Delarah Banner
ENGAGEMENT RING

How to Buy a Ruby and Diamond Engagement Ring

ruby-diamond ring

As Wedding Know How editors, we write about things that we love and we think you'll like too. We have affiliate partnerships and sponsorship and may generate some revenue from these at no cost to you.

As more brides look for engagement rings that stand out, more jewelers incorporate non-traditional style elements to their engagement rings to create unique new designs. The addition of colored stones such as rubies to traditional diamonds has emerged as a growing trend that allows brides to dip their toes into the non-traditional while still being able to don diamonds.

The combination of rubies and diamonds gives a ring color and sparkle. It also imbues a piece with symbolism that is perfect for an engagement. Learn all you need to know about finding a ruby and diamond engagement ring below.

Delarah Banner

Why Rubies and Diamonds?

Ruby diamond engagement ring

Oval Ruby and Diamond Ring by Blue Nile

Like diamonds, rubies are quite rare which gives them an air of high-value worthy of a significant piece of jewelry such as an engagement ring.

Meaningful Symbolism

If the stunning combination doesn’t win you over solely on looks, consider the symbolic meaning behind both stones. Rubies were prized throughout history in many cultures, and each has imbued the stone with its own significant meaning. Rubies are thought to bring health, love, peace, and wisdom; are a token of guidance and knowledge and, of course, are symbolic of love and romance.

Diamonds are most commonly used in engagement rings because of the historical tie between marriage and diamonds. The DeBeers mining company played a huge part in establishing this tradition in the early 20th century with the clever advertising campaign that produced the famous “diamonds are forever” slogan. They also encouraged grooms to purchase a pricey diamond engagement ring that cost approximately two months’ salary. This rigid standard has fallen out of fashion, but diamonds in an engagement ring definitely has not.

Value and Prestige

Both stones are also considered precious stones, along with sapphires and emeralds. All these stones are considered ‘precious’ (as opposed to semi-precious) because of their rarity, beauty and historical value. A high-quality ruby is just as revered as a diamond, which means that a good quality stone can sometimes be just as, or more expensive. Both rubies and diamonds also have desirable physical qualities such as high clarity, brilliance and fine colors.

Durability

However, the most important characteristic which sets precious stones apart from their lesser-valued counterparts is durability. After all, your engagement ring will need to last for life, so how it will hold up to everyday wear and tear is important.

The ‘hardness’ of a stone is measured on the Mohs scale from one to ten. A stone with a Mohs hardness of 1 can be scratched with your fingernail and a masonry drill can mark a stone with a Mohs hardness of 8.5. Diamonds take the top position with a Mohs rating of 10 and rubies don’t fall too far behind with a Mohs rating of 9 which makes them excellent options for a long-lasting engagement ring that can be worn every day.

Ruby and Diamond Engagement Ring Styles

When choosing a ruby and diamond combo ring, there are many factors to consider.

  • Do you want the ruby to be the highlight or the diamond? Going with a ruby center stone means more color, while a diamond center stone offers more sparkle.
  • What type of setting are you after? Consider halo, three stone, pave and channel, which are some of the most popular styles featuring both these stones.
  • What style of ring suits you? You can opt for maximalist, dramatic rings or more minimalist, subtle styles. Choose the style that you feel comfortable with and the amount of sparkle and color that complements this style.
  • What metal color do you want? The good news is that when it comes to ruby and diamond ring combos, any metal color works. This is because while ruby tends to work best with yellow and rose gold, diamonds are set off by white hued metals. When you combine the two, any metal color suits perfectly.

With that in mind, here are some of the best ring designs on the market that marry the color of rubies with the sparkle of diamonds.

Classic Ruby Centered Stone

Classic ruby and diamond ring

Emerald Cut Ruby and Diamond Double Halo Ring by Blue Nile

A vibrant ruby surrounded by a halo of smaller diamonds is the perfect way to have the brilliance of diamonds without overpowering the ruby.

Classic Diamond Ring with Ruby Accents

three stone ring

Three Stone Diamond and Ruby Ring by MS Jewelers

If you prefer to keep your center stone a diamond, consider choosing ruby accent stones to add a hint of intrigue to a classic ring.

Vintage Engagement Ring

Vintage ruby-diamond ring

Vintage Diamond and Ruby Ring by Trademark Antiques

Mixed stone rings have an air of vintage royalty to them, possibly because several gemstones in a single ring design was once reserved for high society. Look for rings with marquise-cut stones, milgrain detailing and regal art deco shapes for the perfect vintage look.

Simple Ruby Engagement Ring

Simple ruby ring

Ruby engagement ring with diamond band by TANSO

Keep it simple with a small ruby solitaire ring set on a diamond studded band, for the perfect balance of sparkle and color.

Ruby Halo Ring

Ruby and diamond halo engagement ring

White diamond ring with ruby halo by Kahn High Jewellery

While diamond halos are more common, every now and then you’ll find a unique design that features a ruby halo. This ring brings out the stunning shades of ruby alongside a step cut diamond center stone.

What the 4cs Mean for Diamonds and Rubies

Ruby halo ring

Oval Ruby and Round Diamond Halo Ring by Blue Nile

Rubies and diamonds are assessed for value based on the 4cs of carat, cut, color and clarity. But which ones are more or less important will depend on the stone. The easiest way to think about how much each of these will impact the look of your diamond or ruby is to consider how you want your stone to look.

Most people will want their diamond to look as bright and shiny as possible, hence, clarity is thought of as most important. When it comes to rubies, most people look for a stone that has a desirable color, making it the most important quality. Here is a quick look at what each of the 4cs means for the different stones.

This is a long discussion, so here’s a quick summary if you want to skip the details:

  • Color is the most important factor when choosing the best rubies, while for diamonds it’s the lack of color. Some ruby hues can make a diamond appear whiter.
  • Diamonds should be eye-clean, but inclusions tend to be tolerated in rubies, due to their rarity. However, avoid rubies that have been heavily treated and enhanced.
  • Cut is the most important criteria for diamonds, as it enhances sparkle. For rubies, it’s more about a cut that will make the color stand out.
  • In rings with several stones, Total Carat Weight (TCW) refers to the carat weight of all of the stones in the design. 

Color

Three stone ruby and diamond engagement ring

Three Stone Princess Shaped Ruby Engagement Ring by James Allen

Color is the most important factor for rubies.Traditionally, the most prized ruby is the one with the purest and deepest red hue. The rare and pricey Burmese Pigeon’s Blood ruby is thought of as the most valuable because of its rarity and unparalleled pure-red color. Rubies also have secondary purple or orange hues. Secondary purple hues are valued higher as orange hues are traditionally less desirable. When it comes to color, a bride’s taste and preference is the most important, so regardless of what tradition and price-tags dictate, you should choose a ruby with a hue that appeals to you.

Color zoning is a trait that only applies to colored stones such as rubies. Color in a ruby is unlikely to be equal throughout. Some parts of the stone will have naturally lighter and darker sections. Gem cutters should orient the stone to bring out the best color in the table (top) of the stone. If you can see some color zoning such as bands or spots from the side, don’t worry too much about it. In general, if you can’t see the color zoning from the distance of your eye to your hand, then it should be fine. But if color zoning does catch your eye from afar, you may want to keep looking.

For a diamond, the lack of color is most valuable. Any tint or cloudiness will decrease its value because it can make a stone appear dull and milky. Stones are sometimes compared side by side to show differences in color, but as long all of your diamonds have the same color rating, they will all sparkle in the same way.

Pro Tip: Something to consider when choosing rubies for your mixed-stone ring is that secondary purple hues may help your diamonds appear whiter. The cooler purple tone can off-set any yellows in nearby diamonds and will make them appear whiter and brighter.

Clarity

Ruby ring oval

Three-Stone Cushion-Cut Ruby and Half Moon Diamond Halo Ring by Blue Nile

Clarity measures how flawless a stone is. More blemishes and inclusions will generally result in a duller stone, but higher clarity also increases its value. All flaws are taken into account in pricing – even microscopic ones so shopping for eye-clean diamonds in particular can save you a lot of money.

‘Eye clean’ is an unofficial description of a stone with flaws that can’t be seen with the naked eye, so you’ll only be paying for clarity that you can see.

Clarity is also an important factor in rubies but not as much as it is for diamonds. Blemishes are more difficult to see because of the color in the stone.

What you should look out for are rubies that have been filled to try and cover any surface blemishes. In colored stones, surface fractures are sometimes filled with glass or lead as an enhancement. This can dramatically decrease the overall value of the stone. Filling also alters the structure of the stone which can compromise its durability. Glass is a common filler and is a lot weaker at 5.5 on the Mohs scale. This makes glass-filled rubies more susceptible to everyday damage. When shopping, look for out for ‘composite’ labels and ask your jeweler whether this means it has been filled. 

Cut

Ruby halo ring

Ruby with diamond halo by James Allen. See it here.

Cut refers to the way a stone is shaped overall and internally. Internal cuts produce facets that impact how light passes through the stone. A diamond that is properly cut will absorb light, refract it within the diamond and send it out through the top of the stone (or table) to create the shine that we can see. This is why a well-cut diamond results in maximum sparkle!

Diamond cutting is an art. A diamond cut to the wrong proportions will send light through the sides or bottom. A diamond cut to the right depth in relation to the table will produce just the right facets for maximum brilliance. Cut is the most important factor when evaluating a diamond’s quality.

The most common ruby cuts are oval and cushion as they follow the crystalline structure of rubies. You can find rubies in round, triangular, emerald, pear, and marquise shapes, but these are more difficult to find in larger sizes, so a high-quality ruby in these cuts can be more expensive.

Windowing relates to how color is distributed because of a ruby that is cut too shallow. Cheaper rubies often exhibit large windows, which means that the color is more intense around the edges and faint in the center. Remember, you are looking for a ruby that is as uniform in color as possible, so windowing should be avoided.  

Carat

Carats measure the weight of stones used in jewelry. The heavier a stone is, the more carats it will have and the more expensive it will be. This measurement has less of a bearing on the appearance of a diamond or ruby. Unless you are a gemmologist, carats are more associated with status – so unless your personal preference is for high carat stones, we would suggest spending your budget on the other Cs instead.

Something to remember when shopping for a mixed-stone engagement ring is that carats can be expressed as ‘carat weight’ or ‘total carat weight’.

  • Carat weight is a measurement of the weight of an individual stone in carats (1 carat is the equivalent of 0.2 grams). In diamonds, this is sometimes abbreviated as DW, or “diamond weight”. Carat weight is used to describe single stones, so if you see a listing with “1CW”, you know it’s likely a single-stone ring with a 1-carat diamond.
  • Total carat weight (TCW) refers to the total weight of all diamonds or other gemstones in a piece of jewelry, when more than one gemstone is used. So, if you are looking at an engagement ring with both diamonds and rubies, the TCW is a measurement of the weight of all the stones together, unless otherwise specified.

Though each of the 4cs effects the price and quality of the stone, what should matter to you most is what you can actually see. Often people become bogged down in finding a stone that is perfect on paper and end up paying for things that are unnoticeable. This is especially important in engagement rings that have both rubies and diamonds in them as multiple stones will inherently mean more carats and a higher starting price. 

Wrapping Up

Engagement rings with rubies and diamonds are an excellent way to mix the hues of colored gemstones with the sparkle of diamonds, giving you a ring that has the best of both worlds.

While there are certain technical aspects to consider when purchasing your diamond and ruby ring, the most important factor is to purchase from a reputable store with a proven track record, and one that will provide you the necessary certification, so you know that what you’re buying is authentic.

We recommend checking out the stunning ruby and diamond rings on Blue Nile and James Allen. You can also take your search to Etsy for a wider range of artisan and handcrafted rings at a variety of price points.