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What is the difference between Ruby and Pink Sapphire?

Did you know that rubies and pink sapphires are almost the same thing?

Some people in the gemstone industry debate the borderline between rubies and pink sapphires, they do after all come from the same corundum family.

Basically, if a gem shows "enough" red colour it is called a ruby, if not, it is called a pink sapphire.

The main idea here is that red should be the dominant colour that you see, not purple, pink or orange.

If any of those colours are dominant, they should technically be sold as such (e.g purple sapphire, pink sapphire, orange sapphire etc).

Pink sapphires range in colour from light to dark pink, however there is no such thing as a light coloured ruby.

Ruby is the most valuable variety of the corundum family, along with Padparadscha sapphires. The stone featured in our Anastasia ring (below) is a Padparadscha sapphire and is available from our Ready-to-Wear collection. You can learn more about this unique stone here.

oval padparadscha sapphire and diamond halo rose gold engagement ring

Ruby Availability

Bright red rubies are rare.

The majority of rubies you will see in jewellery stores are dark red, they can even be mistaken for garnets. My clients are often surprised by how dark mid-range rubies really are.

They also don't photograph very well, so when it comes to choosing your ruby I always suggest doing so in person.

To give you an example, this was a gorgeous marquise cut ruby but looked somewhat unimpressive in the photo.

woman's hand wearing a vintage inspired marquise and diamond halo white gold engagement ring

Rubies grow in elongated shape crystals, which is why they are typically cut into elongated shapes like ovals or cushions to save as much material as possible.

Cutting rubies into round shape leads to too much material loss. This is why finding round rubies over 1 carat is very difficult.

If you are shopping for a ruby, try expanding your search to ovals and cushion, you will have more options to choose from.

woman's hand wearing a variety of ruby and diamond halo white gold engagement rings

Pink Sapphire Availability

Pink sapphires come in many shades:

  • light, baby pink

  • dusty rose

  • hot pink

  • fuschia

There is a much larger colour range compared to rubies and therefore more stones to choose from.

As with rubies, pink sapphires are usually cut into ovals and cushions. You can also find round stones around 1 carat.


In terms of hardness, both rubies and pink sapphires scores a 9 out of 10 on Moh's scale (same as sapphires of any colour). They are the next most durable gemstone available after diamond.

Both rubies and pink sapphires are gorgeous and durable stones for everyday wear and a perfect choice if you are looking for a unique and one-of-a-kind engagement ring!

Check out these stunning celebrity engagement rings. Eva Longoria's ruby and diamond ring and Lady Gaga's pink sapphire and diamond ring.

More on celebrity ruby and pink sapphire engagement rings coming soon!


Heat treatment is an industry standard. In fact, almost 99% of all rubies and sapphires are heat treated to enhance and stabilise the colour, it is a permanent process.

Non-treated rubies and pink sapphires are more rare and difficult to find, typically they are also more expensive.

As most rubies and pink sapphires undergo heat treatment, do not be surprised if you do not see a mention of it in your appraisal or grading report.

Typically, appraisals and grading reports will only state “no treatment detected” in case of unheated stones.

pear shape pink sapphire and diamond drop earrings

When purchasing natural coloured gemstones from Tsarina Gems, you will receive an independent, third party appraisal for your piece of mind. I take pride in working with companies who supply responsibly sourced, natural gemstones.


Are you a July baby?

Check out this post to learn more about your birthstone: Happy Birthday, Ruby!


Is a gorgeous Ruby or Pink sapphire on your wishlist?

I'd love to hear about it!

Schedule a complementary, 30 minute connection call with me here

Looking for jewellery and gemstone inspiration?

Visit Tsarina Gems Instagram page for more stunning jewellery ideas and styling tips


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