June 25, 2021
In this article we will talk about a beautiful gemstone – rubellite. What factors affect the price, what shapes it usually cuts and how to distinguish a natural mineral from a fake. Rubellite is one of the most famous and valuable variety of the tourmaline mineral group. Since ancient times these pink and red tourmalines have been used in royal jewelry along with ruby and spinel. It looks very beautiful in faceted view and cabochons.
Color is the main valuation factor for gem rubellite. If the stone has excellent bright color than its low clarity can be excusable to it.
The rubellite color palette contains shades of pink, purple and red. What color rubellite to choose for your jewelry – up to you! Purplish red and purplish pink of high saturation are considered the most valuable. Brownish, orangish, violet additional shades in coloring reduce the price. Of interest are the faceted specimens with a neon pink color, occasionally appearing on the market, but rapidly disappearing due to high demand.
Often, rubellite crystals are colored unevenly, and, for example, lighter and more saturated zones may be contained in one crystal. And if you cut a pair from such a piece of rough material, the resulting stones can have different colors.
Also, when cutting, it is necessary to take into account the expressed pleochroism of tourmaline. This is an optical phenomenon in which when viewed from different angles of view the stone shows different shades of the main color. For example, orange pink and purple pink, red and purple.
According to the GIA classification rubellite belongs to type III stones, almost always with inclusions. This means that in the vast majority of crystals mined there are internal heterogeneities: cracks, gas-liquid and mineral inclusions, etching channels.
On the photo: channels in pink tourmaline
Therefore in faceted stones the presence of inclusions is considered the norm as in emeralds and spessartines. The crystal clear fragments are selected for faceting and oriented in such a way that inclusions and cracks, if any, are not located under the table, preferably in the peripheral area of the faceted stone (side closer to the girdle), and do not affect the durability and integrity of the sample.
This does not mean that there are no rubellites with high clarity. It happens. But the price of such specimens, especially in large weights, is more than 8-10 carats, significantly, 30-50% higher than samples of similar characteristics, but with minor inclusions that do not worsen the appearance.
Rubellites are stones that are very beautiful when faceted. Therefore in the market of gemstones you can often find stones with disturbed proportions to maintain weight. For example, a flat or overly deep pavilion.
Traditional cut shapes:
Due to the fact that inclusions are often found in crystals the cabochon form is also popular for rubellites. In addition, cabochons perfectly reveal the natural beauty of color. The masterly use of rubellite in the form of cabochons can be seen in the Bvlgari Serpenti necklace.
On the photo: rubellite cabochons
Also such brand like Cartier has well-known jewelry made using rubellite beads, for example necklaces.
At the same time the price of vivid color cabochons can be equal to the price of faceted stones with high clarity.
Since individual rubellites of good clarity and color are quite rare, the selection of close pairs and sets both in cabochons and in faceted form can be a more time-consuming experience and take considerable time, compared to other stones.
On the photo: a pair of faceted vivid pink-red color rubellite
Due to the strong pleochroism of rubellites the stone requires a special approach to orient the crystal during faceting. And this property can be both a plus and a minus. The cutter needs to study a piece of rough materials in which directions which colors and shades appear, and orient the crystal in such a way that the site is perpendicular to the direction of the most valuable color. It’s important a creative approach to the process of cutting and choosing the location of facets taking into account the future pattern of cutting and reflections.
On the photo: observation of pleochroism colors in faceted rubellite
Glass, ceramic, plastic, other natural minerals and artificial substances can be used as imitations of rubellite.
As for the synthetic analogue, rubellite, like other varieties of the tourmaline mineral, is not synthesized.
Consider how to distinguish natural red tourmaline from glass. Glass, when carefully studied, contains inclusions in the form of bubbles and in the liquid flows forms. For faceted glass edges are usually frayed due to their low hardness.
The properties of sitalls (hue, inclusions, optical indicators) can be approximated to the characteristics of natural minerals, including rubellite.
From synthetic materials, rubellite can imitate synthetic corundum, cubic zirconia and synthetic spinel.
Cubic zirconia (CZ) gives a bright game of rainbow flashes on the edges – dispersion. Synthetic spinel when viewed in a polariscope shows a characteristic picture of moire extinction. Synthesized corundum (ruby) of different shades can be very similar to rubellite, for its diagnosis, it is necessary to carefully examine the stone in an immersion liquid under a microscope for zoning in the form of circular arcs, which gives corundum grown by the Verneuil method. If a different synthesis method was used, it is possible to determine such corundum by characteristic inclusions.
Natural rubellite may be similar in appearance to some natural pink-red stones: zircon, pyrope, rhodolite, almandine, Malaya garnet, imperial topaz, spinel, pink-red sapphire. A reliable method for determining a gemstone is the measurement of the refractive index and birefringence in a refractometer. The surest way to verify the natural origin of rubellite is to contact a reputable gemological laboratory, where a comprehensive study of the gemstone will be conducted.
The cost of rubellite depends on several factors that we have already considered above: color, weight, quality of cut, clarity. The fact of treatment and origin (country of mining) do not affect the price of rubellite. As for color, more red stones are more expensive than pink and purple of the same saturation.
The highest cost are specimens with a color close to vivid red and purple-pink. High-quality cut of the European level is estimated at 15-30% more expensive than a medium asian cut. Conversely, rubellites with impaired proportions and poor polishing costs a quarter cheaper than the current market price.
On the photo: high saturation pink-red tourmaline
Eye clean rubellites are 30-50% higher than stones with insignificant inclusions. Faceted tourmalines with large, highly visible cracks and inclusions are rated below 30%, all other things being equal.
The price of 1 carat of rubellite also depends on the total weight, with an increase in weight, the price also increases. So, one carat of a ten-carat tourmaline will cost 3 times more than a carat of a two-carat stone, regardless of its color and clarity. If you want to know the price of rubellite of certain characteristics, contact our specialists.
Pink tourmaline can be selected in the catalog.
Find a similar
Opal: description, properties and photo