Natural Star Ruby

3 min read


Star rubies are a unique and rare variety of the precious gemstone ruby. What sets them apart is their remarkable asterism, also known as the star-effect. When properly cut into cabochon-shaped gems, star rubies exhibit a captivating six-rayed star pattern that appears to glide magically across the surface of the stone. This phenomenon is caused by the presence of rutile inclusions, creating a mesmerizing optical effect. Star rubies are highly sought after by gem enthusiasts and collectors due to their extraordinary beauty and rarity.

what causes the star-effect in star rubies?

what are star rubies?

The star-effect, also known as asterism, in star rubies is caused by the presence of tiny needle-like inclusions of rutile within the gemstone. These inclusions, often referred to as "silk," are densely packed and aligned in a way that intersects at the center of the stone. When a star ruby is properly cut into a cabochon shape, these rutile inclusions interact with light, causing it to reflect in a unique pattern. This results in the appearance of a stunning six-rayed star that seems to glide across the surface of the gem when it is moved or viewed under a single light source. The asterism effect is what makes star rubies truly exceptional and highly prized among gemstone enthusiasts.

How to determine the value of a star ruby?

The value of a star ruby is determined by several key factors, including the quality of the star, the color and clarity of the stone, its size, and the overall condition. Here are some important considerations when assessing the value of a star ruby:

  1. Star Quality: The star should be sharp, well-defined, and centered on the stone. The number of rays and their visibility play a crucial role. A clean and evenly spread star with no interruptions or weak rays adds to the value.

  2. Color: While rubies are commonly associated with a vivid red color, star rubies deviate from this norm. Instead, star rubies typically exhibit hues of pinkish-red, purplish-red, or purplish-brown. The distribution of color within these gemstones is often irregular, appearing in stripes and spots. The rarity and high cost of star rubies are particularly attributed to the scarcity of red rubies with flawless stars. As a general guideline, pink star rubies are considered to showcase the most exceptional and well-defined stars.

  3. Clarity: Star rubies typically have inclusions due to the presence of rutile. However, clarity still matters. Stones with fewer visible inclusions and better transparency are generally more valuable.

  4. Size: Star rubies typically come in sizes ranging from 1 carat to 15 carats. However, it is important to note that finding fine star rubies in larger sizes is exceptionally rare and comes with a hefty price tag.

  5. Cutting: The cabochon cut is the most suitable for star rubies to display the asterism. A well-executed cabochon cut that maximizes the star's visibility and enhances the gem's overall appearance can positively impact its value.

  6. Sharpness: Achieving the desired star effect in ruby heavily relies on the art of cutting. It is crucial to shape the gemstones into carefully crafted cabochons with a medium to high, domed profile in order to achieve the perfect star effect. These cabochons should ideally have a round or oval shape. It is important to avoid excessive flatness on the top or excessive weight on the bottom of the stone. Interestingly, in the case of star rubies, it is common practice to leave the bottoms unpolished. This deliberate choice allows the gemstone to effectively trap and reflect light within its depths.

  7. Origin: The majority of rough rubies suitable for cutting into star rubies are sourced from various countries, including Burma (Myanmar), Sri Lanka, India, Africa, Vietnam, Thailand, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Australia, Cambodia, and the United States. Among these, Africa and India are typically the primary sources for the most readily available star rubies in the market.

  8. Treatment: Heat treatment is a commonly accepted practice for enhancing the color and clarity of rubies. However, unheated or minimally treated star rubies are considered more valuable.

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