How much does it cost to buy Natural Burma Ruby in Bangkok, Thailand?

Another common question which always comes to us is “How much does it cost to buy a Burma ruby in Bangkok?” “ Shouldn’t it be cheaper to buy the rubies at the source in Myanmar like at Mogok or Mong Hsu instead of coming to Bangkok?” “ Why will the rubies be cheaper in Bangkok?”

All these questions are valid and I will try tackling all of them in this blog article.

So, first let us answer the questions which I have already discussed in my previous popular blog articles regarding why it is cheaper to buy rubies or other gemstones in Bangkok than in Myanmar or anywhere else in the world.  I have answered these points in this post – How to Buy Gemstones in Bangkok, Thailand?

In summary, it is the cheapest to buy rubies in Bangkok because it is still the largest, most liquid and major market in trading color gemstones.  Best way to find this out is by doing a simple search on eBay.  You will still find Thai dealers having the most stock of rubies compared to any other country.   Now this doesn’t mean the stones presented are genuine or much better than anywhere else.  However, the fact won’t change that it is still the largest market in cut polished Burmese rubies and therefore you will get the most competitive and best deal here.

How do we determine what is the correct price for any ruby? 

Like any gemstones ruby prices are determined by 4Cs – carat weight, color, clarity and cut – color by far being the most important factor and carat weight second most.   I would also like to add two more very important factors that determine ruby prices, which are a) ruby origin and b) type of treatment the ruby has gone through. You can think of ruby price criteria as 4Cs plus OT.

In this post, I will be focusing on Burmese rubies origin, which is still considered the most prized in the world due to its long history in producing very expensive and important stones.  It is still believed that Burmese rubies has the most “vibrant red” color.  Though this is true for the important stones, nowadays these high quality rubies are getting rarer & exceptionally very expensive due to reduced supply and high demand.  Burma rubies which are now traded in the market, I will consider more commercial grade, but are still priced really high as people still want a Burma ruby in their collection.

Regarding type of treatments natural rubies can have, I have already discussed this in my other very popular blog post – Natural ruby buying & treatment guide – How to buy and tell the difference between natural unheated, heated, new glass filled ruby treatment? The simple rule is – if the ruby is subject to more treatment/s, the cheaper it will become.  This is a fact for any type of ruby, Burmese origin or any other origin.

Now regarding how price is determined using the 4cs criteria details is provided below:

Color Range:  To classify color for any gemstone including rubies you have to look at three factors; hue, saturation and tone. Hue is the color range – i.e. Red, Purple, Orange, Pinkish-Red etc.  Saturation is the intensity of the hue presented in a gemstone – i.e. 100% is pure color or 0% is gray color.  Tone is how light or dark a gemstone is – i.e. Very light (closer to white range) or Very Dark (closer to black range).By definition for corundum (the family name for rubies or sapphires) to be classified as a ruby the color of the corundum has to be between medium orangey-red to purplish-red.   The dominate color needs to be red or else the corundum will be called either as an orange, or pink or purple sapphire according to GIA or other certification lab.  In terms of price, the most expensive rubies are in a very specific color range called “vivid pigeon’s blood red.”

List of most expensive to least expensive ruby hue range is listed below:

  1. Vivid Pigeon’s blood red
  2. Vivid Red
  3. Red
  4. Pinkish-Red
  5. Purplish-Red
  6. Orangish-Red

On the list above, I have listed Pinkish-Red above Purplish-Red rubies, but again this really depends on what your preference is and the location you are acquiring the ruby from.  In Asia, most people prefer the pinkish-red ruby because they find the tone for these stone to be “lighter or brighter” and they are also a more common characteristic for Burma rubies.  While in the Western hemisphere, most people prefer purplish-red ruby because they believe it reinforces the “real red” darker color of a ruby. This trait was more common in Thai Rubies.  Burmese rubies come in all colors, but the most prized are the ones above Pinkish-Red hue with combination of highest saturation (100% range) and medium color tone. The lower the saturation is and/or the more away the medium tone – i.e. towards the very light or very dark range -the cheaper ruby gets.

Carat weight:  The larger the carat weight, the more expensive the ruby will become.   Once Burma rubies start crossing 4 carat size they start becoming quite rare.

Clarity:  The more included the ruby are the cheaper it will become.  Again this depends on type of inclusions the ruby have.  Most Burmese rubies come with very fine silk inclusions which actually enhances the vibrant color of the ruby.  So, these types of inclusions are a positive if it doesn’t affect the overall look of the gemstone.  But, black crystals or surface reaching fractures or residue inside the ruby does reduce the price dramatically, so you have to take this into account.

Cut:  The more proportional, symmetrical or uniform a ruby gemstone is, the more expensive it will become.  This is actually the least important factor for a ruby because large rubies crystals are very hard to come by and usually ruby cutters try to retain the maximum weight, so they it can sell a “larger ruby.”  However, rubies which are “too flat” or “too bottom heavy” are usually sold in discount as this reduces the overall look of the gemstone.

Real Example in how much a 4 carat Burma Ruby can cost?

Below is an email which I sent a client recently for Burma Ruby options.  You will notice I have listed the 4Cs plus OT criteria within the Table format below and images are included.  As you can see from the three options there is quite a large difference in prices due to many factors which has been explained in the email below.

Email on January 22, 2014.

Finally, today I did come across a few 4 carats Burma Ruby options which might interest you.  The first two are certified by GRS (the GIA certification of color gemstones) and confirmed to be Burma ruby.   While the last ruby is guaranteed by gemstone supplier to be a Burma ruby and we can verify this with the lab if you are interested.  The first two rubies are heated with normal heat treatment (called H (a)) and have no foreign substance or chemicals inside.

While the last one even though it is the cheapest, I did notice a “big hole” or dent in the back of the ruby which is a common trait for Burma ruby, so it can retain its weight.  There was flux residue present inside the ruby which means when this ruby was heated, the treater introduced foreign substance (residue), so the substance can enter the ruby crystal to “mask” the internal inclusions of the ruby and improve overall look.  Again very common trait for Burma “heated” rubies.  This type of ruby is usually classified as H (b) treatment.

From the three Burma options I do prefer the first one (Burma Option One) in terms of overall color, cut and being more clean. This also explains why this one is more expensive.

FIRST BURMA OPTION IMAGES:

Price for Burma Option One: – 4.01 carats is US$48,000 (US$12,000 per carat)

Burma Option One Details:
Gemstone Type: Natural Burma Ruby;
Carat Weight: 4.01 Carats;
Measurements: 9.66 x 8.28 x 5.57 mm;
Shape: Oval Cut;
Cutting: Faceted brilliant/step (5);
Colour: Pinkish Red;
Clarity: Transparent (VVS);
Personal Grading: “B” (on a scale of “A” to “F”) – Comment: Amazing and Pleasant Color and Great Fire!
Origin: Burma;
Mohs Hardness: 9.0 (On a Scale of 10);
Rarity Scale: 9 (On a Scale of 10);
Treatments: Indication of Thermal Treatment  H (a) 

SECOND BURMA OPTION IMAGES:

Price for Burma Option Two: – 4.03 carats is US$40,000 (US$10,000 per carat)

Burma Option Two Details:
Gemstone Type: Natural Burma Ruby;
Carat Weight: 4.03 Carats;
Measurements: 9.74 x 7.66 x 6.02 mm;
Shape: Oval Cut;
Cutting: Faceted brilliant/step (4);
Colour: Red;
Clarity: Transparent (VS);
Personal Grading: “C” (on a scale of “A” to “F”) – Comment: Pleasant Color, very good fire, but inclusions are more visible and cut is slightly uneven!
Origin: Burma;
Mohs Hardness: 9.0 (On a Scale of 10);
Rarity Scale: 9 (On a Scale of 10);
Treatments: Indication of Thermal Treatment  H (a) 

THIRD BURMA OPTION IMAGES:

Price for Burma Option Three: – 4.03 carats is US$3,700 per carat or total price of US$14,900 for the stone.

Burma Option Three Details:
Gemstone Type: Natural Burma Ruby;
Carat Weight: 4.03 Carats;
Measurements: 10.4 x 9.2 x 5.1 mm;
Shape: Oval Cut;
Cutting: Faceted brilliant/step (4);
Colour: Pinkish Red;
Clarity: Transparent (SI);
Personal Grading: “D” (on a scale of “A” to “F”) – Comment: Amazing Color, but very noticeable inclusions
Origin: Burma;
Mohs Hardness: 9.0 (On a Scale of 10);
Rarity Scale: 8 (On a Scale of 10);
Treatments: Indication of Thermal Treatment  with flux residue H (b)

I hope the above guide is helpful and if you have any additional questions please feel free to provide your comments below or send me a message at sales@thainativegems.com.

_________
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10 thoughts on “How much does it cost to buy Natural Burma Ruby in Bangkok, Thailand?

  1. I have a 4CT red red ruby that I bought in a ring dated 1925.It is very very clear no inclusions on a light under magnifications none at all I would like to get it professnaly graded and sell It.

    1. 1st take it to a accredited jeweler for confirmation of being a natural or synthetic. yes they had Synth’s back then(glass) If you do Business with them they probably won’t charge you, as walking in unknown. After confirmation Best send to GIA a color stone grade. It can be as cheap as $75-$150 an origin report costs a little more. But if it’s Burmese or Ceylon it’s worth it. An origin report is done w/ electron microscope for know trace minerals/ is very precise.

  2. Hi sir could u give an clue how to buy natural yellow sapphire ? How to know to know if it is heated , treated & other treatments done on it ? Pls reply soon.

  3. Dear Sir,
    Is it possible to tell how much would a rough cut , pigeon blood colour ruby from Nepal Himalaya’s cost? I have a friend who has sources clamming to have one which weighs around 18.8gm. Can you give a rough guess for the cost?
    Thank you very much in advance.

  4. Sirs, I do have a purplish / red colored Ruby .Oval , 2.45 cts. VVS. Gia approved.
    One inclusion .only visible with strong loupe or Microscope.
    What will the value be.? Whole sale /retail.
    Appreciate your advise.
    thanking you.

    1. Hi Harry,

      To evaluate in how much it should be, I would require additional information like what type of treatment is has gone through (unheated or heated) and also where the ruby is originated. Finally, actually looking at the ruby is very important to see what color range it is – for example, is it more in reddish range or purplish range, is saturation vivid or lower range and finally if the tone is light or dark. All these factors will affect the value.

      Regards,

      Tarun

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