Tanzanian Ruby

Tanzanian Ruby is a beautiful, rare, red gemstone from a deposit near the Tanzanian town of Songea. Tanzanian Ruby is far rarer than Diamonds, displaying intense bright reds that embody the color of love, passion and romance.

Hardness 9
Refractive Index 1.762 - 1.778
Relative Density 3.97 - 4.05
Enhancement Heat


Named from the Latin ‘ruber’ (red), Ruby’s beautiful crimson hues embody the color of love, passion and romance. Ruby remains highly coveted and one of the world’s most expensive gemstones.

Also known as Songea Ruby, Tanzanian Ruby displays intense bright reds with a medium tone and saturation that are the marketplace ideal. Transparency and inclusions affect Ruby’s color and subsequent beauty, making experienced lapidary that negates color unevenness due to zoning (location of color in the crystal versus how the gem is faceted) and excessive windowing (areas of washed out color in a table-up gem, often due to a shallow pavilion) absolutely critical.

While a gemstone’s colors should ideally remain beautiful in any light source, Tanzanian Ruby looks best when viewed in natural light or under incandescent lights. While Rubies can display a strong glowing electric red fluorescence in natural light, Thai, Cambodian, Tanzanian and Thai Rubies lack strong fluorescence due to their high iron content.

The birthstone for July, Ruby is a truly mesmerizing gemstone with a rich history, potent symbolism, and a popularity spanning over 2,500 years. Ruby and Sapphire are color varieties of the mineral Corundum (crystalline aluminum oxide), which derives its name from the Sanskrit word for Rubies and Sapphires, ‘kuruvinda’. Trace amounts of elements such as chromium, iron and titanium as well as color centers are responsible for producing Corundum’s rainbow of colors.


Tanzania is located alongside the mineral-rich fields and mountains of Mozambique and Zambia in Eastern Africa. Corundum (Ruby and Sapphire) deposits were discovered in Southern Tanzania in the early 1990s. Far rarer than Diamonds, Tanzanian Ruby is from a deposit discovered in 1992 located 60 kilometers west of Songea town in Tanzania’s Ruvuma Region. The population soon swelled by more than 10,000, as miners flocked to the region, with the Masuguru District being the main mining area.

Apart from Ruby, Songea Corundum contains a high level of magnesium, resulting in a wide variety of fancy colors. Songea has become the second most important Tanzanian mining area after Merelani, the home of Tanzanite. Like all sole source gemstones, Tanzanian Ruby possesses a genuine rarity.

Other Ruby sources include Afghanistan, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. A major international gemstone hub, Thailand is the middle point for approximately 90 percent of the world’s Rubies as they journey around the globe.

Durability & Care

One of the world’s hardest gemstones (Mohs’ Hardness: 9), Tanzanian Ruby is an excellent choice for everyday jewelry. Tanzanian Ruby should always be stored carefully to avoid scuffs and scratches. Clean with gentle soap and lukewarm water, scrubbing behind the gem with a very soft toothbrush as necessary. After cleaning, pat dry with a soft towel or chamois cloth.

Map Location

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