Do you like your jewelry to have red stones in it? Red is an eye-catching color, and red gems draw attention to their wearer, whether the red gemstones come as pendants to necklaces, bracelets and earrings, or red beads weaved amongst an intricate piece of beadwork. Want to know the different types of red rocks and stones used in jewelry? Here is a list of red jewels and stones, from the most expensive to the more affordable.
Yes, there are red diamonds, but these precious red stones are extremely rare. The hardest of all stones, natural diamonds are mostly clear, but impurities give diamonds various colors, the rarest being the red rocks. There are only a very few of the red precious stones known in existence, and most of the red gemstones are quite small. Diamonds in general are the birthstones for the month of April.
Formerly called bixbite, red beryl is a species of very rare red gemstones. Like diamonds, a pure beryl is by nature colorless, but this precious stone often gets tinted by other minerals, resulting in colored beryls, including green beryl or emerald, and the precious red stones. The red rocks are found in a very few places in America, namely in the states of Utah and New Mexico. The red gems are so rare indeed it’s little wonder that the red jewels are among the most expensive of colored gems. Beryl, excluding emerald, is the birthstone for the zodiac sign Scorpio.
The name ruby comes from the Latin word rubeus, literally meaning “red.” Like sapphires, ruby hails from the mineral group conundrum, the difference being that rubies are red gemstones, the color ranging from blood red to pink. This color in the precious red stones is the single most powerful factor in determining their price. The richer the color of the red rocks is, the higher is the value of the red precious stones. What’s described as pigeon-blood red rubies accordingly command higher prices. The clarity of the red gems also contributes to their value, the clearer of the red jewels being the more expensive. Though traditionally the birthstone for the month of December and the zodiac sign Capricorn, the red gemstones were made the birthstone for July, while Hindus regard the precious red stones as the birthstone of the immediately following month, August. The red rocks are mostly found in Asia, with Myanmar, formerly Burma, having provided the biggest supply of fine rubies for centuries.
Pezzottaites are beryl like red beryl, though of a slightly different variety as other beryls due to the presence of lithium in the red stones. These red gemstones have only been recently discovered, with deposits found in Madagascar and Afghanistan. The red rocks come in raspberry red and orange red color, as well as pink.
Imperial topazes are precious topaz of colors yellow, orange, pink and pinkish red. Imperial topazes are the rarest of the varieties of topaz, and the red stones among the imperial topaz are even extremely rare. The presence of pink in topaz increases the precious stone’s value, and the red gemstones, needless to say, enjoys the most value of Imperial topazes. The red rocks are hardly ever found, however, with specimens of the red gems coming mostly from Brazil.
Spinels are gemstones of various colors, including red. The red stones were once called spinel-rubies or balas rubies. That was before the advent of modern science, when the red gemstones were erroneously identified with rubies. The red gems are still treated as substitutes for ruby to this day. The word balas, a synonym of spinel, originated from Persian Badaḵšān, a region in central Asia located in present-day Afghanistan, which for centuries was the main source of the red rocks. The red jewels have also long been found in Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
Rubelites are red tourmalines, which are hard glassy minerals. The red gemstones are from the species of tourmalines called elbaites, which also come in blue, green and colorless varieties. The color of rubellites ranges from red to pinkish red. The red stones are abundantly found in Brazil, Africa and Pakistan.
Zircons are diamond-like stones of various colors, including yellow, green and black. The red gemstones of the zircon species are specifically called hyacinth. Zircons are abundantly found over the earth’s crust, which explains their not so expensive price despite being used as substitutes for diamonds. Zircon is one of the modern birthstones for December in America, as well as the month of September among Hindus.
Along with sunstone and oligoclase, andesine belongs to a group of minerals called feldspar. Andesine is commonly available as red stones. The red rocks have only been recently discovered, and its existence is shrouded with controversy. The red gemstones are reportedly enhanced labradorites, which are feldspars of green and blue colors.
Carnelian and Sard
Carnelian and sard are varieties of chalcedony that are brownish red in color. While the red semi-precious stones are often confused, carnelian and sard are slightly different red gemstones. Carnelians are softer red rocks ranging in color from translucent orange to brownish red. Sards, on the other hand, are a bit harder semi-precious red stones that come in darker red, from deep brown-red to almost black. Though traditionally the birthstone for the month of August, in Britain carnelian is the modern birthstone for the month of July along with ruby. Carnelian is also the birthstone of the zodiac sign Virgo. See also Carnelian: Stone of Passion.
Sunstones are feldspars like oligoclase and andesine, but are distinguished by their mostly clear appearance that looks like glass with bright minerals at the center. Available in yellow, green and blue, sunstone also occurs as red stones. The color of red gemstones grows more vivid toward the middle, from which the red rocks give bright spangled appearance. The red gems are found in abundance in the US State of Oregon.
Fire opals are opals of the colors red, orange and yellow. Of the varieties of opals, the red stones are extremely rare. Most of the supply of the red gemstones comes from Mexico. Opals generally are the traditional and modern birthstones for the month of October.
The word garnet comes from the Old French grenat, “deep red,” though garnet is a gemstone that comes, not just as red gems, but in all the colors of the rainbow, alongside pink, brown, black, even colorless. The red rocks hail from several species of the garnet group, namely: almandine, pyrope, spessartine, andradite and grossular. Of these types of garnets, the most common are almandines, also called carbuncles, which are deep red stones. The red gemstones are the traditional and modern birthstone for the month of January and the zodiac sign Aquarius, although Hindus put garnet as the birthstone for Capricorn.
Often confused with sunstone is the oligoclase, or the India sunstone, which is traditionally sourced from India and Sri Lanka. Oligoclase is usually white, but also come as red stones. Unlike the translucent sunstone from Oregon, the red gemstones can be opaque.
The word cuprite comes from cuprum, the Latin word for copper, the same metal that runs inside your electrical wirings at home. This is because cuprites are among the ores that produce copper. While cuprites have a very distinctive red color, the red stones are rarely used in jewelry-making. Not to say that the red rocks are stones of too poor quality to be regarded gemstones. On the contrary, the red gems can be more brilliant than a diamond, while sporting a deep red color. The problem is, the red gemstones are soft, making the red stones unsuitable for jewelry. The red rocks come in very tiny crystals too, so the red gemstones are often too small and too soft to make into faceted gemstones.
Agate is chalcedony of variously colored bands. Red agate, as the name suggests, occur principally as red gemstones. Agate in general is the birthstone for the zodiac sign Gemini, as well as the months of May and June. Beads cut from the semi-precious red stones are widely available for beadwork. See also Agate: Stone of Prudence.
Technically another type of agate, sardonyx is a banded chalcedony made up of stripes of sard and onyx. Sard makes the red bands of sardonyx, while onyx is the white stripes on the red gemstones. The semi-precious red stones are one of the traditional birthstone for August, and still are one of the modern August birthstones in Britain. See also Sardonyx: Stone of Valor.
Fluorites, or fluorspars, are stones so bright and colorful they gave birth to the word fluorescent. Fluorites come in virtually all colors. Less common of fluorites are the red gemstones. Due to their relative softness, however, the semi-precious red stones are not widely used in jewelry.
Jasper is chalcedony like carnelians and sard, but is opaque and can be striped or banded, like sardonyx. Jasper commonly occurs as red gemstones. Along with bloodstone, the semi-precious red stones are the traditional birthstone for the month of March. See also Red Jasper: Stone of Perseverance.
Red Tiger’s Eye
Like chalcedony and citrine, tiger’s eye is a gemstone of the quartz family. Tiger’s eye ranges in color from golden to brown-red, with the semi-precious red stones mostly having gone through mild heat treatment. The red gemstones are treasured for their chatoyancy, or iridescent luster. Tiger’s eye comes mostly from South Africa and East Asia.
Looking for red gemstones?
Besides the red gemstones in our list, there are other magnificent red stones that exist, but are unsuitable for jewelry-making due to their softness. These red rocks are pyrargyrite and proustite, both red silver ores. Red coral beads are also available in the market; however, the author does not advocate anything that can potentially destroy coral reefs.
Are you looking for red gemstones to wear or make into jewelry? Ornaments with red jewels in them are great to put on. Wear them today and feel people’s eyes turn toward your striking red gems.
Featured image credit: Cut ruby by Wiener Edelstein Zentrum via Wikimedia Commons