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Garnet VS Ruby
How to Spot the Difference?

Garnets and Rubies are both red - but that's where the similarity ends... Which is the better gem and How to tell the difference?

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Ruby Ring and Earrings

Not all that glitters in red is a ruby - or in other words, while rubies and garnets may appear similar, there are substantial differences setting the two apart. One might wonder why these alterations even matter; the answer to which is that rubies are one of the four most precious gemstones in the world. Consequently, the actual value and therefore cost of rubies, should be significantly higher than garnets.

Furthemore, rubies have a rich history among the wealthy and aristocracy during medieval times. It was believed to possess special abilities and represented power, while in biblical times it symbolized wisdom and beauty. The precious stone, thus, is truly one of a kind.

14k Rose Gold Imperial Ruby and Diamond Ring 14k Rose Gold Imperial Ruby and Diamond Ring
14k Rose Gold Wavy Ruby and Diamond Ring 14k Rose Gold Wavy Ruby and Diamond Ring
14k Rose Gold Five Stone Halo Ruby and Diamond Ring 14k Rose Gold Five Stone Halo Ruby and Diamond Ring
14k Rose Gold Garnet and Diamond Studded Braded Halo Ring 14k Rose Gold Garnet and Diamond Studded Braded Halo Ring
18k White Gold Oval Garnet and Pave Diamond Art Deco Ring 18k White Gold Oval Garnet and Pave Diamond Art Deco Ring
18k Yellow Gold East West Oval Garnet and Diamond Ring Yellow Gold East West Oval Garnet and Diamond Ring

Search Ruby Jewelry    Search Garnet Jewelry

To ensure you’re getting your money’s worth, there are a couple of things you can look out for. Here’s a short guide to help you spot the hidden gems:

Rarity and Value

First thing’s first, rubies are much rarer and harder to stumble across. Garnets, on the other hand, are not a specific gemstone but rather a group of silicate minerals that can come in a variety of colors. While it’s harder to find green garnets, for instance, red ones can be found in abundance. In short, if the rubies you’re about to inspect were easy to find, you should reconsider the source. Moreover, rubies over 1 carat are close to impossible to find, so if you do inspect a larger stone, pay closer attention.

Below is an example of a rare 5 carat red ruby from JamesAllen.com worth over $150,000!

Clarity and Light

Once you’ve lifted the stone and held it to the light, there are two properties you can determine; the stone’s clarity and the manner in which the light passes through it. While garnets are completely clear, rubies commonly have flaws and or inclusions. If you are still unable to reach a definitive conclusion, the next step would be to inspect the light reflecting from the stone. Rubies absorb the colors yellow and green, so when the light passes through a garnet you’ll see a full seven-colored rainbow shine through.

Color and Shade

Yes, both stones have an impressive shade of red, but there are in fact minute distinctions when it comes to their color, hue and intensity. Rubies have a deeper and more distinct red color, while garnets, in comparison, appear lighter and paler. In addition, a ruby could perhaps even seem slightly purple, some would even say bluish. But if the hue of the stone leans towards shades such as orange or yellow, you’re probably looking at a garnet.

Toughness and Durability

Though you might not be able to determine the durability or roughness of the stone by looking at it with an untrained eye, the differences are quite important to know. While rubies rank 9 out of 10 on the Mohs scale, making them durable and pretty resilient, garnets are approximately 7, or 7.5 at best. The roughness of the stones, which is harder to determine, is one the ways in which a professional can tell between the two.

Red Ruby Crystal Ruby
Garnet Garnet

Garnet VS Ruby - Which is Better?

For starters, which is better is a personal question, we all have different needs, desires, budgets, reasons. BUT, a lot of gemstones are being bought as a gift - as birthstones. If that’s the case then your birthdate will be the answer as which is better for you (or which is right for you). Garnet is January’s birthstone and Ruby is the birthstone of July.

And if you are basing your choice based on the Zodiacal calendar then it Garnet represents Aquarius and Ruby represents Capricorn.

Garnet VS Ruby - Aquarius VS Capricorn Garnet VS Ruby - Aquarius VS Capricorn

Aside from the characteristics mentioned here, there are other things to be considered, all of which can be addressed by a professional. So, if you’ve looked at all the signs mentioned here, and followed the guide, yet still struggle to determine which stone it is you’re holding, it’s best that you consult a specialist - no one wants to end up with a garnet costing like a ruby.