soils and ancient riverbeds are perfect spots for ruby hunting.

Indian Ruby

A beautiful ring with pinkish-red Indian ruby as center stone
Indian ruby ring photo provided by Simona – Hobbyist silversmith

Indian ruby glows with a deep and mesmerizing color that ranges from pink to blood red. Its warmth and depth of color can add an exotic touch to any piece of jewelry.

People value Indian ruby for its beauty and the rich, vibrant colors it brings to the table. It’s perfect for anyone wanting to make a bold statement or add a touch of elegance to their look.

This ruby type has been admired and cherished in India for centuries. It’s often used in royal jewelry and traditional adornments.

This long history of appreciation adds to its value, turning it from normal gemstones to pieces of cultural heritage.

Where you can find Indian ruby

Indian ruby is mostly found in the southern parts of India, especially in the state of Karnataka. This area is known for its rich deposits of beautiful gemstones. Another notable place for Indian ruby is Andhra Pradesh.

Star Ruby

A round, polished piece of star ruby showing clear asterism or star pattern
Polished star ruby photo provided by GIA India

Unlike regular rubies that just shine, star ruby shows a star pattern on its surface when light hits it.

Called asterism, it looks like a shining star with four to six rays stretching across the top of the ruby.

This star effect is because of tiny needle-like inclusions inside the ruby. These are usually made of a mineral called rutile.

Not all rubies have this star pattern, so it makes star ruby special and sought after. People value it not just for its beauty but also for how rare and unique it is. The clearer and more distinct the star, the more valuable the ruby is.

Where you can find star ruby

Star ruby comes from a few special places around the world. Some of the best ones have been found in Myanmar. Sri Lanka is another hotspot famous for it. India also joins the list, especially from regions in the south.

About Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

Keith Jackson is an avid rockhound who is constantly exploring new sites to expand his collection. He has worked as a professional Geologist for over 20 years and holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Masters Degree in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Bachelors Degree in Geology from the University of Connecticut.

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