Birthstone Month :
Ruby is the birthstone for the month of July.
Ruby is associated with the zodiac signs of Cancer, Leo, Sagittarius and Scorpio.
Chemical Symbol :
Al2O3 + Cr3+
Chemical Make-up :
Ruby is a form of Aluminium Oxide known as Corundum. Pure Corundum is in fact clear, and Red Corundum, or Ruby, is made up of Corundum (Al2O3), and Chromiumium impurities (Cr3+), which are responsible for the wonderful Red colorations. Ruby is the most valuable gem in the Corundum family.
History & Lore :
The name Corundum is believed to originate from either the Indian word kauruntaka, or the Sanskrit word kurivinda. Ruby, the name for this particular type of Corundum is taken from the Latin word ruber, meaning “red”.
Since ancient times, the Ruby has been known as the King of Gemstones, and has been considered to be a protective stone providing the wearer with benefits such as invulnerability and preserved health. In addition to this, Rubies inspire creativity, wisdom and love, as well as enhancing self-reliance / confidence and increasing spirituality. Rubies worn by men signified manhood and nobility. Rubies worn by women were said to invoke passion and power. Improved circulation is one of the major perceived medical benefits of Ruby gems. Fire, blood and warmth are further
properties assiciated with the Ruby.
It is an extremely hard and a very expensive exercise trying to source natural Rubies that have not been heat-treated as these gems are amongst the most valuable gemstones known today. However, thanks to modern gemstone enhancements and treatments, it is now possible to own wonderful, heat-treated natural Rubies that are both available to meet demand, and priced at a level making this beautiful King of
gemstones attainable / available to most people.
Whilst today’s main sources of Ruby are Myanmar (Burma), Vietnam and Thailand, there are also notable resources in Afghanistan, Africa, Cambodia, India, Kashmir, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Tajikistan and the United States (North Carolina).
The highest quality and most desirable Rubies are those that originate in Myamnar (Burma). Burmese Rubies, once heat-treated display amazing deep red colors. Vietnamese Rubies generally display a purple hue and Rubies from Thailand are a beautiful mid-red color. Rubies from Africa display remarkable red colors and Sri Lankan (Ceylon), Sapphires often have a raspberry tint and are therefore also considered amongst the most desirable.
Ruby is rated at 9 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness and is second only to the Diamond in this regard. Rubies are therefore perfectly suited to all jewelry purposes / uses and is a very hard-wearing, durable and versatile gemstone suitable for everyday wear.
Rubies, just like their close relation the Sapphire, are also available in a “star” variety, whereby inclusions present in the natural gemstone make the stone translucent or opaque and affect the wat that the stone reflects light. The effect created is a “star” that floats across the surface of the stone when it is moved.
Color is by far and away the most important to consider when evaluating a Ruby, with transparancy being the secondary concern. It is also extremely important to ensure that the Ruby you are considering is very well cut in order to maximize the stone’s brilliance.
Common Cuts :
Being an extremely hard gemstone that is very well-suited to jewelry purposes, Rubies are cut into almost all of the known gemstone cuts, with Cushion, Emerald, Pear and Oval cuts being particularly popular.
Routine Enhancements :
Almost all Rubies found on the market today have been heat-treated in order to intensify color and remove “silk”, small inclusions present in most natural Rubies. This method of treatment is considered permanent and color should not fade over time.
Care & Cleaning :
Rubies are a very tough, durable gemstone and can safely be cleaned with soapy water or commercial solvent and a brush, and can also safely be cleaned using most modern mechanical cleaners. Do however avoid subjecting Rubies to prolonged exposure to strong heat or light sources, particularly with regard to heat-treated gems, as prolonged exposure may cause permanent changes in coloration.