4.04 Carat Mogok Ruby

Having trouble photographing gems. This stone is eye clean and is hard to capture its beauty because I don’t know anything about how to set it up (photograph) for a good result. I’d appreciate some pointers on how to present a colored gem properly so others can see my gems more naturally, if possible.
This particular ruby is certified with no heat or other treatments. I purchased in Myanmar circa 2007.

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Generally you will want to use a high quality camera and a macro lens. You can use a good quality iPhone or Android and buy an inexpensive macro lens for about $20 USD. A white background and good lighting from a “lightbox” is also a good idea.

I took these photos with a Samsung Galaxy 22 and such a macro lens.

I would try my macro lens on a good cell phone under diffuse outdoor sunlight and then direct sunlight. You should be able to get a decent shot. I see lots of outdoor photos of gems for sale on line… -royjohn

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This is good information thank you so much Brian. I gave a reasonably good Sony digital camera to my niece a couple years ago since my pixel (Google) phones experience has been great. I did know that there are macro attachments but thought the phone would do better at close up without an attachment. I will order some of those and redo. I’m new here and think this is a great platform to continue my colored Stone knowledge experience.

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Thanks @royjohn - I agree that gems generally look great in better light (outdoors) and especially star sapphires. I’ve ordered a macro lens for my phone so hopefully in a few weeks I’ll get to test the attachment.

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I use a Samsung S22 phone camera with a macro lens attachment.

I also have an inexpensive lightbox with tripod lights that can be phocused on the gem (s). I even use an inexpensive tripod for my phone since sometimes it can be shaky if hand held.

The lightbox and lens assortment can be purchased on Amazon for not that expensive amount.

I have a lot of inventory im trying to sell off at a very low price and find these help in showing off the true stone.



I’ve the same challenge. Thanks for this info. I have an iPhone 12: can anyone suggest a brand of macro lens for it? I do have a wee lightbox but it’s a bit fussy to set up and when I need to send a quick pic of a ring or gem to send a client it’s just that added amount of work I tend to skip. At my peril! The images never ever capture what’s sparkling in front of me.

If you do a search on Amazon for “macro lens for phone” you will find a ton of listings. They don’t cost very much and most of them are decent quality. Just check reviews. I just bought a set for $34 and they work well.

Ex-pro photographer here, now gemologist and spent many hours perfecting the art with gemstones.
Macro lens is a must, I does see more then your eye ever will but at least your showing the exact stone.

So my set up is as follows;
Cannon 5D mark ii & Cannon 5D Mark IV (either work well)
100mm macro lens mine is the pro but I have used the sigma macro and it work exceptionally well (every day people will never tell the different)
Now here is the deal breakers and most important of all - I tri-pod is a must this will stop hand shake.
Gem stone holder (or something to hold it steady)

I shoot both in and outdoors depending on the gemstone, opal for instance is much better outside to show play of colour, Sapphire can benefit from lighting box with white background.

I prefer white back ground over all other colours
Here is why; prevents colour cast, shows the exact gem as it should, and the lighting is far easier to balance with white.

You need a light in front more than any other light this will show the beautiful polish on the gemstone, and less of the macro inclusions that you can’t see by eye, hence producing a clearer image of what it will look like to the eye for the consumer.

White balance needs to be spot on for the lighting you’re taking this also ensures the true colour is in the final image.

I’ve used my phone with macro but you will never get absolute true colour due to the factors above. It depends what you want the photo for, if just social media then any will do, I personally believe if your wanting to photograph to sell it should be presented as close to what the eye will see as possible.

Happy to help if anyone needs any :blush:

Plus directional lighting above, sides and below helps to show all facets and polish :ok_hand:t2:

And until you get those things set up, try zooming in as close as you can and move the phone camera further away keeping the gem about1/3 to 1/2 of the frame. Then take the photo and crop to eliminate as much background as needed. Works great for quick social media photos.