Red gemstones have been coveted for centuries for their rich, warm hues that exude passion, power, and glamour. From the fiery sparkle of rubies to the deep crimson glow of garnets, red gemstones have adorned the crowns of kings and the necks of queens throughout history.
These vibrant stones are a favorite among jewelry lovers for their ability to add a pop of color and drama to any outfit. But red gemstones are not just beautiful, they also carry symbolic meaning, representing love, strength, and courage.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the most popular red gemstones used in jewelry, their properties, meanings, and how to wear them.
Red Gemstones List
1. Red Diamond
Red diamonds are the rarest and most valuable of all colored diamonds. High-quality vivid red diamonds are notoriously difficult to come across and only a handful of them are known to exist. Most colored diamonds get their color due to the presence of some foreign element during their formation.
Red diamonds are a little bit different. They are made entirely of carbon with their color caused due to deformities in the crystal lattice. When light passes through, it is bent and appears red.
Most red diamonds have secondary tints and these can affect the price of the stone but the best is, of course, vivid red diamonds. Natural red diamonds cost several hundred thousand dollars per carat! A more affordable alternative is to purchase a synthetic red diamond, which is man-made variety.
Rubies are among the most valuable and sought-after colored gemstones. Natural untreated rubies are very rare and very expensive, so most of the rubies you’ll come across on the market are either synthetic or treated in some way. Most rubies are heat treated to enhance their color and make them more desirable.
Don’t worry as this is an industry standard and will be mentioned on the certificate of authenticity that comes with the stone. If you want the very best variety of ruby, choose the pigeon blood red color. These are the most vivid and beautiful yet also the most expensive.
Made of corundum, rubies are simply the red versions of sapphires. They have excellent hardness (Mohs 9) second only to diamonds and because they have no cleavage, rubies aren’t prone to breaking or chipping, making them excellent for daily wear. You can find synthetic and treated versions of rubies also, so knowing the origin of your stone is important to avoid being ripped off. Check our article on how to tell if a ruby is real for more information.
Garnets are often confused for rubies because of their vivid red hue. However, generally, garnets tend to be darker in color and tone than rubies. Garnets are not very expensive and it’s easy to find beautiful, pieces of garnet jewelry at good prices.
Garnets are often eye-clean gemstones, meaning that they don’t contain visible impurities. They often have excellent transparency. However, garnets are not very hard (Mohs 6.5 to 7) and can easily be scratched or damaged. If worn in rings, garnets should be mounted in a protective setting such as a bezel or halo to minimize damage to the piece. They are not suited for daily wear but with reasonable maintenance, can last decades.
4. Tourmaline – a.k.a. Rubellite
Tourmaline, the rainbow gemstone, comes in all colors of the rainbow, including red. The pinkish-red variety of tourmaline is known as rubellite and is a very popular color. Red tourmaline is often free of inclusions and has very high levels of clarity. They have a vitreous luster and interact beautifully with light. When used in jewelry, red tourmalines are often faceted to maximize the reflection of light.
They can be cut into the most popular gemstone shapes, such as emerald cut, marquise, pear, brilliant, and baguettes, but are often found in long shapes. Because they are tough stones, red tourmalines stand up to wear and tear fairly well. They are durable (7 to 7.5 Mohs) and can be used in all types of jewelry.
5. Red Zircon
Red zircon is a beautiful natural gemstone but because of the similarity of its name to cubic zirconia, it is often thought of as a cheap, man-made stone. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Red zircons are quite rare but are a common zircon color.
They are often in vivid reds with purple or orange secondary tints. While zircon is a beautiful gemstone for jewelry, they are not very hard (6 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale) and because of its brittleness, it can easily get damaged or chipped. Most zircons on the market are heat treated.
6. Red Agate
Red agate with a single color is quite rare and it is often found banded with layers of white or gray. Red agates that display only red color are often dyed varieties. Agate has a beautiful smooth sheen and a waxy luster, making it perfect for when cut into cabochons. It is generally translucent to opaque and of very good durability (Mohs 7). Agates can be worn in all types of gemstones with reasonable care.
Although red agate is an affordable stone, the workmanship, and settings used to make the jewelry often raises the price of the final item.
7. Red Spinel
Red spinel is one of the most popular red gemstones. In the past, red spinel was mistaken for ruby and was only identified as a stone in its own right with the rise of modern-day gemological tools. Red spinel has been the great imposter in the world of gemstones. Even the famous crown of England contained a large red spinel which at the time was thought to be a ruby.
When this was found out, this crown jewel was later nicknamed The Black Prince’s Ruby! This mistake was partly due to the fact that most red spinels are found in the same mines as rubies.
As a gemstone for jewelry, red spinel is often free of inclusions and displays high levels of clarity. They are transparent and due to the high refractive index and dispersion, are very brilliant. What’s more, red spinel is very durable (Mohs 8) and ideal for use in all types of jewelry. Red spinel is quite affordable and is not known to be treated.
8. Red Topaz
Red topaz is among the most valuable topaz colors. As with most gemstones, the deeper and more vivid the color, the more valuable the gemstone. Red topaz is an ideal gemstone for jewelry because it is durable (8 Mohs), affordable, and relatively plentiful in nature. Red topaz has a vitreous luster and is brilliant when faceted. It is often transparent and rarely contains visible inclusions.
Most red topaz is heat treated to enhance color. Red topaz can be used in all types of jewelry, from bracelets and rings to earrings and pendants.
9. Red Beryl – a.k.a. Bixbite
Not many people have heard of bixbite, but everyone knows emeralds, morganites, and aquamarines. What do these four have in common? They’re all from the same mineral family – beryl. Bixbite is the red version of beryl and is the rarest beryl gemstone. In fact, it is often considered the rarest gemstone on earth!
It is a relatively new gemstone and was only used in jewelry in the mid-20th century. It has pinkish-reddish shades and is found in small sizes, often under 1 carat. Bixbite, or red beryl, often has inclusions, much like the green gemstone emerald. Bixbite is also known by the name Red Emerald. Bixbite is mainly a collector’s item and is quite valuable.
10. Red Jasper
Jasper is a variety of quartz and can be found in many colors, with red being one of the most common. It’s an opaque gemstone that is known for the many spots and patterns that can be found on the surface. Jewelry made out of jasper is often unique and has a bohemian vibe to it.
Red Jasper is always opaque and has a vitreous luster. Most red jasper is not treated in any way, meaning that the color you see is its actual color. Jasper is used in all types of jewelry but is a relatively soft stone (6.5 to 7 Mohs) and although tough, can chip and break if dealt a tough blow. One good thing about red jasper is its affordability. Most jasper is cut into cabochons or smooth shapes, as well as carved. Because it is quite a common gemstone you can find red jasper to suit almost any budget.
11. Carnelian – a.k.a. Cornelian
Carnelian has been used in gemstones since ancient times and was highly valued in the past. While it’s not as valuable today, carnelian is still used to create beautiful pieces of jewelry. Carnelian jewelry often has a vintage charm, especially when set in beautifully tarnished sterling silver.
Carnelian is the red variety of chalcedony and is found in transparent to nearly opaque varieties. Even though it may look solid, the light will always be able to enter the stone to some degree. Carnelian has a glassy luster and can also look waxy. It is mainly cut into cabochons but may sometimes be faceted for more light reflection. It is a tough stone due to its crystalline structure and is quite durable (7 Mohs) for everyday wear.
12. Red Coral
Red coral is a variety of organic gemstones. It is found in the ocean and made from tiny marine creatures known as coral polyps. As the polyps grow, build their homes, and die, the coral reefs grow into large structures, often of many beautiful colors. Red coral is made of calcium carbonate and, like all organic gemstones, is quite a soft stone (3 to 4 Mohs).
Red coral is often translucent to opaque and is one of the most popular coral colors. The red shades are vibrant and eye-catching, making for stunning jewelry. Red coral is often shaped into cabochons, beads, or cameos. For a natural and tropical look, jewelers often try to retain the original shape of the coral when making their designs.
While red coral is naturally not lustrous when it is polished and waxed it exhibits a smooth, glossy surface. Red coral makes for great statement necklaces and rings but can also be fashioned into delicate pieces.
13. Red Rhodolite Garnet
Often confused with rhodochrosite and rhodonite, rhodolite is a rare variety of the garnet family. It is a little-known gemstone. Rhodolite is found in vibrant shades of red, often dark, and contains little to no visible impurities. Rhodolite has high brilliance and is often faceted to enhance the luster of the stone. Rhodolite is always untreated, meaning that it contains its natural color.
Although rhodolite is not very hard (6.5 to 7.5 Mohs) it is used to make all types of jewelry, even rings. They are quite tough stones and require minimal care and cleaning. This beautiful gemstone pairs well with any metal color.
14. Red Andesine – a.k.a. Andesine-Labradorite
This gemstone is a new kid on the block, only entering the market in the early 2000s as a gemstone for jewelry. There is some mystery surrounding this gemstone as no one really knows where it is mined or what it is really called. What we do know is that andesine is a plagioclase feldspar, and is found in a variety of red shades, as well as other colors. It looks very similar to sunstone.
Andesine has a hardness of 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale and has a glassy luster. It can be made into most types of jewelry, although it isn’t recommended for rings. Andesine is not very costly and is sometimes used in place of more expensive gemstones such as ruby. It is often faceted to bring out its brilliance. Most of the andesine on the market is synthetically colored, although not all vendors disclose this.
This can make shopping for andesine difficult as you never really know if you’re getting the real deal.
15. Red Tiger’s Eye
Tiger’s Eye is a type of quartz that is very affordable and easy to find. The red tiger’s eye is reddish to brownish red and is wooden and earthy in color. Tiger’s eye is often banded or has beautiful dark patterns that add character to the stone. Tiger’s eye jewelry is unique and has a bohemian touch to it.
Most red tiger’s eye is translucent to opaque and can sometimes exhibit chatoyancy which is the cat’s eye effect. Tiger’s eye may sometimes display iridescence and has a smooth, silky luster. It is good for regular use and is durable enough to be used in most types of jewelry (Mohs 6.5 to 7).
16. Red Fluorite
Red fluorite is a variety of the mineral fluorite that has a reddish hue due to the presence of impurities such as iron. It is a relatively rare gemstone and is typically found in small amounts. This gemstone is valued for its unique color and is often used in decorative objects and as a collector’s item.
In addition to its aesthetic qualities, red fluorite is believed to have healing properties and is said to promote emotional stability, clear thinking, and intuition. It is also sometimes used in alternative healing practices such as crystal therapy. Red fluorite has a hardness of 4 on the Mohs scale, which means it is relatively soft and can be easily scratched or damaged.
As a result, it is not commonly used in jewelry and is more often used for decorative objects, collector’s items, or for alternative healing practices. If red fluorite is used in jewelry, it is often in the form of pendants or earrings that are less likely to come into contact with hard surfaces or other objects.
17. Red Pezzottaite
Red pezzottaite is a rare gemstone that was first discovered in Madagascar in the 20th century. It is also known by the trade name “raspberry beryl” due to its pinkish-red color. Red pezzottaite is relatively soft, with a hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, making it similar in hardness to other beryl gemstones like emerald and aquamarine.
While it is possible to use red pezzottaite in jewelry, it is not commonly seen in commercial settings due to its rarity and high value. Instead, it is more often sought after by gemstone collectors or used by artisan jewelers to create one-of-a-kind pieces.
18. Red Oligoclase
Red oligoclase is a rare variety of the feldspar mineral oligoclase that exhibits a beautiful red coloration caused by inclusions of hematite or goethite, which are iron oxides. It is also known as red sunstone or sunstone feldspar due to its reddish color and its shimmering appearance.
Red oligoclase has a hardness of 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, making it relatively hard and durable for use in jewelry. However, it is still softer than other popular gemstones like diamonds and sapphires, so it should be worn and cared for with some caution.
Although red oligoclase is not as well-known or popular as other red gemstones like rubies or garnets, it can still be used in jewelry for those looking for a unique and distinctive piece. It’s relatively rare, so it may be harder to find and more expensive than other more common gemstones.
This mineral is composed of copper oxide with a deep red to brownish-red color. It’s a relatively soft mineral, with a hardness of 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs scale and is also quite brittle, making it difficult to cut and facet for use in jewelry.
Despite its softness, cuprite has been used in jewelry for centuries due to its rich color and unique properties. Its intense red hue makes it a popular choice for collectors and jewelry makers who appreciate its rarity and beauty. Cuprite can be found in a variety of forms, including massive formations, as well as more intricate crystal formations.
However, due to its relative softness and brittle nature, cuprite is not commonly used in commercial jewelry production. Instead, it is typically reserved for use in collector’s specimens or as a decorative stone in lapidary arts. Regardless, its distinct color and beauty make it a highly sought after gemstone by collectors and enthusiasts alike.
20. Red Malachite
Also known as red banded malachite or just red malachite, this gemstone occurs in shades of red, orange, and brown. It has a hardness of around 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs scale, which means that it’s quite soft compared to other gemstones. This means that it may not be suitable for everyday wear in jewelry, as it can easily scratch or chip. However, it can still be used in carefully designed pieces or special occasion jewelry.
Red malachite is not as commonly used in jewelry as other types of malachite, but it can still make a unique and beautiful addition to a collection. Due to its rarity, it may also be more valuable than other types of malachite.
This gemstone can be used in various types of jewelry such as pendants, earrings, and brooches. Its unique color and pattern can create a striking and distinctive look when paired with complementary stones and metals.
21. Red Obsidian
Red obsidian is a volcanic glass that’s formed when lava cools quickly and solidifies without forming crystals. It’s color is caused by the presence of iron oxide or hematite. Red obsidian is relatively soft, with a hardness of around 5-5.5 on the Mohs scale, which means it can be scratched easily.
Despite its softness, red obsidian can be used in jewelry and its unique appearance and deep red color make it a popular choice for statement pieces, particularly in necklaces and pendants. It is also sometimes used in beads and cabochons.
However, due to its softness and susceptibility to scratches and chips, care should be taken when wearing red obsidian jewelry to avoid damage. It should be stored separately from other jewelry to prevent scratches and exposure to chemicals.
22. Red Kyanite
Red kyanite is known for its deep red color and is often used as a decorative stone in jewelry making. The color of red kyanite is due to the presence of iron and chromium in its composition. It has a relatively high hardness of 6 to 7 on the Mohs scale, making it suitable for use in jewelry. However, due to its rarity, this gemstone is not a widely used gemstone in jewelry making.
When cut and polished, red kyanite can be used to create unique and stunning pieces of jewelry, such as pendants, earrings, and rings. Its striking color and crystal structure make it a popular choice among gemstone collectors and jewelry enthusiasts.
23. Red Zoisite
This gemstone is also known as “ruby zoisite” due to its vivid red color and dark green matrix. Red zoisite is soft, with a hardness of 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, making it more susceptible to scratches and damage compared to other popular gemstones.
Although red zoisite is not as durable as some other gemstones, it is still a popular choice for jewelry due to its unique coloration and patterns. It can be cut into various shapes and sizes to create stunning pieces of jewelry, including rings, pendants, and earrings.
Red zoisite is not as widely available as some other gemstones, which makes it even more sought-after by collectors and jewelry enthusiasts. It is commonly found in Tanzania, where it was first discovered in the 1950s. With its striking red hue and interesting matrix patterns, red zoisite is a beautiful and distinctive gemstone that can add a touch of color and intrigue to any piece of jewelry.
24. Red Moss Agate
Red moss agate is a type of chalcedony, characterized by the presence of moss-like inclusions that create unique patterns within the stone. It is usually found in shades of red, pink, and green, with the red variety being the most sought after.
Red moss agate has a hardness rating of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale, making it durable enough for use in jewelry. It is often used for pendants, necklaces, and earrings.
Red moss agate is often confused with red agate, but the two stones are different. While red agate has a more uniform and solid color, red moss agate features unique patterns and inclusions that resemble moss or ferns. The inclusions in red moss agate are formed by iron and manganese oxides and are often in the shape of dendrites, creating a stunning natural design.
25. Red Chalcedony
Red chalcedony is a type of cryptocrystalline quartz that has a deep red or reddish-brown color. It is a hard mineral, with a Mohs hardness of 6.5-7 and is suitable for use in jewelry. Red chalcedony is found in many parts of the world, including Brazil, Madagascar, and the United States.
This gemstone is often used in beadwork and cabochon jewelry, as well as in carvings and other decorative objects. It is a popular gemstone for rings, pendants, and earrings, and can be found in a variety of settings, including gold, silver, and platinum.
One of the key benefits of red chalcedony is its healing properties. It is believed to promote inner peace, emotional stability, and mental clarity, and is often used in meditation and energy healing practices. In addition, red chalcedony is said to have a grounding and calming effect, making it a popular choice for those seeking a sense of balance and stability in their lives.
Which Red Gemstone Should I Choose?
For Engagement Rings
There are several red gemstones that could be suitable for an engagement ring, each with their own unique qualities and characteristics. Here are some of the most popular options:
- Ruby: This is a classic choice for an engagement ring and is known for its rich, vibrant red color. Rubies are also one of the hardest gemstones, making them a durable and long-lasting choice.
- Garnet: Garnets come in a range of red shades, from deep crimson to lighter, pinker hues. They are a more affordable option than rubies but still offer a high level of durability and beauty.
- Spinel: Spinel is a lesser-known gemstone but has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its stunning color and brilliance. Red spinels can range from pinkish-red to deep burgundy and have a hardness similar to that of a ruby.
- Tourmaline: While tourmalines are typically known for their green and blue colors, they also come in shades of red. These gemstones have a unique, multi-colored appearance due to their complex chemical makeup.
Finally, the choice of which red gemstone to use in an engagement ring will come down to personal preference and budget. It’s important to consider factors such as durability, color, and rarity when making your decision.
For Costume and Fashion Jewelry
When it comes to costume and fashion jewelry, there are several red gemstones that can be great options due to their affordability, availability, and versatility. Here are some of the most popular choices:
- Red Agate: Agate is a popular choice for costume jewelry due to its affordability and availability in a wide range of colors, including shades of red. Red agate is often used as a substitute for more expensive gemstones such as rubies.
- Red Jasper: Jasper is another affordable gemstone that comes in a range of colors, including red. Red jasper has a warm, earthy tone and is often used in bohemian or natural-themed jewelry.
- Red Coral: While technically not a gemstone, red coral is a popular choice for fashion jewelry due to its vibrant color and organic texture. It’s often used in statement pieces such as chunky necklaces and bracelets.
- Red Glass: Glass is an inexpensive material that can be colored to mimic the appearance of more expensive gemstones such as rubies and garnets. Red glass is a popular choice for vintage-style costume jewelry.
Ultimately, the choice of which red gemstone to use in costume and fashion jewelry will depend on the desired look and budget. Agate, jasper, and glass are all affordable options that can be used to create a wide range of styles, while coral offers a more unique and organic texture.
Soft Red Gemstones
Soft red gemstones are those that have a gentle, subtle hue and are often less saturated than their brighter red counterparts. These gemstones can be a great choice for certain types of jewelry due to their delicate and understated nature. Here are some examples of jewelry pieces that can incorporate soft red gemstones:
- Earrings: Soft red gemstones such as pink tourmaline, rose quartz, or rhodochrosite can make beautiful and understated earrings. They can add a touch of color without overwhelming the wearer’s features.
- Necklaces: Soft red gemstones can also be used to create delicate and feminine necklaces. A necklace with a pink sapphire or morganite can be a stunning and romantic piece of jewelry.
- Bracelets: Soft red gemstones like carnelian or red agate can be used to create simple yet stylish beaded bracelets. They can add a touch of warmth to any outfit.
Soft gemstones are typically those that rank below 7 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. They are generally less durable than harder gemstones and may require more care and attention. Soft red gemstones may include pink tourmaline, rose quartz, rhodochrosite, carnelian, red agate, and some types of garnets. While they may not be as durable as harder gemstones, soft red gemstones can still be used to create beautiful and unique jewelry pieces.
What Metals Pair Well with Red Gemstones?
Red gemstones are often paired with metals that complement their vibrant and fiery hues. Here are some popular choices:
- Yellow gold: The warm tones of yellow gold complement the warmth of red gemstones.
- Rose gold: The pinkish hue of rose gold adds a soft and feminine touch to the boldness of red gemstones.
- White gold: The cool tones of white gold create a contemporary and sleek look with red gemstones.
- Platinum: The neutral tone of platinum pairs well with any gemstone, including red ones, and offers a high level of durability and longevity.
- Sterling silver: The cool tones of sterling silver can enhance the rich color of red gemstones and create a modern and edgy look.
Ultimately, the choice of metal for red gemstones depends on personal preference and the desired aesthetic. Some people may prefer a classic look with yellow gold, while others may opt for a more modern feel with white gold or platinum.
Red Gemstones and Skin Tone
Red gemstones can add a bold and vibrant look to any jewelry piece. When it comes to pairing red gemstones with different skin tones, it’s important to consider the undertones in both the gemstone and the skin. Warm-toned red gemstones, such as rubies and garnets, look great on people with warm or olive skin tones.
On the other hand, cool-toned red gemstones, such as spinel and tourmaline, can complement those with cooler or pinker skin tones. However, it’s not just about the color of the gemstone and skin tone. It’s also important to consider the intensity of the red. Deep red gemstones such as rubies and garnets can create a striking contrast against fair skin, while lighter shades of red can complement those with darker skin tones.
Ultimately, the best way to determine if a red gemstone will look good on a specific skin tone is to try it on and see how it looks in person. Everyone has their own unique style and preferences, and it’s important to choose a gemstone and metal combination that makes you feel confident and beautiful.
Where to Shop
Red is a highly popular color for gemstones and there will be lots of options available to you whether you shop online or at a brick-and-mortar store. However, taking your search online will give you more options to find even the most uncommon varieties of red gemstones.
- Amazon: Customers can find a variety of red gemstone jewelry on Amazon, such as rings, necklaces, and earrings, made from different metals and in various styles. With a large selection of options and price ranges, Amazon is a convenient option for those looking to purchase red gemstones or jewelry online.
- James Allen: For gemstone jewelry, check out James Allen. Their gemstones can be purchased loose or set into custom-designed engagement rings, wedding bands, and other jewelry pieces.
- Etsy: This online marketplace offers a vast selection of unique and handmade items, including red gemstones and jewelry. With numerous independent sellers, buyers can find a wide variety of red gemstones at different price points and styles.
- Blue Nile: A well-known online jewelry retailer, Blue Nile has a wide range of jewelry pieces such as rings, necklaces, and earrings that feature red gemstones. Additionally, Blue Nile has a team of GIA-trained gemologists who can provide expert guidance on selecting the right red gemstone based on the customer’s preferences and budget.
- Angara Jewelers: Angara is an online retailer that specializes in high-quality gemstone jewelry. They offer a wide selection of red gemstones, including rubies, garnets, and tourmalines, in a variety of cuts and sizes.
Remember to always shop at a reputable and licensed jeweler and check the origin of the stone before you purchase. Ask about what treatments, if any, have been conducted on the stone, and where applicable, request a certificate of authenticity. Always take some time to check the genuineness and value of the item, especially if investing in an expensive red gemstone.
FAQs about Red Gemstones
What does red stone in jewelry mean?
Red stones in jewelry are often associated with passion, love, energy, and strength, and can symbolize both romantic and protective qualities.
What is the red gemstone in the Bible?
The Bible mentions several red gemstones, including carnelian, ruby, and sardius, which are associated with power, wealth, and virtue.
What kind of rock is red?
Red rocks can be sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic. Examples include sandstone, granite, basalt, and red shale.
What are Native American red gemstones?
Native American red gemstones include red coral, red jasper, pipestone, and bloodstone, which have been used in jewelry and spiritual practices.
Red gemstones are often associated with passion, love, and power, making them a perfect choice for engagement rings or statement pieces. Whether you prefer the fiery glow of a red garnet or the deep hue of a red spinel, there is no denying the beauty and allure of these stunning gemstones.
So, whether you’re shopping for a special occasion or just looking to add some sparkle to your collection, consider adding a red gemstone to your jewelry box.