Red is an eye-catching color, especially when it comes to jewelry. Red gemstones add a spectacular touch to your jewelry collection, especially in the right setting. The ruby is the most recognizable of them all. However, others have exploded in popularity over the years.
When it comes to red gemstone jewelry, many consider coloring the most important quality, followed by durability. Below, we explore the most popular red gemstones. Read on to learn more and decide which red gemstone will suit you best.
Red Gemstones: The Basics
When assessing red gemstones, we need to look at two primary aspects: color and clarity.
Gemologists assess gemstone color based on hue, tone, and saturation. Usually, gemstones have secondary hues in addition to the primary color. The highest quality red gemstones maintain a pure red color. Red gemstones reach their gamut limit, or peak saturation, at about 75-80% tone. Those below 50% tone appear pink.
Regarding clarity grades, the darker the gemstone, the more it helps hide imperfections. Unlike colorless gems such as diamonds, clarity is secondary to color when it comes to red gemstones.
Healing stones have the power to revitalize and encourage growth in people’s lives. They help balance emotions, clear chakra blockages, and raise vibrations, allowing you to flourish. Red gemstones display these abilities well.
The color red symbolizes warmth, passion, fire, and stability. Red gemstones in their crystal forms represent love, energy, life, and vitality. They boost your energy, reduce sluggishness, and empower your physical self.
Chinese culture attributes joy and prosperity to red gemstones. Brides wear the traditional red color to bring good luck and improve harmony between the husband and wife.
Several cultures suggest red gemstones endow you with physical strength and inspire you to achieve your goals. Another common belief involves red gemstones’ ability to improve motivation and recharge your body, mind, and spirit.
Most Popular Red Gemstones
Here is our list of popular red gemstones to help you decide which stone to pick for your next jewelry piece.
Rubies have vivid levels of saturation when intensified by sunlight. This gem-quality mineral contains chromium, a rare element that gives the ruby its color and fluorescence.
Gemologists and jewelers usually treat rubies with heat to enhance their color and increase their value. They possess a hardness of 9.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. They are also the July birthstone.
Also referred to as cornelian, carnelian is the best-known variety of chalcedony. It receives its red color from its iron content.
Carnelian measures at a 7.0 hardness on the Mohs scale, and gemologists improve the natural red color of this gem by heating it. It comes at low prices of under $1 per carat, with value increasing according to size.
Composed primarily of mercury sulfide, the toxicity of cinnabar prevents it from being anything other than a decorative showpiece.
Cinnabar has a hardness rating of 2.0 to 2.5 on the Mohs scale. You can easily scratch it with your fingernail.
China yields some of the world’s finest cinnabar gemstones, which remain rare in their crystallized form. The value of these gemstones varies according to the region and their quality.
Fire opal is an unusual variety of opal found in places such as Mexico and Australia. It comes in colors ranging from light yellow to bright orange and red. It consists of gem-quality hydrated silicon dioxide.
Fire opal falls between 6.0 and 6.5 on the Mohs scale. Water can accounts for up to 21% of its weight.
Fire opal can cost anywhere between $10 per carat to $10,000 per carat, depending on color and appearance.
Red spinel displays high levels of clarity, transparency, and shine. It has a hardness of 8.0 on the Mohs scale, making it an affordable alternative to the ruby.
Red spinel usually does not undergo treatment. One of the three August birthstones, it usually costs between $800 and $5,000 per carat.
Garnet, the January birthstone, occurs in many colors based on its chemical composition. It is well-known for its many healing properties.
The light transmission of garnet ranges from opaque to transparent. Its hardness varies between 6.0 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale.
Garnets cost between $500 and $7,000 per carat, depending on their clarity and size.
Pezzottaite is a very recent discovery. Gemologists initially mistook pezzottaite for red beryl or cesium-containing morganite. It has a hardness rating of 8.0 and comes in pink and raspberry colors.
The few pezzottaite gemstones on sale cost about $1,900 per carat for faceted stones of up to three carats. The stones that reach up to five carats cost around $3,000 per carat.
Agates occur in many different colors, including shades of red, yellow, orange, and blue.
Many agates display secondary hues of black, white, blue, and gray in their patterns. Gemologists often dye solid, monochromatic red agate gemstones to imitate carnelian.
Red agates have a Mohs hardness of 6.5 to 7.0. Their price ranges from anywhere between $1 to $3,000, depending on their source and color.
Red Andesine (Andesine-Labradorite)
Red andesine only entered the market in the early 2000s. While not much is known about them, they are a type of plagioclase feldspar.
Red andesine occurs in a variety of shades. Gemologists often conduct the process of faceting on red andesine to bring out its brilliance.
Red andesine maintains a hardness rating of 6 to 6.5 and gives off a glassy luster.
Red Beryl (Bixbite)
An extremely rare gemstone occurring in small sizes, bixbite belongs to the red beryl family.
Red beryl displays a variety of pink and red shades and often occurs in sizes under one carat. They have a hardness rating of 7.5 to 8.0 and usually contain inclusions. Though they won’t scratch easily, they can be somewhat brittle.
Red beryls rarely occur above two or three carats and cost a whopping $10,000 per carat.
Red Coral (Praval/Moonga)
Composed of tiny marine creatures called polyps, red coral occurs in the ocean. It is considered an organic gemstone.
Polished red coral takes on a smooth, glossy surface, making it an excellent option for delicate jewelry pieces. However, it only possesses a hardness of 3.0 to 4.0.
Differences in origin, shape, color, and clarity mean that red coral can cost anywhere between $7 to $230 per carat.
Red diamonds acquire their color due to deformities in the crystal lattice, causing them to appear red when light passes through them. This unique quality makes red diamonds very valuable and rare.
A majority of red diamonds have secondary hues, which can affect their value. They have a hardness rating of 10, just like other diamonds.
Natural red diamonds can cost you several hundred thousand dollars per carat. However, you can also purchase synthetic red diamonds as a more affordable option.
Jasper is an opaque variety of quartz known for spots and patterns on its surface. Red jasper puts off a vitreous luster and does not undergo any treatment.
Red jasper maintains a hardness rating of 6.5 to 7.0. Gemologists usually carve or cut red jaspers into smooth shapes or cabochons.
This stone commands prices ranging between $2 to $5 per carat based on its quality.
Red Rhodolite Garnet
A rare variety of stone from the garnet family, the red rhodolite garnet occurs in vivid, dark shades of red. It contains little to no impurities and always comes untreated, which means that it possesses its natural color.
Red rhodolite garnets have a hardness rating of 6.5 to 7.5.
You can find top-quality red rhodolite garnets for around $150 per carat to $350 per carat.
Red Tiger’s Eye
A common type of quartz, the red tiger’s eye often displays bands or other light-and-dark patterns. It gives off lively, earthy colors with shades of red and burnt sienna.
Red tiger’s eye maintains a smooth, silky luster and may demonstrate iridescence on occasion. Its hardness rating is 6.5 to 7.0.
Jewelry made of red tiger’s eye often fetches thousands of dollars, with some exceptional jewelry pieces selling for well over $5,000.
Red topaz shows a vitreous luster and shines brilliantly when faceted. Primarily transparent, it seldom contains visible inclusions. Gemologists often treat red topaz with heat to enhance its color.
The value of red topaz depends on its color. The deeper its color, the higher the price it commands. It has a Mohs scale hardness rating of 8.0.
Associated with the birth month of November, high-quality red topaz gemstones can sell for as much as $3,500 per carat.
Often found in vivid reds with brown or orange secondary tints, red zircon looks splendid when worn as jewelry.
Red zircons have a hardness of 6.0 to 7.5, but their brittleness means they break or chip easily and require proper care.
These December birthstones generally cost between $20 per carat to $90 per carat for small specimens. You can also purchase rare stones over ten carats wholesale for $105 to $300.
An extremely rare gemstone, rhodochrosite crystals only occur in a few locales, like the Capillitas and Catamarca deposits in Argentina or the Sweet Home Mine in Colorado.
The delicate rhodochrosite crystals have a hardness of 3.5 to 4.
Rhodochrosite costs in the U.S. range between $204 per carat to $436 per carat, depending on the shade.
The red variety of tourmaline, known as rubellite, occurs due to trace amounts of manganese in the stone’s crystal structure.
With a hardness rating of 7.0 to 7.5, this October birthstone represents a good substitute for rubies.
Rubellite often contains inclusions. However, if the inclusions do not make the gemstone appear milky or cloudy, they do not affect its value. High-quality rubellite costs between $400 to $1,000 per carat.
Sunstone and Oregon Sunstone
Sunstones possess a unique glitter and bronze-like luster. This schiller glitter effect results from hematite or copper inclusions. Sunstones are quite rare and occur in colors of orange-red to brown-red.
Sunstones have a Mohs hardness rating of about 6.5 and cost between $50 to $1,700 per carat.
Best Matches For Red Gemstones
In jewelry, red gemstones work well with all kinds of metal. These gender-neutral stones add a touch of finesse and excitement to your collection. You can pair different colors of metal with red gemstones to fit all kinds of occasions.
You can go with silver-hued metals like silver, platinum, or white gold for a fresh look. If you want a vintage-inspired appearance, try tarnished silver. For a more classic look, you can go for yellow gold. For a trendy, chic look, try matching red gems with rose gold.
You can also match red gemstones to your skin tone. There are no hard and fast rules, so if you like the way it looks against your skin, that’s all that matters. However, red gemstones do tend to stand out most against cool skin tones.
Simple outfits can benefit from bold, chunky red gemstones. Delicate pieces can add elegance to your look as well. You can also combine gems with pearls for a fabulous ‘old Hollywood’ appearance.
Buying Red Gemstones
When shopping for red gemstones, keeping a few tips in mind can help ensure you have a satisfying experience.
In the modern world of computers, online shopping has become the norm. You can shop for red gemstones online in the same way you shop for other products. Shopping for gems online has several advantages. It presents a much more convenient way to shop, and you can find more options. Online shops list the rarest varieties of red gemstones, even ones you may not find at a nearby store.
Consider these tips to receive the best deals for red gemstones:
- Only buy from a certified jeweler.
- Confirm the origin of the stone before you buy.
- If possible, request a certificate of authenticity.
- Conduct a thorough check of the options before deciding on the one you want.
Gemstone jewelry is one of the best investments you can make for your wardrobe. Regardless of price point, red gemstones can enhance any look.
Using the list and tips above, you can pick the red gemstone that suits you best. With their classic yet versatile beauty, you can't go wrong.