26 Types of Red Gemstones in Jewelry
Red gemstones are one of the most popular options for jewelry. The colour is striking, moody, and romantic, making it a favourite option for many. Along with well-known red gems, some lesser-known red gemstones are also excellent options for jewelry. As a result, fans of red stones can easily be spoiled for choice, even if they’re on a budget.
As with other stone colours, red gems are often associated with a variety of intriguing meanings and benefits. Here’s an in-depth look at red stones, including details about 26 types of red gemstones found in jewelry.
Red Gemstones Meaning
While every red gemstone typically has its own unique meaning, there are some commonalities among many of the stones. Red is a colour that’s often associated with love and romance. There’s also a cojaspernnection to life, vitality, energy, and warmth.
In many cases, red gems are also associated with prosperity. They’re considered a symbol of good luck and good fortune, as well as harmonious relationships, particularly of the romantic variety.
Red Crystal Benefits
Overall, many people believe that red gemstones assist with matters of the heart, especially when it comes to forging strong romantic connections. Red crystals are also associated with confidence and empowerment, which some say aid in interpersonal matters.
The connection to energy also leads many to think that red gemstones are revitalizing, counteracting any sense of sluggishness or fatigue. The association with luck causes some to feel that red gems promote a positive mindset, allowing them to overcome challenges easily.
Finally, red gems are typically associated with the root chakra. As a result, many feel these stones can be grounding or provide a sense of security and stability, as well as inner strength.
Frequently Asked Questions About Red Gemstones:
Which Red Gemstones Are Ideal for Everyday Wear?
When you’re looking for gemstones that work well for everyday wear, you generally need gems that rate 6.5 or higher on the Mohs hardness scale. Those stones are typically durable enough to resist scratching, chipping, or breaking under most circumstances, such as knocking them against a countertop by mistake.
Several red gemstones are ideal for everyday wear since they’re consistently tougher stones. Some of the most popular options include:
- Red Diamond
- Red Jasper
- Red Spinel
What Is the Rarest Red Gem?
There are several red gemstones that are known for their rarity. Painite is potentially the rarest red gemstone, particularly if you’re talking about specimens suitable for faceting. Until 2001, only three painite crystals were ever discovered. While more than a thousand have now been found in the area where they were first located – in Myanmar – the vast majority isn’t facetable, as the stones tend to be fractured and riddled with inclusions.
Red diamond is also exceedingly rare. Overall, around 20 to 30 genuine red diamonds are known to exist, and they’re typically quite small.
Red beryl, also known as bixbite, is similarly one of the rarest red gemstones. It’s only found in the Wah Wah Mountains in Utah and small portions of New Mexico, and the majority of specimens end up in collections, not jewelry.
Similarly, alexandrite is a rare stone that exhibits a deep red hue in specific lighting conditions, though it’s nowhere near as rare as painite since gem-quality stones were discovered in Brazil.
What Are the Most Famous Red Gemstones?
Many gemstones have gained some renown over the years, and a few red gems have become stones of legend. Some are known due to the records they hold. Others are recognized for their uncommon size or exceptional quality. In some cases, associations with royalty or a theft play a role.
Here is a list of the most famous red gemstones:
- The Sunrise Ruby
- The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby
- The Moussaieff Red Diamond
- The DeLong Star Ruby
- The Graff Ruby
- The Samarian Spinel
What Are the Different Red Birthstones?
Red birthstones are incredibly common, particularly if you include traditional and modern birthstones for the various months.
Plus, some birthstones include gems that come in a variety of colors. While red may not be the most widely used color for some birthstones, it nonetheless qualifies it.
Here is a list of different birthstones that come in red:
List of Red Gemstones - Names, Facts & Usage
Alexandrite is one of the most well-known gemstones that features colour-shifting qualities. Often associated with the phrase, “emerald by day, ruby by night,” alexandrite can appear red under specific lighting conditions, such as candlelight. However, in sunlight, it’s typically a bluish-green.
Overall, genuine alexandrite is rare. Originally found in Russia, that resource was functionally mined out years ago. However, alexandrite was discovered in Brazil, which helps maintain a limited supply.
Cuprite is an oxide mineral that contains copper, giving it a reddish hue. The name is actually derived from “cuprum,” which is “copper” in Latin. Typically, cuprite crystals are transparent or translucent, and the luster has a metallic quality. When it comes to the exact coloring, it can range from bright red to reddish black or brown, and some specimens even appear dark gray.
Overall, cuprite rarely makes its way into jewelry since it’s a bit soft. However, there are designers that choose to work with the stone in this capacity, so pieces are potentially available.
Fire opal is an opal variety that has a deep reddish-orange base hue and iridescent flashes commonly known as opalescence. The flashes are usually in shades of yellow, orange, and blue with Mexican fire opals, though Ethiopian opals may also have flickers or violet or lime green. Typically, the stones are translucent or transparent, which makes the stone seem to glow from within.
While stones in the garnet group come in several colors, the red garnet varieties are the best known. Pyrope, almandine, and rhodolite garnet are all red-hued garnets, with the exact coloring of each one varying slightly from the others.
Garnets are popular since they’re a January birthstone. Additionally, they’re highly durable, usually scoring between a 7.4 and 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, making them suitable for everyday wear. Plus, they aren’t overly rare, which makes them reasonably affordable.
Aventurine is a type of chalcedony, and it’s most commonly green. However, there are red varieties that exhibit aventurescence, a shimmery or glittery quality not found in many other stones.
Generally, red aventurine is semi-translucent or translucent, and it rates around a 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. The exact shade can vary from a deeper burgundy hue to a lighter, rosy color, and some mottling with both present – along with areas of white – isn’t uncommon in larger specimens.
Agate comes in a variety of colors, including various shades of red. It’s a translucent form of chalcedony and often features intriguing banding. One of the most well-known red varieties is fire agate, which can have iridescent qualities.
Overall, agate is a very common stone, so it does make its way into affordable jewelry. However, it’s also popular to dye agate to enhance or change its coloring, so be mindful of overly brilliant hues.
Red andesine is a silicate mineral that’s part of the feldspar group that can exhibit pleochroism. Typically, it can shift from red to green, depending on the lighting. Comparatively speaking, it’s an incredibly new discovery, with most believing the first specimen wasn’t found until the early 2000s.
There are also issues with finding genuine andesine, as some pieces marketed as red andesine are actually color-enhanced labradorite. Additionally, authentic andesine can go through color-enhancing treatments, which aren’t always clearly declared.
Red Beryl (Bixbite)
Red beryl – which is also known as bixbite – is one of the rarest gemstones on the planet. Manganese gives the gems their characteristic rosy red hue, and the only known deposits are located in Utah and parts of New Mexico. Due to its rarity, it can cost as much as $10,000 per carat. Additionally, it’s more commonly treated as a collector’s stone, though some specimens do end up in jewelry.
Benitoite is a titanium cyclosilicate that’s traditionally blue with white segments. However, it can also be colorless or slightly pink. Plus, some benitoite gemstones can fluoresce red, potentially quite brightly. Often, that red hue is in striking contrast to the base color, making this stone particularly intriguing.
Calcite is another gemstone that comes in multiple colors, including red. It’s typically translucent, and the hue can range from vibrant red to a slightly orange shade, as well as deeper hues like rust or maroon. In many pieces, there’s even some variance in the coloring, making them visually intriguing.
Red calcite isn’t widely used in jewelry, instead functioning as more of a collector’s stone or a gem for spiritual practices. However, raw crystals do appear in pendants, and the gemstone is turned into beads at times, giving you some wearable options.
Also known as precious coral, red coral is an organic gemstone that comes in shades of pink and red. The coloring occurs due to a mix of proteins and carotenoids, the latter of which is a class of fat-soluble pigments.
Initially, people believed that coral was a plant, not an animal. Due to the devastation of many coral reefs, harvesting, buying, and trading coral is illegal in many areas. Additionally, since it’s an animal, many people have ethical concerns about buying or owning genuine coral jewelry. As a result, reproductions are widely used in place of authentic coral.
While diamonds aren’t inherently uncommon, the red variety is exceptionally rare. Estimates suggest that no more than 30 red diamonds are known to exist, making red the rarest diamond color overall.
Typically, diamonds are pure carbon, so it usually takes impurities to cause different colors, of which there are many on the market. However, red diamonds don’t necessarily include impurities. Instead, alterations in the structure at the atomic level create the hue as they alter how light passes through the stone.
Also known as fluorspar, fluorite is a fluorine and calcium mineral that commonly forms as crystals. Typically, pure fluorite is colorless, but impurities can lead to a range of colors, with red being one of the rarer varieties. In most cases, red fluorite is treated as a collector’s stone, though some smaller crystals occasionally make their way into jewelry.
When people think of hematite, they usually envision a metallic gray color, not unlike the element mercury. However, hematite also comes in an earthy or rusty red color due to the presence of iron. In fact, fine-grain hematite is one of the reasons that Mars is red.
When used in jewelry, you’ll usually find red hematite contained in quartz crystals. However, red hematite is less popular in jewelry than its gray counterpart, so keep that in mind.
Jasper is an opaque chalcedony stone that comes in many colors, including red. Blood jasper is one variety that features a deep reddish-black base with distinct white veining. Mookaite jasper can come in blood-red shades and has ribbons or mauve, cream, and tan. Poppy jasper usually has red and yellow sections and may feature white, black, or brown spots.
Kornerupine is a pleochroic gemstone that features iron in its composition, which can also exhibit chatoyancy. It’s more commonly known for its greenish coloring, but there are also brownish-red versions that are pretty striking.
Due to its transparency, it’s often faceted to make the most of its features. However, some become cabochons to highlight any chatoyancy.
Rhodonite got its name from “rhodos,” a Greek word that means “rose.” This manganese silica mineral usually features dark brown or black veining, and it’s one of the only red gemstones that can feature color banding.
Rhodonite can also exhibit chatoyancy or pleochroism, though those don’t occur in every specimen. Since it rates between a 5.5 and 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, it’s suitable for occasional wear but is best suited to low-contact jewelry like pendants or earrings.
Sardonyx is technically a combination stone featuring both sard and onyx in the mix. When it’s red, it’s mainly because the sard is a reddish hue. However, the coloring can vary from brown to earthy orange, so there is more than just the red variety.
With the onyx, you typically see white or cream banding, though some may feature black bands instead. Typically, sardonyx is translucent or semi-translucent, giving it a bit of a glow, regardless of the colors involved.
An oxide mineral featuring magnesium, zinc, and iron, red spinel occurs due to the presence of those impurities. Initially, red spinel was mistaken for ruby, as it has similar coloring, transparency, and clarity. One historical example of such a misstep is the Black Prince’s Ruby in the United Kingdom’s Imperial State Crown, as the stone is actually red spinel.
Red spinel comes from several parts of the world, so it isn’t exceptionally rare. However, gem-quality stones largely originate from Burma, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka.
Red sunstone is a striking gem that’s known for its aventurescence, a metallic glittery quality most commonly associated with aventurine. Due to the presence of copper, pyrite, hematite, or goethite inclusions, it can sparkle in the light. Since the base color tends to range from orange to red, it creates sun-like hues.
In years past, sunstone was associated with various sun gods. Additionally, Vikings once used the polarizing qualities of the stone to assist with navigation when traveling the seas.
Red Tiger's Eye
When people think of tiger’s eye, the yellow variety is typically what comes to mind first. However, there’s also red tiger’s eye, offering up a ruddy brown red or earthy shade that’s incredibly striking. Red tiger’s eye also features chatoyancy, so it’s most commonly turned into beads or cabochons to highlight the effect.
However, most red tiger’s eye doesn’t naturally occur in that color. Instead, the stones are typically dyed to get that hue. As a result, natural red tiger’s eye is often rarer than most people expect based on the broad availability of dyed versions in the market.
Topaz comes in a variety of colors, including a red variety that’s usually in deep burgundy territory. Red topaz is one of the rarest varieties, particularly Imperial Topaz, which can have a slight, pinkish red tint. Topaz is one of the November gemstones, though typically, the yellow variety is used in that context.
Additionally, since red topaz is rare and topaz can be colorless, some red topaz on the market isn’t naturally that color. As a result, it’s wise to exercise caution when buying, particularly if the price doesn’t seem to line up with the rarity or a seller can’t prove the authenticity of the stone’s coloring.
Vesuvianite is a calcium aluminum silicate mineral that’s translucent to transparent. As with many stones, it comes in a variety of colors, with red being one of the rarer varieties. Generally, the color is incredibly rich when you’re dealing with red vesuvianite, not overly unlike what you may find with garnets.
Since vesuvianite is usually a 6 to 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, it’s potentially suitable for jewelry. However, green stones are more widely available than red, though some designers may use red vesuvianite when a particularly striking specimen ends up in their hands.
Red zircon tends to have an earthier hue, as there are usually tinges of yellow or brown in the coloring. Generally, red zircon is one of the more valuable varieties, along with blue and green.
The stone is often connected to Greek and Roman mythology. Some associate it with Venus, connecting it to love and beauty. Others relate it to the tale of Apollo and Hyacinthus, as red zircon was once known as hyacinth, though that name fell out of favor.
Rubellite tourmaline comes in a few shades, ranging from pinkish or purplish reds to deep red. The red hues are due to the presence of manganese. Often, rubellite exhibits pleochroism, causing the color to shift depending on the viewing angle and lighting conditions.
At times, the coloring of rubellite leads some to mistake the red tourmaline stones for rubies. One well-known example of such an error includes “Caesar’s Ruby,” a stone given to Catherine the Great that was thought to be a ruby but is actually rubellite red tourmaline.
When it comes to red gemstones, ruby is likely the first one that comes to most people’s minds. It’s a red variety of corundum, and it gets its coloring and red fluorescence due to the presence of chromium.
Ruby is one of the four precious gemstones, a list that also includes diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds. It comes in at a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, so it’s suitable for everyday wear. It’s also a July birthstone, which lends to its popularity.
Over the centuries, fine rubies have been highly popular gemstones. They’ve adorned royal crowns and weapons, and some were even associated with prophecies. Today, they remain primarily ornamental and collector’s stones, depending on their quality and size.