Pink Ruby Gemstones vs Pink Sapphire Gems

Updated on November 22, 2016
23.10ct Carmen Lucia Ruby
23.10ct Carmen Lucia Ruby | Source

Rubies, Sapphires, Corundum

Rubies and Sapphires are both types of Corundum. Corundum is very hard as well as quite tough. On the Moh's scale, a scale that ranks hardness of materials, Diamond, the hardest mineral on earth, ranks a 10. Corundum has a Moh's scale of 9.

Mohs Scale of Hardness Explained

The Mohs scale of hardness only measures a gemstones ability to be scratched. The scale goes from 1 to 10 with Talc being a 1 and diamond being a 10.

Another consideration when looking at the durability of a gemstone is it's toughness. Although diamond can resist scratching from just about any other gemstone it can easily be chipped if struck against a hard object.

Corundum on the other hand can withstand blows on a hard surface much better than a diamond.

Trace Elements Found in Corundum

Corundum in its purest form is a colorless gemstone. It's the added minerals that give rubies and sapphires their color. Traces of elements such as magnesium, copper, chromium, titanium, and iron all can have an effect on the corundum turning it blue, purple, green, orange, yellow, pink or in the case of the ruby, red.

Chromium, The Key to Rubies & Sapphires

Rubies and Pink Sapphires both get their color from traces of chromium that is inside the crystal. The only real difference is the amount of chromium that has taken the place of aluminum atoms in the corundum. The more chromium in the crystal structure, the more red the Corundum will become.

The Differences

Scientifically there is no difference between pink sapphire and ruby other than the amount of chromium present. The amount of chromium present in a pink sapphire is usually lower than 0.5%. The amount of chromium present in a ruby is usually higher than 0.9%. So what about the ones that fall between 0.5% and 0.9%?

Other Factors Affecting Color

Another factor that affects the color of the gemstone is the way it is cut. Depending on the orientation of the crystal when it is cut, the gem could appear different shades of purple or orange. The size of the gemstone also has a great influence on the color of the stone. Larger stones will tend to look darker than smaller ones.

Who Decides What it is Called?

To make matters even more complicated, there is also controversy between orange sapphires, purple sapphires and rubies. Each being corundum and each having a certain amount of chromium.

At what point does the Pink Sapphire become a Pink Ruby? Basically it comes down to where it was mined and if it is certified, what the certification company calls it.

If the gem is mined in a location that is known for producing rubies, chances are that the pink gemstone will be called a ruby.

Is it Pink Sapphire or Pink Ruby?

So, is it a pink sapphire or a pink ruby? It really depends on your point of view. Both ruby & sapphire are both one and the same, a beautiful gemstone made of corundum.

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