By:
Jeffrey M. Bertman
Graduate Gemologist

Both ruby and sapphire are varieties of corundum, the second hardest mineral known to science. While the red variety of corundum is always called “ruby,” and all other colors of corundum are known as “sapphire,” some would like to know where the line is drawn between a pale ruby and a pink sapphire. These days, pink is referred to as a color other than red. In fact, the term “pink sapphire” did not appear in gemological literature until the early 20th century. Prior to that, all light-red (pink) corundums were referred to as ruby. All this corundum splitting is no more than a semantic exercise to some. From other standpoints, it is the color that’s important, not the name.

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