Know Your Gems: Sapphire vs. Ruby vs. Emerald

Diamonds are known to be a girl’s best friend. No doubt. But if you want your jewelry to have more color and sparkle, you might also want to buy some beautiful gemstones. Speaking of which,  emerald, sapphire, and ruby are the "big three" gems that are becoming more and more popular and as valuable as diamonds.

Different things about these gems make them very beautiful. If you don't know what precious stone to buy, this is the only guide you need. Find out everything you can about emeralds, sapphires, and rubies, including what they stand for and how they are very different.

At the moment,  emerald, sapphire, and ruby are the only stones that are considered precious. The rest of the gems are considered "semi-precious." "Precious stones" have a "high value," which means that they cost more per carat than a diamond. Gemstones are valuable for a number of reasons. These include how rare, popular, long-lasting, and, of course, beautiful something is.

Many people are interested in buying beautiful, colorful gems but need to know which one to buy.  The gems may look similar in outer appearances, like color, shine, etc., to the layman, but there are many differences. If you are one of them and want to know the differences between Sapphire and Rubys and emerald, this blog is for you.

This blog will answer almost all your questions on this topic. So let’s jump in.


Sapphire: Among the many varieties of the mineral corundum, sapphire stands out. There are traces of aluminum oxide and other elements like iron, titanium, chromium, vanadium, and magnesium.

The aluminum oxide in a sapphire's crystal structure contains trace components responsible for the gemstone's distinctive hue. Sapphires are most commonly blue. However, their color can vary based on the number of elements they contain.

Ruby: A ruby is just a red variety of the same material that makes up a sapphire. The name "ruby" is given to the red variety of the mineral corundum. The only other corundum hue not designated a sapphire is this one.

Therefore, a ruby is merely a red sapphire (or red corundum). Chrome gives rubies and purple sapphires their distinctive hues. However, red corundum has a deeper pinkish-to-blood-red color due to a higher concentration of chromium.

Emeralds: In the mineral kingdom, emeralds are classified as a subgroup of the beryl family. The chromium and vanadium in its composition are mostly responsible for its stunning hue. Emeralds, unlike sapphires, are invariably green. However, the shade and saturation of their color can change.


Sapphire: Natural sapphires have been around for a very long time. Over the course of more than 150 million years, they formed due to changes in heat and pressure deep inside the Earth's crust.

In addition, sapphires don't form in any old rock; rather, they crystallize in a specific type of igneous or metamorphic rock that is low in silicon and high in aluminum during a lengthy cooling process. Stones (granite, schist, gneiss, nepheline, and more) containing sapphires are sourced from Madagascar, Tanzania, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Montana deposits.

Ruby: Since rubies are also a type of corundum, the same rules apply to them. The only thing we can offer is that South East Asia (Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan) is home to the vast majority of the world's ruby supply.

Emeralds: Beryl, which creates emeralds, grows as hexagonal crystals in hydrothermal veins and magmatic pegmatites deep within the Earth. It needs the correct conditions (temperature and volume) and the presence of the elements beryllium, aluminum, silicon, and oxygen. But that is specific to beryl.

Emeralds are only found in beryl, which is a vivid green color. In its purest form, beryl has no discernible hue. Beryl can only turn green if its soil contains traces of chromium and vanadium.

Similar to sapphires, this process takes a very long time to complete. Similar to sapphires, emeralds can be mined in locations all over the world. However, significant exports originate in Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia.


Sapphire: Sapphires come in various colors, with blue being the most common and well-known. They come in a broad spectrum of hues, from colorless to pink, orange, yellow, black, and purple. What we mean by "in-between" is that the overtone and hue of sapphire can vary from stone to stone based on the trace elements present.

The purest velvety blue (such as that of Kashmir blue sapphires) and the orange-pink hue are the most coveted and expensive. Everyone has their preferences, so any sapphire with a deep hue will be in demand and fetch a high price. For this reason, regardless of the exact hue, a sapphire's value increases as its color becomes more profound and more saturated.

Ruby: Even while red is the most common hue associated with rubies, their shade can range from orange to purple to pink to brown. To be considered a ruby, the dominant color must be red. A layman may need help telling you how close this is (a GIA certificate will tell you what you need to know).

The best-quality rubies will fall between the two extremes, with vivid red and somewhat purplish red being the preferred tones.

Emeralds: The predominant color of an emerald is always green, but they can also have secondary colors, like yellow or blue. In terms of tone, an emerald needs to be between medium and dark to be considered an emerald rather than a green beryl.

In general, emeralds that range from a bluish green to pure green in hue, have a high degree of color saturation, and have a medium to not too-dark tone are the most highly sought. 


Sapphire: It's important to know that nearly all natural sapphires have inclusions that aren't immediately obvious. It is likely a synthetic lab-created sapphire if a magnification loupe reveals no inclusions.  Even an elegant-looking clear ruby comes high on the moh scale (scale of mineral hardness), around 9.

Generally, the rarer a sapphire is, the fewer inclusions it has. Type 1 has no noticeable inclusions, Type 2 and 3 have some slight inclusions, and Type 3 has large inclusions. Most people agree that Type 1 sapphires are the most desirable and expensive.

Ruby: While inclusions and faults are widespread in diamonds, they are also relatively common in rubies. Like diamonds, rubies are graded on a clarity scale from very, very slightly included (VVS) to included somewhat (I1, I2, I3). Very slightly included (VVS), slightly included (SI), and prominently included (I) all refer to degrees of inclusion.

Although inclusions are not the primary factor in determining the value of a ruby, especially when it is used in jewelry, it is nevertheless preferable to avoid those that are very large or obvious. These include chipping, cavity faults, feather flaws, and crystal inclusions. In general, VVS or SI2 clarity is preferred.

Emeralds: Like sapphires and rubies, emeralds form tiny inclusions of gases, minerals, crystals, and liquids called "inclusions" during crystallization. Almost all emeralds will include inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye, making them a natural part of the stone.

Even though emeralds are graded on the same scale as sapphires (Type 1-Type 3), even the highest-quality Type 1 emeralds may have noticeable inclusions. If you're in the emerald or emerald jewelry market, you should steer clear of stones with heavy inclusions or overly visible flaws.


Sapphire: The most expensive sapphires are the blue and pink varieties. A sapphire per carat can vary from $500 to $2,000, depending on the stone's rarity and quality. But the price of a high-quality sapphire might easily reach $11,000 per carat. Depending on the carat weight, Padparadscha sapphires can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $12,50.

A Kashmir sapphire costs over 200,000$ a carat. In fact, one recently went for $242,000 per carat at auction, setting a new record for the most expensive sapphire ever sold.

Ruby: One of the world's rarest and most valuable gemstones is the ruby, which has sold for nearly a million dollars per carat. However, the going rate per carat for a high-quality ruby is around $15,000.

Emeralds: The value of a high-quality emerald is comparable to that of a sapphire. However, the value of a diamond often increases with its carat size. Compared to rubies, a 5-carat emerald can range from $7,500 to $15,000. There was one emerald sold for roughly $300,000 per carat, and that was a record.

Please be aware that there are so many variables (color, clarity, carat weight, cut, and treatment) that it is nearly impossible to estimate general pricing for sapphires, rubies, or emeralds. However, ruby is generally the most expensive, followed by emerald and sapphire. It's not quite as near, but it's close enough, and all three are valuable if they're natural, high-quality, and untreated.

Final Verdict - Sapphire, Ruby, or Emerald

The gemstone market in the year 2020 is estimated to be over US$ 30,779.1 million, and all these gemstones have a major contribution to it.  The three precious stones of sapphire, ruby, and emerald are stunning, rare, and highly valued, making it difficult to pick just one.

However, in the end, the choice of hue is entirely subjective. The three precious stones of sapphires, rubies, and emeralds are essential accessories for the well-to-do. We hope you find the data informative. Choose the one that calls you the most. Sapphires, rubies, and emeralds are always safe bets.


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