To date the formation of ruby deposits and link it to the regional metamorphism associated with Tertiary Himalayan orogenesis, 40Ar–39Ar stepwise heating experiments were performed on single grains of phlogopite syngenetic with ruby, and zircon inclusions in ruby and spinel were dated with the U–Pb method by ion-probe. The Ar–Ar ages of phlogopites associated with ruby are Oligocene (24.7 ± 0.3 Ma) at Jegdalek in Afghanistan; Miocene at Mogok in Myanmar (18.7 ± 0.2 to 17.1 ± 0.2 Ma), at Hunza in Pakistan (10.8 ± 0.3 to 5.4 ± 0.3 Ma), and Chumar in Nepal (5.6 ± 0.4 Ma); and Pliocene (4.6 ± 0.1 Ma) at Ruyil in Nepal. In Vietnam, a zircon included in a ruby from the Quy Chau deposit yielded a 238U–206Pb age of 53.8 ± 4.6 Ma, whereas in the Red River shear zone, ruby formed at around 40–36 Ma during ductile deformation under peak metamorphic conditions. The ages obtained in this study are in agreement with those previously published for the ruby-bearing metamorphic belts and document extensional tectonics that were active from Afghanistan to Vietnam between the Oligocene and the Pliocene. Ruby-bearing marbles define a high-quality gem belt linked to the high-temperature metamorphism of the Himalayan fold belt that developed during the Tertiary collision of the Indian plate with Asia.

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