Some of the most beautiful pieces of jewelry on the market today have been created and designed with ruby. There are rings, earrings, bracelets, pendants and more showcasing the ageless characteristics of this stone. Ruby is a variety of corundum known as red corundum. All other types of corundum are classed as sapphire. Ruby has an extreme hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale. This combined with its fascinating color and silk-like shine make the gem very valuable. Ruby is one of six precious stones home to planet Earth.
Ruby was given its name for a Latin word ruber. Ruber means red in the Latin language. This gem is one of the most costly of all. Ruby is a rare gem and even rarer than diamonds especially larger stones. Much of the royal and famous jewelry creations have been designed with rubies.
For those born in the month of July, ruby is their birthstone. Couples celebrating their 15th and 4th wedding anniversaries are often gifted with rubies.
Color of Rubies
It is not uncommon to find a wide range of colors in rubies. Colors may range from a pinkish tone to a red with purple and brown hues. The color of ruby varies according to the amount of iron and chromium impurities that are in the stone. Pure red coloring with a slight blue hint is the most sought color of ruby. This color is known as pigeon’s blood.
Buying the Stone
When buying rubies or jewelry made with rubies, it is important to consider the color first. Clarity is to be considered but not as important as the color. When inspecting the clarity, inclusions are often present. This does not mean the ruby is of lower quality. For example, rutile needles will give a silky shine to the gemstone. When this type of stone is cut in the cabochon style, it produces the cat’s eye effect which is rare. The popular star ruby has inclusions of oriented rutile inclusions. This gives the gem a six rayed star which is a lighting effect known as the asterism.
Deposits and Locations
Ruby deposits can be found located in various areas around the world. For thousands of years, Myanmar formerly known as Burma was the site of many ruby discoveries. Of all the gemstones mined, one percent was of gem quality. Many of the rubies mined in this area are among the most valuable of any being the pigeon’s blood color. As early as the 1990s, vast deposits of ruby were found in Mong Hsu, Myanmar.
In the Chanthaburi District of Thailand, rubies can be found with a purple and brown hue. Production in this area has declined over the years leaving the area to be used mainly for ruby processing as well as trading. Sri Lanka is home to deposits of ruby in the district of Ratnapura. These rubies are generally light red in color or raspberry red. Just off the coast of Mozambique in Madagascar during the 1990s, large deposits of ruby were found. Today, Madagascar is the leading producer of ruby in the world.
Gemstone quality deposits of violet colored to brown and red colored rubies have been found in Tanzania. These deposits are located on the Umba River which in the northwestern part of Tanzania. Other ruby deposits are located throughout the world including India, Australia, Nepal, Brazil, United States, Melawi and Zimbabwe.