Ruby – what is it?
Ruby – one of the most highly prized gemstones in the world. In the ancient language of Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj, or “king of precious stones.”
The colour of ruby is only ever red (unlike sapphire that comes in many colours). The tone of colour can vary from blood red; pinkish, purplish, brownish and orange reds. The colouring material for ruby is chromium with the addition of iron for the brownish coloured stones.
Where are rubies mined?
Stones have been mined all over the world from places such as Burma, Madagascar and Mozambique. Some countries such as Thailand, Cambodia and Tanzania are no longer producing rubies of gem quality and the mines have now closed. This has driven up prices of high quality, exceptional coloured rubies.
On today’s market, a fair sized ruby of good colour is much more valuable than a sapphire of similar size.
Not all red stones are ruby
Many stones such as garnet, red spinel and red tourmaline have been confused for ruby. In fact the ‘Black Price Ruby’, a 170 carat red stone set into the ‘Crown of England’ was believed to be a ruby for many years till proven otherwise as a red spinel. Many of the ‘rubies’ in the crown jewels have been proven to be spinels also. There are many treated rubies and synthetics on the market, and caution must be taken when purchasing ruby. Quite often a ‘too good to be true bargain’ often is.
Corrundum the mineral family Al2O3
Corundum (the mineral group that includes ruby and sapphire) is the hardest mineral after diamond, and seven times harder than topaz making it ideal for rings, pendants and earrings. It’s the perfect gift for an anniversary (it is in fact the birthstone for July and 40th wedding anniversaries and a number of designs can be found in our showroom).
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