Delarah Banner
Jewelry

Rubellite Gemstone – 11 Frequently Asked Questions

ruby ring vintage antique

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.

Rubellite is a gorgeous pinkish to red gemstone that’s often seen as merely an alternative to rubies. However, there’s more to rubellite than meets the eye.

Rubellite is the rarest, most precious and most beautiful tourmaline variety. Its vibrant red shades, durability, affordability and other characteristics make it a fantastic gemstone for jewelry.

Delarah Banner

To know more about rubellite, let’s take a look at 11 frequently asked questions.

What is rubellite?

Rubellite gemstone

Rubellite gemstone by Kosnar Gem Co. See it here.

Rubellite is a transparent gemstone that belongs to the vast and colorful tourmaline gemstone family. Like all tourmalines, it’s also a crystalline boron silicate mineral. It’s one of the most expensive tourmaline  gemstones because of its rarity and beauty.

Rubellite is available in various colors ranging from red to violet and dramatic pink. It’s name is derived from the Latin word ‘rubellus’ meaning ‘reddish’. 

Due to its beauty, rarity and captivating color range, this multifaceted gemstone is the most highly prized and expensive type of tourmaline.

Where is rubellite found?

Rubellite is mostly found in Madagascar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Brazil and Mozambique, but it’s mined in several more locations around the world. Although it comes from several mining sites around the world, rubellite gemstones are extremely rare. In fact, they’re so rare that they’re actually far more expensive than rubies which is one of the most prized and valued gemstones.

Over the past years, cleaner rough rubellite gemstones have been found in certain areas of Africa. However, these stones usually have brown tinges which reduces their value and desirability. This is because orange or brown colored rubellite gemstones are less pricey than violet, pink and red ones. Rubellites in the desired color ranges are found in Brazil but these often contain inclusions and are rarely eye-clean.

What is the difference between rubellite and ruby?

Red ruby gemstone

Ruby gemstone by James Allen. See more here.

Rubellite is a type of pink tourmaline gemstone which is often compared to the ruby because of its rich color. However, the two gemstones are completely different. For one thing, rubies have a more vibrant red undertone, which enhances the color of the stone. Rubies are also denser and therefore heavier than rubellites. However, rubellites are much rarer than rubies. Another main difference is in the perceived value of both gemstones – ruby is considered a precious gemstone while rubellite is only a semi-precious stone.

What is rubellite worth?

The highest quality rubellite gemstones can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,000 per carat depending on the color, clarity and size. However, there are several factors that impact on the value of rubelllite, including clarity, color and cut quality. For example, most rubellite are found with significant inclusions (such as liquid or gas bubbles, fractures and crystals), but as long as these don’t impact the stone’s appearance and make it appear cloudy, the value of the stone will likely not be affected.

Is rubellite the same as pink tourmaline?

Pink tourmaline ring

Pink tourmaline ring by Jewellery Villa. See it here.

Both rubellite and pink tourmaline are types of tourmaline. Both are pink in color but the difference lies in the specific shades of pink. Rubellite stones are a vivid, pinkish-red color but are also found in pink or purple whereas pink tourmaline is available in a range of pink shades. When held under different lights, rubellite holds its color and looks red throughout. If the color changes from pinkish-red to pink under various lighting sources, the stone is considered a tourmaline. This difference is very subtle and is similar to the pink sapphire vs. ruby difference.

What is rubellite quartz?

Rubellite quartz is not genuine rubellite. This name simply refers to triplet quartz, a type of layered gemstone, that has the same color as rubellite. However, the two are different gemstones and should not be confused simply because of the name.

How do you care for rubellite?

Rubellites are hard and durable gemstones, with a Mohs rating of 7 to 7.5. This makes them suitable for most types of jewelry. To keep rubellite jewelry in good condition, you’ll want to clean it regularly, especially if you wear it often.

Here are some tips and pointers on how to clean your rubellite stone and what to avoid while wearing it.

Tips to Clean Rubellite

  • Clean your rubellite gemstone with warm soapy water and a soft cloth.
  • Once washed, dry your rubellite jewelry with a paper towel and store it away safely.
  • Store rubellite jewelry in a padded jewelry box or wrap it in a piece of soft cloth and keep it away from any other hard stones. Stones like sapphires, rubies or diamonds can scratch rubellite.

What to Avoid:

  • Don’t expose your rubellite stone to ultrasonic cleaners or heating since these can damage the stone.
  • Using a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your stone can be a good idea, but this could also cause some degree of damage to it, especially if you do it regularly.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals and toxic detergents on the stone. If you’re handling harsh chemicals, take off your rubellite jewelry to keep it safe. Certain lotions, creams and hairsprays can also contain harmful chemicals that could cause damage to the gemstone.
  • Remove rubellite jewelry when doing intensive tasks like sports or rigorous cleaning. Never wear any rubellite item when swimming since the chlorine in the pool and can damage the piece.

Are rubellites good for engagement rings?

Rubellite engagement ring

Stunning rubellite engagement ring by Lorraine Fine Jewelry. See it here.

Over the last few decades, tourmaline stones have become an increasingly popular choice for engagement rings. This is the case as well with rubellite, since it’s one of the most sought after and prized tourmaline varieties.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that rubellites have a hardness of 7-7.5 on Mohs’ scale, which means they’re not as hard as rubies (9 Mohs), diamonds (10 Mohs) or sapphires (9 Mohs). They’re hard enough for daily wear, but less durable than the tougher gemstones so they’ll require more maintenance and care. We wouldn’t recommend rubellites for engagement rings, but if the stone is set in a way that it’s protected (like in a halo or bezel setting), and if you’re prepared to give it periodic maintenance, it could be a good choice for you.

What does the rubellite symbolize?

These beautiful, reddish gemstones are believed to bring good emotion and positive energy to the wearer while also carrying strong, love energies. It’s said that they increase one’s feelings of positivity and bring healing and emotional balance for those who are going through personal issues or grieving. Rubellites are also believed to promote empathy and sympathy towards others and strengthen the bonds of friend, which is why it makes for a good gift between lovers or friends.

Is rubellite treated or enhanced?

Yes, rubellite gemstones, just like most other tourmaline stones, undergo treatments. A common treatmetn used on rubellite is irradiation. The process of irradiation creates stable red tones in all rubellites, including even the pale pink ones, and cannot be detected with the naked eye. It would be safe to assume that most of the red rubellites on the market are treated with irradiation. However, while the majority of the stones undergo this treatment, not all of them do.

Inclusion filling is also a popular treatment for rubellite stones. Inclusions are any materials that are trapped inside another mineral while it forms. These can be gas bubbles, fractures or minute cracks. Inclusion filling involves filling up the inclusion cavities with silicon and other compounds to make the stone look clean.

Where can I buy rubellite jewelry?

Finding the right rubellite jewelry can be quite difficult at physical jewelry stores because of the rarity of this stone. Therefore, you might want to search at specialist gemstone shops or, better yet, online. If you’re searching online, Amazon and Etsy are both excellent options since they both have a wide selection of rubellite jewelry, from antique to modern available at a wide range of prices. Before you make your purchase, however, make sure you’re dealing with a seller with a proven track record and always check for quality.

Click here to start browsing rubellite jewelry.