• Rubellite Tourmaline Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

    Tourmaline, variety rubellite, 18.0 x 12.0 mm, 22.70 cts, Jos Plateau, Nigeria. ? Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.


    Rubellites are tourmalines with reasonably saturated dark pink to red colors and medium to dark tones. They make excellent jewelry stones, and ruby-red colored specimens without orange or brown overtones are highly prized.

    Rubellite Value

    Deep pinkish red to slightly purplish red are the most desirable colors. Brownish tones decrease a stone’s value considerably.

    For more information on rubellite quality factors, consult our rubellite buying guide.

    pear-cut rubellite - Nigeria

    This rubellite shows a rich red color with slightly purple tones. Portuguese pear-shaped cut, 24.0 x 12.0 x 8.0 mm, 14.75 cts, Jos Plateau, Nigeria. ? Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

    The International Gem Society (IGS) has a list of businesses offering gemstone appraisal services.

    Rubellite Information

    Data Value
    Name Rubellite
    Is a Variety of Tourmaline
    Crystallography Hexagonal
    Refractive Index 1.619-1.655
    Colors Pink to red range, often strongly purplish, orangish, or brownish.
    Luster Vitreous
    Polish Luster Vitreous
    Fracture Luster Vitreous
    Hardness 7-7.5
    Wearability Very Good
    Fracture Conchoidal, uneven
    Specific Gravity 3.01-3.06
    Birefringence 0.014-0.040
    Cleavage None
    Dispersion 0.017
    Luminescence Pink, inert to very weak red to violet.
    Luminescence Present Yes
    Luminescence Type Fluorescent
    Enhancements Radiation and heating (common for tourmalines); fracture filling (occasional). See "Enhancements" below.
    Typical Treatments Fracture/Cavity Filling, Heat Treatment, Irradiation
    Transparency Transparent to opaque
    Absorption Spectrum Red and Pink, broad band in green, lines at 458 and 451 nm.
    Phenomena Chatoyancy, color shift to peach in incandescent light.
    Birthstone October (tourmaline)
    Formula Na(Li,Al)3Al6B3Si6O27 (OH)3(OH,F), elbaite tourmaline variety. Most rubellites are of the elbaite variety.
    Pleochroism Medium pink/light pink or colorless
    Optics Uniaxial (-)
    Optic Sign Uniaxial -
    Etymology From the Latin rubellus for “reddish.”
    Inclusions Hollow tubes, needles, irregular threadlike liquid or gas inclusions, often in mesh like pattern.
    Faceted Rubellites - Madagascar and Brazil

    Tourmaline: rubellite, Madagascar (36.85), Brazil (13.16, 17.13 // 16.73, 10.26, 23.56). Photo ? Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.


    Trace amounts of manganese create rubellite’s natural pink to red color.?You may encounter light pink stones labelled as rubellites, but these are more properly considered pink tourmalines.

    rubellites - Brazil

    Two rubellites on a cluster of lepidolites (largest crystal is 2.5 cm long), Jonas Mine, Conselheiro Pena, Doce valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil. ? Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.

    Rubellites have a hardness of 7 to 7.5 and no cleavage, so, whether faceted or cabbed, they make good stones for any type of jewelry. Lapidaries can also carve them.

    rubellite jewelry and carvings

    Rubellite jewelry and carvings. Photos courtesy of Barbara Smigel, Artistic Colored Stones.

    Although the majority of Brazilian rubellites receive native cuts, custom cuts add value.

    rubellite and diamond gold ring

    Yellow gold ring with diamonds and a custom-faceted rubellite. Photo courtesy of liveauctioneers.com and Rago Arts and Auction Center.

    Identifying Characteristics

    In terms of clarity, rubellites are typically Type III gems. Thus, they almost always contain inclusions. (Needle-like inclusions can also create cat’s eye gems). Due to their scarcity and beauty, collectors and jewelry buyers value untreated, eye-clean or better rubellite gems most highly.

    In recent years, African deposits have yielded cleaner rough. However, these African finds often show brown tinges and rarely approach the ruby-like red of gems from older Brazilian sources.

    rubellite - Cruzeiro Mine, Brazil

    Rubellite, Cruzeiro Mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Photo ? Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.


    Irradiation, a now common gemstone treatment, can produce stable red tones in otherwise pale pink stones. Since this treatment is undetectable, assume all rubellites are treated, even though individual stones may not be.

    Highly included rubellites sometimes receive fillings similar to those used on emerald, another highly included gemstone.?Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) can detect this. Hot point testing can also detect this treatment. However, this is a destructive technique. It should only be used as a last resort.


    Notable sites for mining rubellite gems include Afghanistan, Brazil, Madagascar, Myanmar, Nigeria, Russia, and the United States.

    rubellite crystal - Russia

    Tourmaline, variety rubellite, on albite, 6.0 x 5.6 x 4.6 cm, Transbaikalia, Eastern Siberian Region, Russia. ? Rob Lavinsky, www.iRocks.com. Used with permission.


    Although rubellites are durable jewelry stones, avoid rough handling and use protective settings for heavily included stones. Inclusions as well as filler treatments may also make some rubellites sensitive to heat. Therefore, don’t?use mechanical cleaning processes, such as ultrasonic or steam systems. Instead, use a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water for cleaning. Otherwise, rubellite requires no special care.

    For more care recommendations, consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide.

    rubellite ring

    Custom ring with custom-cut rubellite, submitted by Chris A. and designed by Distinction Jewelry. ? Dan Stair Custom Gemstones. Used with permission.