Celebrated in the Bible and in ancient Sanskrit writings as the most precious of all gemstones, rubies have been the prized possession of emperors and kings throughout the ages. It is no wonder that in the ancient Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj, or “king of precious stones.” Ruby’s inner fire has been the inspiration for innumerable legends and myths, and to this day, no red gemstone can compare to its fiery, rich hues. It was believed wearing a fine red ruby bestowed good fortune on its owner – although the owner must have already had good fortune enough to possess such a rare and beautiful gemstone!
Many people associate its brilliant crimson colors with passion and love, making ruby an ideal choice for an engagement ring. Ruby is the red variety of the corundum mineral species, while all other colors of corundum are called sapphire. It is also the most valuable, all other things being equal.
This most sought-after gemstone is available in a range of red hues, from purplish red to orangish red. Ruby is readily available in sizes up to two carats, but larger sizes can be obtained. However, in its finest quality, any size ruby can be scare. In readily available small sizes, ruby makes an excellent accent gemstone because of its intense, pure red color.
Ruby is found throughout Southeast Asia & Africa, with Mozambique, Madagascar and Myanmar (Burma) producing the most exquisite examples of this gemstone.
Despite all the best efforts of gemstone merchants to use technology to enrich color, fine ruby is still exceptionally rare. After being extracted from the earth, rubies today are commonly heated to high temperatures to maximize the purity and intensity of their red hue. Impurities may also dissolve or become less noticeable after heating. However, heating will only improve the color if the gemstone already contains the chemistry required. Occasionally rubies with small imperfections are permeated with a silicate byproduct of the heating process, which helps to make small fissures less visible. This enhancement, like heating, is permanent and rubies, whether enhanced or not, remain among the most durable of gems.
Over 95% of the world’s rubies are subjected to heat treatment to improve their color. The rare ruby that comes out of the ground with no further enhancements necessary is a true treasure of nature and amongst the most valuable gemstones on the planet. Its passionate red color makes ruby an ideal choice for a romantic gift that comes with a rich legacy.
Ruby is the birthstone for July and the gem for the 15th and 40th anniversaries.
Burma, Mozambique, Madagascar, Thailand, Sri Lanka and various other locatlities
Orange Red to Strong Purplish Red
9.0 on Mohs Scale
15th and 40th
1.762 to 1.770
0.008 to 0.010