Other than the diamond, there is perhaps not a more popular gemstone in existence than the ruby. Often referred to as ‘the king of precious stones’, high quality rubies can command higher prices than equivalent sized diamonds. Known for their rich red color, the ruby is also one of the hardest gemstones out there (9 on the Mohs scale), and can be cut into any shape imaginable. Rubies, like all sapphires, can also exhibit asterism, which is a star effect.
Ruby is in the family corundum. Ruby is actually known as “ruby sapphire”. Corundum that has chromium contained in it displays as red (ruby); iron and titanium create blue (sapphire); all other impurities that create yellow, green, pink, etc. are called “fancy sapphires”. There is also pure corundum, which is colorless, but this is very rare and expensive.
Due to the high price of natural rubies, there are a lot of synthetic rubies on the market. Natural rubies tend to have many inclusions, which are well-tolerated due to the nature of the stone, and are often not very translucent. Synthetic stones, on the other hand, are often eye-clean with perfect translucence. Natural rubies, especially large ones, that are eye-clean command ridiculous prices, as these are extremely rare. It should also be noted that quite a few rubies are heat-treated in order to enhance their color or luster. This is considered a stable and permanent change…the only way to tell if a ruby has not been heat-treated is to look for intact rutile inclusions, also known as ‘silk’ within the stone.
Ruby can range in color from the highly sought after pigeon blood, which is deep red, to a light pale pink. In fact, it is difficult and often subjective to distinguish between a very light ruby and a dark pink sapphire. However, the most important factor in determining a ruby’s value is based on its color…the deeper red, the higher the cost.
Ruby is the birthstone for July, and is also the 15th and 40th wedding anniversary stone. Being red in color, ruby has always been associated with love and war, passion and power. Some have claimed that wearing ruby can bring energy, protection from blood disorders, higher awareness and focus. The only thing I’ve ever seen it do is catch peoples’ eyes due to its beauty and luster. People have used rubies in jewelry for centuries, and will likely continue to do so for centuries to come because of its beauty and durability.
Ruby is suitable for everyday jewelry use, and is easy to clean. Simply use soapy warm water and a soft cloth, or bring it into us and let us do the dirty work while you pick out your next favorite piece of jewelry!