Ruby, the king of precious gems, is the birthstone for fortunate folks born in July. Symbolic of the passion and energy associated with the color red, the vibrant ruby is said to bring love and success.
RUBY BUYING TIPS
Whether you’re showing your love for someone born in July, or celebrating a 15th or 40th wedding anniversary, there’s no better gift than ruby.
Popular since ancient times, these precious gems are said to rouse the senses, amplify positive energy and guarantee health, wisdom, wealth, and success in love.
Like diamonds, rubies are evaluated using the 4Cs, plus size and geographic origin. The most important feature of a ruby is its red color, as other hues of this gem species are considered sapphire. The finest ruby is a vibrant purplish red, losing value (and classification as a ruby) as it leans toward brown, orange or even pink.
Rubies also require good transparency. Opaque rubies are much less valuable, even if they display cat’s eye or asterism.
All natural rubies contain imperfections, like rutile inclusions called “silk.” These can actually increase the value of ruby (when displaying a rare cat’s eye or star effect) and are often used to determine a gem’s authenticity.
The Sunrise Ruby is the world’s most expensive gemstone other than a diamond. A 25.6-carat Burmese Pigeon Blood Ruby set between two diamonds weighing 2.5 and 2.7 karats respectively, it sold at auction in 2015 for nearly $30 million, setting a new record price-per-carat.
Lower quality rubies are heat treated to improve color saturation and minimize inclusions, making these varieties more affordable.
A valuable gift to symbolize passion, protection, and prosperity, ruby is the perfect way to express powerful emotions.
Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, colored by the element chromium. All other colors of gem-quality corundum are called sapphire, which the means color is key for this royal stone.
Accordingly, the name “ruby” comes from rubeus, the Latin word for red. In ancient Sanskrit, ruby translated to ratnaraj, which meant “king of precious stones.” These fiery gems have been treasured throughout history for their vitality.
The chromium that gives ruby its red color also causes fluorescence, which makes rubies glow like a fire from within. Paradoxically, chromium is also what makes this gem scarce because it can cause cracks and fissures. Few rubies actually grow large enough to crystallize into fine quality gems, and these can bring even higher prices than diamonds.
Burma’s Mogok Valley historically produced the finest ruby material, famous for its deep blood-red color with purplish hues. These Burmese Rubies, also called Pigeon’s Blood Rubies, command a premium over brownish or orange-tinged varieties from other regions.
The Mong Hsu region of Myanmar began producing rubies in the 90s after discovering that heat treatment improved the color saturation. Other ruby deposits exist in Vietnam, Thailand, India, parts of the Middle East, East Africa and even the United States.
Tough and durable, ruby measures 9 on the Mohs scale. Diamond is the only natural gemstone harder than ruby.
Ruby’s strength and red fluorescence make it valuable for applications beyond jewelry. Both natural and synthetic rubies are used in watchmaking, medical instruments, and lasers.
Due to its deep red color, ruby has long been associated with the life force and vitality of blood. It is believed to amplify energy, heighten awareness, promote courage and bring success in wealth, love, and battle.