Complete Guide for Burma Ruby August 2, 2021 – Posted in: Jewelry Blog

If you are looking to buy Burma ruby jewelry, then you have come to the right place. Rubies are universal symbols of love and passion, so getting jewelry that features a Burma ruby is always a wonderful idea.

In this guide, we will go through everything you need to know about Burma rubies, what they look like, how much they are worth, and why they are so popular.

What is a Burma Ruby?

12 Carat Burma Ruby Ring on Finger of Model 12129
Very rare 12-carat Burma Ruby Ring from our collection. Learn more about Hillcrest Ring

Burma rubies, or Burmese rubies, are the finest sort of gem-quality rubies that you can find anywhere in the world. They contain the purest shade of red, otherwise known as “pigeon blood” or “blood-red.” Burma rubies came from the Mogok Valley in Upper Myanmar, where there’s a mine that produced 90% of the rubies in the world. 

Rubies belong to the cardinal precious gems category, which also comprises diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires. Rubies are one of the most expensive types of color gemstones on the market. The prices of pure Burma rubies can rival those of high-quality diamonds of the same carat. 

There has been a lot of debate about whether pink sapphires and rubies are the same, but according to the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), there is a clear distinction between the two. For a gemstone to be defined as a ruby, red has to be its dominant hue. In fact, the stone must be 51% red to be considered a ruby. 

It’s not uncommon for Burma rubies to go through heat treatment, so unheated Burma rubies are extremely rare. 

History of the Burma Ruby

Burma Ruby Ring on Finger

Mines that are home to different types of rubies exist all over the world – from Thailand, Brazil, and Cambodia, to Afghanistan, Colombia, and Australia. However, the finest and most expensive kinds of rubies came from the Mogok Valley, located in Upper Myanmar, formerly known as Burma (hence the name Burma or Burmese rubies.). 

Up to 90% of rubies came from Burma. Burma has not only produced abundant amounts of rubies but pearls, sapphires, and jades, as well, since the 6th century AD. That’s why the Mogok Valley is also commonly known as “the Valley of Rubies.”

The history of Burma rubies can be directly tied to the political history of Myanmar. Until the 19th century, only the Burmese people had access to these opulent mines. When Britain annexed Upper Burma at the end of the 19th century, the British were also able to take control of the ruby mines. Due to recent political issues, Burma ruby trade was not allowed in the United States until 2016. 

Unfortunately, the Burmese mines have been depleted, as gemological experts believe that the majority of ruby deposits are all mined out. Since the 1990s, the Mong Hsu area in central Myanmar has been the new primary source of rubies. Considering that Mong Hsu rubies have a less pure and intense red shade compared to genuine Burma rubies, they often go through heat treatment to increase their saturation.

Age of the Burma Ruby

Another interesting fact is that Burma rubies are actually younger than rubies that came from other parts of the world. Gemstones from Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar, Kenya, Sri Lanka, and southern India were formed, according to aging tests, from 750 to 450 million years ago. On the other hand, gems from northern India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, and Myanmar are believed, based on aging tests, to have been formed between 45 and 5 million years ago. 

No Heat vs. Heated Burmese Rubies 

Burmese Ruby Halo Ring in Estate Diamond Jewelry Box

All types of gemstones go through some sort of treatment that aims to improve their quality. Common gem treatments include bleaching, surface coating, dyeing, fracture filling, laser drilling, oil treatment, and heat treatment. 

Heat treatment refers to the process of heating gemstones to enhance their color and clarity. Gems that typically go through heat treatment include ambers, amethysts, sapphires, aquamarines, rubies, and many more precious stones. 

Rubies are exposed to high temperatures (1800° Celsius or 3300° Fahrenheit) to improve their pure red hue, as the heat removes any purple, pink, or blue secondary tones. Another reason why heat treatment is used is to minimize or completely erase the tiny needle-like inclusions inside the gem, otherwise known as “silk.” 

As mentioned before, heated rubies are so common that this process is deemed acceptable by the gem trade. In fact, finding an unheated Burma ruby can be quite the challenge. Needless to say, unheated Burmese rubies are much more valuable and expensive than those that have undergone heat treatment. 

Another interesting phenomenon is the “star effect” that occurs with rubies and sapphires. Also known as asterism, this refers to a star-like reflection on rubies that have a cabochon cut, which is another result of heat treatment. 

What Is a Pigeon Blood Burma Ruby?

11640 Buccellati Burma Ruby Gold Ring Artistic
Buccellati Burma Ruby Gold Ring from our collection

The reason rubies are so popular is because of the beautiful red color they exhibit. In fact, the word ruby means “red” in Latin. 

As with all color gemstones, out of the four Cs (color, cut, clarity, and carat), the most important factor that determines its value is its color. The finest types of rubies have a pure, intense red hue that sometimes has sight purple undertones. The reason rubies exhibit the red color in the first place is that they contain levels of chromium. The more chromium a ruby has, the stronger and more intense its red hue. 

Genuine Burma rubies contain a red color called pigeon blood, which can be described as purple-red or dark pink-red. Pigeon blood Burma rubies are some of the most valuable gemstones in the world. These types of rubies also sometimes come with a dark blue undertone, which can be canceled out with yellow gold. 

The term “pigeon blood” comes from traditional Burmese folklore. According to sources, it refers to the first two drops of blood from a killed pigeon. The color of the blood contains a red color that is considered the perfect ruby color. On the other hand, others claim that the pigeon blood refers to the center of a pigeon’s eye. 

How to Identify a Burma Ruby? 

Loose Ruby on Wood
A very rare loose Burma Ruby from our collection. Contact us for more info.

If you want to buy a Burma ruby, then it’s important to get one accompanied by a certificate. Every gemstone should come with a certificate that proves its authenticity. The certificate should also list the ruby’s weight, size, shape, origin, and other information. If the Burma ruby has gone through heat treatment, it must be stated in the document provided by your jeweler. 

Gemstone certificates are important because they prove that the gem you want to buy is natural and not synthetic. The most reliable gemological institutes that give out certificates are GIA and AJS gems. 

The most valuable Burma rubies need to have two certificates that prove their authenticity. If you choose to shop with EDJ, there is no need to worry. Each and every gemstone in our collections are 100% natural and of the highest quality. Contact us to request to view our private Burma Ruby Collection.

Why Burma Rubies Are the Best?

12935 Floral Oval Cut Ruby with Diamond Halo Ring
A Ruby Ring from our collection

It has been proven that rubies mined in Burma, the Mogok Valley to be more precise, have the highest quality out of all rubies. What makes them stand out is the intense red color, otherwise known as pigeon blood, that they exhibit. 

Another quality that makes Burma rubies the best is their high levels of fluorescence. This refers to their ability to produce ultraviolet light. This quality helps gemologists determine where rubies came from. While rubies from other parts of the world have this characteristic, only Burma rubies can display the fluorescence light during the day. 

Burmese rubies are also much harder and more durable than other types. In fact, rubies are one of the three hardest natural gems, along with diamonds and moissanite. 

How Much Do Unheated Burma Rubies Cost? 

12129 Burma Ruby Cushion Cut Prong Set Ring Artistic
Rare 12 carat Burma Ruby Ring, flaked by two diamonds. Learn more about Hillcrest Ring

Unheated Burma rubies that exhibit the famous pigeon red color count as some of the most expensive color gemstones in the world. 

Apart from not going through any heat treatment, there are several factors that can influence the price of a Burma ruby. First and foremost, the ruby needs to exhibit a rich red color that doesn’t include any secondary undertones, which is rare enough. 

The second most important price determinant is the gem’s clarity. As with diamonds and any other types of gems, the fewer inclusions it has, the higher the price. However, finding Burma rubies with little to no inclusions almost never happens. Taking this fact into consideration, even the slightest inclusion inside the gem can make a huge difference in price. 

Let’s not forget about the ruby’s carat weight. Just like with all other gemstones, rubies that have more than one carat are likely to cost much more. However, rubies that have more than one carat are extremely rare. 

To be more precise, a one-carat unheated Burma ruby can cost from $15,000 to $25,000 on average. The most expensive Burma ruby ever sold is the Sunrise Ruby, which was sold at a Swiss auction for $30 million. Not only was the Sunrise Ruby the most expensive ruby ever sold, but the most expensive gemstone as well. 

Tips for Shopping for an Unheated Burma Burmese Ruby 

There are several things you need to keep in mind when you’re shopping for an unheated Burma ruby. Since they are so rare and valuable, it’s possible to get scammed into buying a treated ruby, or a synthetic one. Here’s what you need to know: 

Look at the Color 

A jeweler examining a ruby on a ring under a jewelers loupe
Examining a ruby under a jewelers loupe

As mentioned before, the most important value-determining factor of a Burma ruby is its color. If possible, look for genuine Burma rubies that exhibit the pigeon blood color. You will know that you have found the right one if the ruby contains a pure, vibrant shade of red. Rubies that have purple or pink undertones are less expensive. 

The Cut and Proportions Are Important

The most common cuts for rubies are oval and cushion shapes. Other popular cuts for rubies include the round, triangular, emerald-cut, pear, and marquise cuts. It’s important to find a skilled jeweler who knows how to work around the inclusions, which will probably be present. It’s also possible to find rubies with cabochon cuts used for the star effect. 

Clarity 

The second most important price-determining factor is clarity. Untreated Burma rubies are bound to come with some inclusions, otherwise known as “silk” (needle-like inclusions). While you should avoid opaque-looking rubies, finding unheated Burma rubies that are 100% transparent is highly rare. 

Ask to See a Certificate 

To be doubly sure that the Burma ruby of interest is a natural gemstone, you should ask to see a certificate that proves its authenticity. This rule especially applies to Burma rubies that haven’t been through heat treatment, as they are even more valuable. 

Buy From a Reputable Jeweler 

GS597 Burma Ruby Earrings with Diamond Floral Halo
A pair of earrings from our collection. Contact us to learn more.

Last but not least, you should only purchase an unheated Burma ruby from a reputable jeweler. Here at EDJ, we offer a stunning collection of Burma rubies that are all 100% natural. If you are interested in how we do business, you can read our ethical guarantee here

How to Make a Burma Ruby Ring?

11640 Signed Buccellati Burma Heated Ruby Ring in Yellow and White Gold
Rare Buccellati Burmese Ruby Ring from our collection

In case you want to design your own custom-made Burma ruby ring, you have come to the right place. Among other things, Estate Diamond Jewelry gives you the option to make your own engagement ring. All you have to do is tell us the specifications of the Burma ruby that meets all your needs and fits your budget and we will do the rest. 

After we find the right Burma ruby, tell us what kind of style you want, along with the ring’s settings. You can schedule an appointment here. While this option might be a bit more time-consuming than ordered a ready-made ruby ring, rest assured that you’ll go home with a custom-made, 100% unique Burma ruby engagement ring. 

Famous Examples of Burma Rubies

Burma rubies have long been at the center of attention on the gemstone market. High-quality Burma rubies come at very high prices, and sometimes they can be equally as pricy as diamonds, especially those that haven’t been through any sort of treatment. Here are some of the most famous Burma rubies that have made their way into history: 

The Star of Burma 

This 83-carat Burma star ruby has the cabochon cut and a pigeon blood color. Many consider this Burma ruby to be one of the finest in the world. It has even featured a couple of Hollywood films and musicals in the 1930s and 1940s. 

The Smithsonian Burma Ruby 

This Burma ruby is one of the largest and most valuable rubies in the world. It has 23 carats and a rich red color that is almost transparent. It came from a mine in Myanmar, and it now belongs to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. 

The Sunrise Ruby 

The Sunrise Ruby is not only the world’s most expensive Burma ruby but the most expensive colored gemstone too. This pigeon blood Burma ruby has 25.59 carats. Mounted by Cartier, the Sunrise Ruby was sold for $30 million at an auction in Switzerland. 

Request EDJ Burma Ruby 

If you want to choose Burma ruby jewelry, you have come to the right place. Estate Diamond Jewelry offers a beautiful collection of Burma rubies that are sure to capture your interest. Keep in mind that the full collection is very rare, and therefore, it’s only viewable by request. 

If you are interested in buying a Burma ruby ring for your significant other, then you can come to the store and choose the one you like. You can schedule an appointment here. If you have any questions about Burma rubies, we are happy to help. 

Contact Us

Estate Diamond Jewelry Showroom Appointment with Afshin
Afshin Shaddaie in our New York Showroom with a customer

As the perfect symbol of love and passion, getting a Burma ruby for your significant other can all but guarantee you a positive answer. Diamonds are a safe choice, but a valuable color gemstone like this one tells a whole different story. After all, there is a reason why rubies have been mentioned in folklore, ancient beliefs, and even in the Bible! There is an untamed beauty to them that can’t be put into words. 

At EDJ, you are sure to find the perfect Burma ruby for your loved one. All you need to do is contact us and we will make sure you find the ruby of your dreams.

Here’s what you need to mention so that we can help you:

  1. Budget
  2. What type of Jewelry or loose ruby stone?
  3. (Optional) Size of Stone in carats or mm

PS: If you have a Burma Ruby that you want to sell, please let us know.