When trying to find the perfect ruby ring not only do you need to know the category of ring you're searching for and the general style, but you will want to know a little about how to select the grade of a ruby and how to get the most quality for your money.
When you select a ruby heart, eternity or mens ring, it's possible to have more than one hue on your list. Rubies are not just RED red. There is what's known as pigeon blood red all the way to a pink ruby or a pink sapphire that is of the same family (rubies and sapphires are almost the same except for color and these may slightly overlap).
Now the best ruby is defined by the color and not based on clarity as it is with diamonds and some other precious stones. They are imperfect. The most important aspect of quality will come down to color or the space and placement of the natural flaw or imperfection that the gemstone holds. The best flaws or 'silk' in a ruby ring will create a star effect, sometimes with light refracted into 3 or more points. These will be expensive.
Treated Rubies are not Fakes
Rubies are heat treated to bring out their deepest and richest hues and it's quite rare to be able to afford an untreated ruby these days. Not to worry, if your ruby engagement ring is later discovered to have been heat treated to make it appear redder, it doesn't mean it's not real or that it's of inferior quality to another. Heat enhancing is universal. Unless you've stumbled on a true antique ruby ring in its most natural state, you'll find that all the rings in jewelry shops (and those for sale online), unless otherwise stated, will have been enhanced in this fiery manner.
Spinel and Ruby Rings on a Budget
It may not be a lot cheaper but at least it's another option, and that is, to find a red spinel ring. It's real stone, and looks so much like a ruby that even famous so called "rubies" of history have been spinels. The strange thing is that I stumbled upon spinel rings trying to find an imitation or an alternative to a ruby ring that would be cheaper and could help someone who wanted a ruby engagement ring but had a limited budget. I was quite shocked to find that genuine medium or low quality rubies were a lot cheaper than spinels.
Rubies are often found together in the same deposits or gravel, but it seems the transparent spinels were called rubies or balas-rubies until they were differentiated. Some jewelers may still use the term balas or balas-ruby especially in an antique ruby ring. There are some every fine, clear, "Balas" and pink spinels that may be well worth being on your finger in place of a ruby ring if you can afford one.
A small warning: Do not confuse a genuine Spinel for what some market as a "created spinel" which is an imitation, totally manmade, and very cheap.