Daily Wire Tip Mar. 20: Ruby Bi-cones and Cubes

By on March 19, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
March 20, 2011


Hi Dale, I love your DVDs, they have helped tremendously. I have a question about rubies. I have been trying to locate ruby bicones and cubes for a bracelet order and have not been able to find them. Is there a reason for this? Thanks again.

-Sandy in Elkton, Maryland


Sandy, I work with faceted ruby gemstone beads quite often, and I have never seen the material cut into either a bi-cone or a square shape. There may be several reasons. One is that to cut a gemstone into a bi-cone shape, more material is wasted during the cutting process than is left in the resulting product; because precious ruby is an expensive stone (one of the top four precious stones, including diamond, emerald and sapphire), it would be very costly to make ruby into bi-cone beads.

As for cutting semi-precious ruby rough into cube shapes, I would think it has to do with the properties of the stone. Ruby (corundum) is the second-hardest stone (its Mohs scale hardness being a 9, and diamond being a 10), and contains rutile needles, also called silk. When a translucent to opaque ruby cabochon or bead shines, it is due to light reflecting off the rutile. If a stone or bead is cut so that the ends of these threads are on the face, there will be no shine. If a ruby is first oriented so the rutile is horizontal to the face, and then cut into a flat-square or cushion shape and the top is faceted with something like a checkerboard cut, the stone will sparkle. Again, the cost of making such beads is a major factor. However, there are many overseas manufacturers with whom you might try to place special orders.

In the meantime, you could try altering your design to use freeform ruby beads (I found some by doing a search using the phrase "precious ruby beads") or the already-available round and rondelle shapes.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    March 20, 2011 at 7:45 am

    since the question didn’t mention ‘gemstones’ specifically, I couldn’t help wondering if she was having trouble finding ruby colored Swarovskis, which usually come in cubes and bi-cones?

  2. avatar

    Denny Diamond

    March 20, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Why not try Swarovski ruby bicones and cubes. For even more sparkle, try the Ruby AB and Ruby AB2 colors. Spectacular!

  3. avatar


    March 20, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Here Here, Swarovski with out question!

  4. avatar


    March 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Thanks for everyones suggestions and comments. I haven’t had a problem finding Swarvoski Rubys, it’s the Cubes that are a problem. I ended up going with Swarvoski’s Siam which they supposedly market as Ruby.

  5. avatar

    David Bates

    March 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Thanks so much for the info on rubys, I didn’t know alot of the info. Enjoy your tips very much.

  6. avatar


    March 20, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Ah rubies. Dale is right as always. Hence the reason she and I jumped on several strands of rondell faceted rubies and saphires at a show. You don’t see shaped nearly ever and when you do, bite the bullet and grab them. We did and oh, how I love those rubies when they sparkle.

    Everyone has given you some good feedback on the Swarovski source. I know your design will be just as beautiful despite having to substitute your materials.

  7. avatar


    March 20, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    When discussing bicones and squares I am guided by the terminology itself to think that you are NOT talking about actual Rubies, but rather Ruby Colored Crystals such as Swarovski makes. There is also a fairly new product that I have seen called “ruby Quartz” but once again this is a colored quartz and not actually Ruby. With this in mind I did a little research and I have found Ruby bicones (Swarovski Crystal). I hope I have helped you in some small way. I know how frustrating it can be not to be able to find exactly what you envision for a piece you want to make. Happy jewelry making!

    • avatar


      March 21, 2011 at 10:21 am

      Thanks for your insight Karen, as beads in these shapes are made from many materials I addressed the question to be able to give a bit of extra info on a specific stone. (I figured anyone could find Swarovski crystals!) There are so many ways to read many of the questions I receive.

  8. avatar


    March 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Yes Dale I understood that and I apologize if I appeared to overstep. It however was my belief that this questioner may not have understood that she wan not actually looking for “ruby”.

    • avatar


      March 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm

      No problem Karen, I look forward to everyone’s input ; )