Ruby is a member of the corundum family of gemstones. There are two gemstones in the corundum family, Ruby and Sapphire. Low-quality corundum gemstones are typically used as cutting and polishing agents. The best known of these would be emery paper, which is mostly fine-grain corundum with the addition of magnetite, hematite, and quartz. Ruby gets its name from the Latin word for red “Ruber”. The most desirable colour for Ruby is called “Pigeon`s Blood”. It is a pure red colour with a hint of blue in it. The element that gives the stone its colour is chromium and is not always evenly distributed. Which can cause varying shades, stripes, or spots to occur in a given stone. If iron is present the stone will have brownish tones, this can sometimes be seen in Rubies from Thailand.
In its rough form, Ruby will appear dull and even greasy. However, when it is cut, its luster can almost compare with that of Diamond. Ruby has a hardness of 9 on the Moh`s scale of hardness. Which puts it the second hardest stone after Diamond. Inclusions are quite common in this gemstone. However, they do not lower the quality or value of the gemstone. Instead, the inclusions are used as proof of being a natural stone versus a synthetic stone. There are different types of inclusions, growth structures, cavities, and canals. The type of inclusion can indicate the location where the gem was mined. Rutile needles are inclusions that are made of titanium dioxide. These very thin needles can either bring about a soft shine called “silk”. Or when cut as a cabochon they can create a cat`s eye or the much sought-after six-rayed star.
It is believed that Ruby was first discovered in the Mogok Valley in Myanmar, which was formerly called Burma. Mining there has been dated as far back as 2500 BC. With evidence of Stone Age and Bronze Age tools being found there. Historically the largest Rubies mined automatically became the property of the King of Burma. Burmese Rubies were considered the finest in the world and still are to this day.
India also has a very long history of mining Ruby, dating back as far as the Iron Age. In India, Rubies were divided into four castes, similar to their social caste system. Rubies of different castes were not allowed to come into contact with each other. In the belief that an inferior stone would diminish the power of protection of a superior stone. A person wearing a flawless Ruby was said to be completely safe under its protection.
Today Ruby is mined in Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania. With Myanmar still being the most important, producing an estimated 90% of the world’s Ruby. It is estimated that only 1% of the gemstone is mined is of gemstone quality. However, it is common to find other gemstones alongside Ruby. Such as Garnet, Spinal, Sapphire, Topaz, Tourmaline, Moonstone, Chrysoberl and Zircon. In the early 1990`s there were large deposits of Ruby found at Mong Hsu in Myanmar.
Legend has it that Rubies were first discovered in Burma`s Mogok Valley. By hunters, after they shot a crow and found a Ruby in its claw. They then searched the area and found Rubies lying on the ground. Throughout history, Ruby has been associated with wealth, power, and protection. People believed that wearing the stone would protect them and their property from harm. In ancient Burma, the Ruby was called the ” Stone of Soldier “. They believed that by inserting the gemstone into their flesh they would become invulnerable. Medieval Europeans believed that wearing the stone on their left side would bring them health, wealth, and wisdom. They also believed it could protect them in battle and against lightning strikes. Ruby like some other precious gemstones, is said to possess an oracular ability. It could change colour in the presence of evil or danger and could warn the wearer of impending events or betrayals.
It was also believed to bring success in business. Rosser Reeves was a tv advertiser in the 1950`s, who carried a 138.72 ct Ruby around with him. He was most famous for he`s M&M slogan “melts in your mouth, not in your hand”. He called the stone “my baby” and claimed it was the source of he`s good luck. Rosser donated the stone to the Smithsonian Institution in Washingto D.C in 1965.
Edwardes Ruby 167ct
Rosser Reeves Ruby 138.72ct
De Long Star Ruby 100ct
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