Garnet vs. Ruby: What Are the Differences?


A ruby ring with diamonds and silver.


People love gemstones, especially when it comes to their jewelry. From the use of gorgeous birthstones in memorable pieces to the specific gemstones that signify the importance of crucial anniversary milestones in relationships, they play a big part in most people’s accessory collections. That said, sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish one type of gemstone from another, especially if they’re as similar as garnets and rubies. 

Below, our artisan jewelry experts from LaCkore Couture will delve deep into the key differences between these two gemstones so that you can better distinguish them in the future. Please read on to learn more, and also consider exploring our wide selection of other jewelry resources for more information on other great fashion topics. 

Related: The Difference Between The Round Brilliant Cut And The Old European Cut

The Basics of Garnet

To start this article, let’s explore the basics everyone should understand about garnet, the January birthstone. It’s considered one of the lesser-known gemstones, and the reason many people even know about it is because the signature red color of Pyrope garnet often makes people confuse it with a ruby. However, the stone also comes in a wide array of other shades and colors, including orange and green, which are referred to as Mandarin garnets and Tsavorite garnets, respectively. Because it’s easier to find and more affordable than other gemstones and its array of unique colors, it’s often used in a wide variety of jewelry.

The Basics of Rubies

Known widely as the birthstone of July, rubies are a very popular and more expensive gemstone often incorporated into more elegant and luxurious jewelry pieces, including engagement rings! While rubies are exclusively red, they can also feature various blue and purple hues, which almost serve as secondary colors to the gem. While rubies are not the rarest of gemstones, they are difficult to find, especially if you’re looking for a natural gemstone larger than a single carat. One of the most interesting facts about rubies is that they are subject to more treatments than any other type of gem to make them suitable for use in jewelry. 

Related: Sterling Silver Vs. White Gold: Which is Right For You?

The Key Differences Between Garnet and Ruby


A necklace and two earrings featuring bright red gemstones.


Now that we’ve explored the essential information people should understand about these respective gemstones, let’s get into some of their most significant differences.

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Rarity, Value, and Price

As stated above, garnets are relatively easy to find and therefore more affordable, which is why they’re often used in less expensive jewelry pieces. Rubies, however, while not the rarest of gemstones are still much more difficult to find than garnet. Since rarity equals worth, rubies are considered much more valuable than garnet and appear in more high-end, expensive jewelry. 

Several factors contribute to the cost of both rubies and garnets, including their size, cut, clarity, purity, and color. Rubies often command the highest per-carat cost of any colored gemstone, and their price can vary significantly, ranging from as little as $100 per carat to as much as $15,000 per carat. Comparatively, garnet can vary from as little as $5 to around $5,000 per carat. 

Color and Shade

Rubies and garnet are most often known for their lovely red colors, but there are some differences between the types of red usually seen in each gem. Rubies feature a more distinguishable, deep red, while garnet red is lighter and paler. 

Rubies also only come in red- though they can feature blue or purple saturation- while garnet comes in a wide array of colors, the most common being red, orange, and green. Other less common colors of garnet include pink, purple, yellow, brown, and black. There are also color-changing garnets that can appear blue in daylight and purple or red in artificial light. 

Related: The Difference Between Moissanite Vs. Lab-Grown Diamonds

Clarity and Light

Rubies are graded based on the 4C system (color, cut, clarity, and carat), just like diamonds, and the gems usually contain inclusions that reduce their clarity under high magnification. While most garnet also features inclusions, its overall clarity depends on the variety. In the case of star garnet, inclusions also create a beautiful type of star effect (called asterism) that many jewelers and gem buyers covet, increasing its overall demand, rarity, and value.

Where They’re Mined

There are ruby mines in many countries, though most are found in Southeast Asia since it’s home to the world’s largest ruby deposits. Most of the world’s raw rubies (nearly 90%) come from Myanmar, also known as the world’s ruby capital. The final 10% generally comes from mining operations in Cambodia, Afghanistan, Shri Lanka, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Thailand. However, some mining operations are also located in other places around the world, including in the U.S. and Australia. Different types of garnet can be found worldwide, but some of the most common sources include countries like China, Scotland, South Africa, and Australia.

Final Thoughts and Considerations to Keep in Mind

large uncut red gemstone


Despite their fundamental differences in rarity, value, color, clarity, and several other key elements, garnets and rubies are gorgeous gemstones that are frequently leveraged to make all types of exceptional jewelry, from necklaces and bracelets to brooches and earrings. Our experts at LaCkore Couture hope that this guide has helped you understand the critical distinctions between these two gems while giving you a reason to appreciate the beauty of both. 

Please consider exploring our shop today to browse our wide selection of hand-crafted artisan jewelry. While our pieces might not include much in the way of gemstones, they make for fabulous and unique statement pieces that will help you showcase your inner sense of style. We’re proud to offer an assortment of beautiful gold and silver necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and more.

Explore our collection of hand-crafted jewelry at LaCkore Couture.