Though both rubies and garnets are beautiful red stones, you really don’t want to confuse the two. Specifically, you don’t want to pay for a ruby and wear a garnet. At a brief glance, they look very similar. However, rubies are considered one of the most valuable gemstones whereas garnets are, well, not. Rubies are harder, a much more brilliant red, and much more expensive.
Consider these tips when examining your red gemstones:
Examine the color closely. If the stone has hints of orange or other earthy tones — other than red — it’s likely a garnet. Rubies are considered best with a vivid redness, but sometimes they have purplish or bluish secondary hues.
Another way to determine if your stone is a ruby or a garnet is to examine the spectrum. To do this, hold your stone up to a bright light source and move it around until the stone creates a rainbow. Now, look at the rainbow, or spectrum, and if there are yellow and green bands, then your stone is likely not a ruby. Due to nature of rubies, they absorb greens and yellow in the color spectrum, so they would not appear in this test. Garnets, however, reflect small bands of yellow and green.
3. The Jeweler
Finally, if you are still unsure if your stone is a ruby or garnet, take it to your jeweler to be expertly examined.