A ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide). A symbol of love and immortality, the ruby has been the focus of many myths and legends throughout the centuries.
In ancient times, Hindus believed rubies possessed an inextinguishable inner fire, causing the gemstones to shine through clothing. The vibrant, red gem was commonly thought by some cultures to bless wearers with health, wealth, wisdom and success in affairs of the heart. Rubies also have been traditionally associated with charity, dignity and divine power.
The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. Its name comes from ruber, Latin for red. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires. Ruby is considered one of the four precious stones, together with sapphire, emerald anddiamond.
Known for its deep, rich red color, the ruby is considered to be second to the diamond as one of the most prized gemstones throughout history. The ruby’s red color symbolizes love and passion. The word ruby comes from the Latin word “ruber” meaning red.
The ancient Hindus referred to this gem as “Rajnapura” meaning “King of Gems” and was considered to have magical powers. It was worn to ward off evil and cure indigestion. It was believed that the ruby’s red glow comes from an internal flame that cannot be extinguished, making the a gift of a ruby symbolic of everlasting love.
When considering buying a ruby, you will want to look for the best color. Almost all quality rubies have inclusions, although they will not be visible to the naked eye. Look for a clear stone with few inclusions and beautiful color.
Prices of rubies are primarily determined by color. The brightest and most valuable “red” called blood-red or “pigeon blood”, commands a large premium over other rubies of similar quality.
After color follows clarity: similar to diamonds, a clear stone will command a premium, but a ruby without any needle-like rutile inclusions may indicate that the stone has been treated. Cut and carat (weight) are also an important factor in determining the price. Ruby is the traditional birthstone for July and is always lighter red or pink than garnet. The world’s most expensive ruby is the Sunrise Ruby.
Rubies have historically been mined in Thailand, the Pailin and Samlout District of Cambodia, Burma, India, Afghanistan, Australia, Namibia, Colombia, Japan, Scotland, Braziland in Pakistan. In Sri Lanka, lighter shades of rubies (often “pink sapphires”) are more commonly found. After the Second World War ruby deposits were found in Tanzania,Madagascar, Vietnam, Nepal, Tajikistan, and Pakistan.