Although the Ruby is probably the most famous kind of red gemstone, there are actually a few kinds of red semi precious stones to choose from that won’t completely empty your wallet. We’ve outlined some of the more popular choices as well as a couple of more exotic ones for more avid gemstone enthusiasts.
The Pyrope Garnet is the best known variety of Garnet, and is a great, deep red color that is very attractive. The name Pyrope comes from the Greek for ‘Fiery Eyes’. The name is appropriate given the fire and brilliance exhibited by this gemstone. Pyrope Garnets are often clean gemstones that are free of flaws, and the colors are usually a tad lighter than that of the closely related Almandine Garnet. The gemstone is reasonably hard, and this combined with its attractiveness and inexpensiveness makes it a very common jewelry gemstone for all styles of jewelry. It is also popular in bead or cabochon form for jewelry craft hobbyists. If you’re looking for a red gemstone that looks great, is durable, and won’t break the bank, the Pyrope Garnet should probably be your top choice.
This gemstone is the red/orange form of the Opal, and is known for its bright and vivid colors. Fire Opals generally range from yellow to orange-red in color, and unlike other Opals, are not known for their shimmering color play effect (although it can still occur). Generally speaking, darker orange and red colors of Fire Opal are more highly valued. Fire Opal lacks the hardness that some other gemstones have, and as such should be worn in pendants and earrings rather than rings (which suffer from more wear and tear). While most Opals are translucent and cloudy, Fire Opals can sometimes exhibit quite good transparency. Since Opals have high water content, all Opals, including Fire Opals, should be protected from exposure to high heat and strong light – this can help avoid the Opal drying up and possibly cracking. The main source of Fire Opals is Mexico, and gemstones from there are often called Mexican Fire Opals. Since Fire Opal is quite moderately priced and is a very distinct kind of red gemstone, it can serve well as a unique gift for special occasions.
Carnelian is the red (or orange) variety of Chalcedony Quartz, and can be found as either a banded or a solid colored stone. Historically, Carnelian was a popular gemstone, but in recent times its use has become less prevalent. Carnelian is commonly translucent, but more opaque varieties can be found (although fully opaque stones would be considered Jasper). The name Carnelian is said to be derived from Cornel Cherries, which share similar colors to the stone. Carnelian can be difficult to distinguish from Sard, but it is generally accepted that a stone is Sard when it is darker and more brown and is Carnelian when it is redder. This gemstone has a long history of use, and was highly prized by nobility in some ancient civilizations. Thanks to its excellent hardness, Carnelian is very suitable for decorative use and is also very affordable, and as such can often be found in pendants, bracelets, and other kinds of jewelry. Because it is so inexpensive, it is also a popular choice for jewelry making hobbyists, and can be easily found as both cabochons and beads. Carnelian is also the Zodiac stone for Virgos. If you’re looking for a more subtle, inexpensive red gemstone choice, Carnelian is an excellent option.
Almandines are the most prevalent kind of Garnet and it is popular in both the gemstone trade and for use in jewelry. Although the mineral itself is quite common, gemstone quality Almandine is actually somewhat rare, and the majority of Almandine mined is used for industrial purposes unrelated to gemstones and jewelry. Almandine can come in colors ranging from dark brown to indigo red, and is popular among jewelers thanks to its hardness. The Almandine Garnet can be difficult to distinguish from its close relative Pyrope, but it is usually darker in color. Owing to its good hardness, Almandine is suitable for use in all types of jewelry, it and is both a widely popular and very affordable choice of red gemstone. Also, Garnets in general are a birthstone for January, so that can be taken into account when considering the purchase of Almandine Garnets.
Ruby Spinel is so called due to its resemblance to Ruby, and until the modern era, the two gemstones were indistinguishable – in fact, many famous older Rubies have been discovered to actually be Ruby Spinels. Even one of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, which was thought to have been a Ruby, turned out to in fact be a Ruby Spinel. Good quality Ruby Spinel is actually more rare than conventional Ruby, but is slightly less expensive due to the prominence of the latter gemstone. As such, gemstone collectors and experts often consider Ruby Spinel to be undervalued, and it is more commonly seen as a collectors item rather than a jewelry gemstone. Colorwise, Ruby Spinel is often slightly darker and browner than Ruby, but generally only experts can really distinguish between these two rare gemstones. Deeper and more brilliant colors of red in this gemstone are considered more valuable, and as the color ventures into pink the value decreases. It’s also worth noting that much of the Spinel available on the market is synthetic, and buyers should be sure to get certification before purchasing Spinel of any kind.
Red Beryl is the red variety of Beryl, the family that the Emerald, Aquamarine, and Morganite gemstones all fall into. Red Beryl is actually the rarest form of Beryl, more so than some if its more well known cousins like the Emerald. Red Beryl was originally named Bixbite, and was named after mineralogist Maynard Bixby, but due to confusion with another similarly name mineral (Bixbyite, also named after Bixby), the name is no longer widely accepted and the more common name today is Red Beryl. The only known source of this red gemstone is Utah, and it comes in a range of intense red colors. Red Beryl is extremely rare and highly sought after, and it is recommended that buyers get confirmation of authenticity via certification from a gemological lab before deciding to purchase any amount of Red Beryl.
What’s the best Red Gemstone?
Red Gemstones are somewhat less abundant than some other colors like Blue or Green, and this can make choosing the right Gemstone even more difficult. While we won’t say that any one of the Gemstones above is the best, we believe we’ve covered a wide range of styles and prices so that you can find the perfect red gemstone for yourself or your loved one.
If you think there’s a red gemstone that we missed, please let us know in the comments!