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: Red Sapphire
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) / Red Sapphire or Red Ruby

Is There Such a Thing as Red Sapphire?

Red Sapphire, AKA Sunset Ruby

Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as 'red sapphire', since all red corundum gemstones are referred to as 'ruby' in the gems and jewelry trade. All other other colors of corundum are referred to as sapphire. There are however, a few exceptions to the rule of red. Some exceptions can appy, such as corundum gemstones that are red-orange or pink-red. These can often be referred to as either sapphire or ruby since it is more of a judgement call. If it the stone is dominantly red with only a secondary pink or orange hue, the gemstone should be regarded as ruby.

Another exception for 'red sapphire' applies when the red color is the result of an ehancement process that involves beryllium heat treatment. If corundum is 'be-heated' through lattice diffusion, the material should be traded as simply sapphire rather than ruby, although many gem dealers came up with their own creative marketing names, such as 'sunset ruby'. Most of these treated rubies are mined from Songea, of Southwestern Tanzania, and are sometimes referred to as 'Songea sapphire'.

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  • First Published: February-20-2006
  • Last Updated: August-22-2017
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