History and Legends of Precious Ruby
Throughout recorded history, Ruby has been the world’s most valued gemstone and has been known for having the boldest color within the ‘Big Three’ next to Emerald and Sapphire. In Ancient times, this ‘glowing stone’ represented desire, passion, courage and emotion, which transcended all geographical boundaries and social class with regards to respect and appreciation. Ancient Hindus considered them to be ‘Ratnaraj’ or the ‘King of Precious Stones’.i
Ruby was regarded as the symbol of freedom, charity, dignity and divine power and was believed to have mystical powers within. When inserted beneath the skin, the ancient Burmese believed the mystical force would protect the wearer from accidents and attacks which enabled them to predict the future based on color changes of their gemstone. Ruby, the ‘king of gems’ was used to cure circulation disorders and melancholia.
s acquired special attributes from its admirers over the centuries. The name Ruby was derived from the ancient Latin words Rubeus and ruber for red. This enchanting gemstone was named the fraternal twin to Sapphire. They are composed of the same material aluminum oxide (corundum) which is a relatively common mineral in the earth’s crust. The earliest record for mining Rubies goes back to more than 2,500 years ago in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). Presently, many believe that Burma (Myanmar) is the world’s largest provider of high quality rubies, specifically from Mogok Valley which hold an unprecedented allure for buyers. Burmese believed that gemstones ripened like fruit – the redder the color, the riper the ruby. All rubies were believed to start colorless and ripen with age. A flawed ruby was considered over mature.
Ruby is the birthstone for those born in the month of July and is also used as a celebration symbol for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries. Ruby is the stone for Capricorn on the Zodiac chart.
Rubies in the Spotlight
Many rubies have been distinguished as world-famous gems due to their extraordinary beauty or size. These one-of-a-kind gemstones have been placed in upscale museums to ensure their posterity is highly guarded.
- The 105-carat polished irregular gem titled the Anne of Brittany ruby is housed under the protection of the Louvre in Paris
- The 167-carat Edwardes ruby resides in the British Museum of Natural History, donated by John Ruskin in 1887. This gem was named in honour of Major-General Sir Herbert Benjamin Edwardes who saved British rule in India during the years of the Indian Mutiny.
- The 137-carat Rosser Reeves star ruby is housed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. It is considered to be the largest fine star ruby in existence
- The 100-carat De Long star ruby is an oval cabochon, which is located in The American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Rubies are favourite gems amongst royalty and the rich and famous. Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Marlene Dietrich have all been known to purchase and wear exceptional ruby pieces. Rubies are estimated at 50 times rarer than diamonds but cost only a few times more for similar size and quality.
The Origins of Rubies
Ruby mining has been in existence for thousands of years and occurs in many different geographical locations around the world. Each location produces characteristics and varied quality. It is believed that the most alluring and stunning rubies are mined in Burma (Myanmar), although excellent quality rubies are also found in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Cambodia.
Burmese rubies are the finest quality, producing clear, deep red stones. Presently Burma is the world’s largest and finest provider of high quality rubies, specifically from Mogok Valley known as “a city built on rubies”. The color of a fine Mogok ruby is due to a combination of two factors: the high color intensity and “silk”. Silk refers to tiny needle inclusions that scatter light onto facets, which give the color a velvety softness.
Thailand is known as one of the major international locations for gem trading and gem processing and it is known of r dark purplish-red stones.
Rubies can also be found in Vietnam and India.
The island of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) was once named Serendip or “Gem Island” for its abundance of gems. This parallels with the tales of happy, unexpected discoveries that gave us the word serendipity. Rubies from the island are generally medium light in tone.
Various locations in Africa, such as Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Somaliland, and Tanzania produce beautiful ruby gemstones. Africa is known for producing small, sheet-like purplish-red material.
Looking at the Ruby – Cut, Color & Shape
Ruby and sapphire, also known as fraternal twins, are the two varieties of the mineral corundum, a common mineral in the earth’s crust. Red corundum is called ruby and all other colors are called sapphire. The separation between ruby and pink sapphire on one end and plum sapphire on the other has long been a subject of controversy. Of course, gem dealers want the stone they are selling to be classified as a ruby because the name alone increases its value.
Rubies are known for their hardness, holding true to being one of the toughest gemstones available, surpassed only by diamonds. Rubies are the second hardest substance on the Moh’s scale, with a rating of 9.
This excellent hardness, combined with rich color and brilliant shine, is what makes fine rubies so valuable and secures them a title position as a precious gemstone. Breakage rarely occurs which makes rubies perfect for all kinds of jewellery.
Rubies come in many variations of color, shape, and size providing exceptional variety to gemstone lovers. Durability, beauty, and rarity are key factors when choosing the perfect gemstone. Large gem-quality rubies are amongst the most rare crystals on earth.
color is the most important feature of rubies. The color will continue to be bright and beautiful forever when properly cared for.
Rubies are most commonly available in oval and cushion shapes. Although other shapes are available, they may be difficult to find in sizes above one carat. Rubies above five carats are extremely rare and very valuable. They can also be found rough (uncut) or carved.
Keeping your Ruby Beautiful
Rubies will continue to be brilliantly beautiful for millions of years with the proper care. Caring for your ruby gemstone is easy.
Here are some tips to help you keep your ruby beautiful:
- • Store each piece separately in a soft bag to avoid scratches.
- • Clean with ultrasonic cleaners, steamers, warm soapy water, and brushes.
- • Remove jewellery before engaging in physical activity or when working with your hand.
- • Simple and regular cleaning will help keep your gems sparkling for generations to come.
Finding the Perfect Ruby
The more you learn about gems, the more successful you will be at acquiring quality gems at fair prices for your collection. An educated client makes the best decisions.
Subtle differences in quality can make a difference in beauty and the price of gems. Therefore, it is important to select your jewellery from a professional who can provide you with honest and ethical information.
Here are some tips to help you find the perfect ruby:
- • Buy the best gem you can afford
- • Request a report from a recognized gemological laboratory before you purchase to verify color, clarity, size, finish, etc.
- • Buy from dealers you know and trust that stand behind their products
- • Look for inclusions
- • Realize that almost all rubies are heated to enhance the color and improve clarity
- • There are almost never deals when it comes to natural gems
- • Please contact us to start exploring your options for purchasing and collecting precious ruby gemstones.
Please contact us to start exploring your options for purchasing and collecting ruby gemstones.