Ruby Red Gemstones on a Budget

Alternatives You Can Choose When a Ruby Is Not in the Budget

Who doesn't love a rich, blood red ruby? Whether you were born in July or fancy warm tones, ruby is the gem of choice. However, if a natural, high-quality ruby doesn't fit your budget, don't fret. There are many alternatives that are every bit as stunning as a July's birthstone.

Check out 5 of our favorite ruby gemstone alternatives. Some are obvious choices but others might surprise you. 

Edited by: Lauren Thomann

Garnet is the traditional January birthstone. It exists in many colors, including various shades of red. Natural garnet is inexpensive  and abundant, which should not detract from its beauty. As January's primary birthstone, the red variety of this gemstone is often underrated.

There are a few different varieties of red garnet: lucky for you, we created a list of them to help you choose. 

A couple common red varieties of garnet are almandine and pyrope. Almandine is what you want to search for if you're main objective is to save money. They are the most affordable and can come in carat sizes ranging from very big to very small. 

Garnet is the type of low-risk gemstone that is safe to buy online without too much concern over whether the stone is authentic. There are some glass versions that look almost identical to garnet though, so just be sure you're shopping from a reputabel dealer. 

Synthetic ruby is created in a laboratory. Since it is synthetic and not simulated, these stones have the same chemical make-up as its natural counterpart -- at a much lower price.

The main distinction between a natural ruby and a synthetic one is the color. Some varieties of synthetic ruby can be very bright pink, a color that is almost a dead giveaway. You'll see these types of stones used on class rings and birthstone jewelry. You'll also notice most synthetic ruby is virtually flawless. 

Mix synthetic ruby with cubic zirconia instead of diamonds and the result is jewelry that will suit nearly any budget.

Rhodochrosite is very similar to what we might see in a very low quality, opaque ruby. Translucent variations of rhodochrosite are found in shades of strawberry-pink to watermelon-red.

It's a softer stone than ruby, so not as durable. But look how stunning rhodochrosite is when it's cut as a cabochon and used by itself in a setting. Darker stones command higher prices, but most rhodochrosite jewelry is inexpensive. So inexpensive that you might consider ordering a cabochon and making a piece of jewelry yourself. 

Carnelian is a form of chalcedony, a type of quartz made up of tiny crystals. You'll find carnelian in shades of red and orange-red, and many stones with brownish undertones.

The gemstone isn't as transparent as ruby or garnet, but its affordability means you'll find endless lovely pieces made by talented jewelry designers. I love this particular choice because it has a vintage feel that is understated yet elegant. This ruby alternative is not for those that want bling, but for jewelry lovers that want to make a unique statement. 

Swarovski crystals are not gemstones, so they make this list as the most affordable option. Use this stone when you're buying gifts for young children who don't yet know how to take care of finer things.

These jewels are quality cut pieces of lead glass and are available in deep colors that are beautiful in their own right. Swarovski crystals are trademarked and known for being higher quality than other glass crystals on the market.

Want a piece of costume jewelry that truly looks like the real thing? Look for jewelry that has crystals mounted into prongs instead of glued into the setting for a little higher quality look that will last.  

Prices vary, but the crystals are affordable -- you should be able to find something to suit any budget.