The King of Precious Stones
Ruby is the red to purplish-red variety of the mineral corundum. The mineral is naturally colorless, but will color with trace elements like chromium, creating fiery to raspberry reds.
These eye-catching hues have secured the ruby as one of the most valuable gemstones, as it currently holds the record for the highest cost per carat for any colored gem. The more pure the red, such as those Burmese in origin, the more costly.
Naturally included, the ruby has internal evidence of its growth under intense heat and pressure. Typical inclusions are fingerprints, fractures, mineral inclusions, color-banding, and hexagonal growth patterns - all evidence of a natural stone.
Rutile needles are also a common inclusion in corundum that causes the phenomenon asterism when they intersect.
A Brief History
Known as “the king of precious stones” in ancient Sanskrit, the glowing red of the ruby emulates the illusion of magical power. Early Christians mentioned ruby four times in the bible, believing it was precious stone made by God. Hindus believed the offering of rubies to Krishna ensured re-incarnation into positions of power. Meanwhile, Burmese warriors wore rubies embedded beneath their skin for invincibility in battle.
Most rubies are mined in Myanmar Thailand with the chance to have a bright satiny red coloring that is highly valued as a Burmese ruby. Rubies are also found in areas of South East Asia, Western Africa, and notably Madagascar.
Red is symbolic of passion and love, aflame with slow burning intensity, making the ruby a great celebratory stone for the fifteenth and fortieth wedding anniversaries.
Corundum is considered the third hardest mineral making it a very durable stone to be used in everyday jewelry. Rubies are typically cut to save weight and to display color, so transparent material will most likely be faceted as a gemstone. Since rubies are very tough, heavily included rubies are still valuable as carved intaglio, cabochons, or bead jewelry.
Ruby is the traditional birthstone for July.
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Ruby jewelry can be cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft brush, and if not fractured, in the ultrasonic by a jewelry professional. Due to hardness, the stone should be wrapped in a soft cloth when stored to avoid scratching other stones in your jewelry box.