Ruby Gemstone Guide

Ruby Gemstone

Rubies are the rarest form of the mineral Corundum, the other types are known as sapphires. and are renowned for their redness in colour. The hardness of a ruby is second only to diamonds, graded 9 on the Moh's scale. Oval and cushion cut are popular shapes for ruby stones but their hardness means they are suitable for faceting in any cut. Ruby jewellery can make great gifts for July birthdays as it is the traditional birthstone. It is also the traditional gift given to celebrate a fortieth wedding anniversary and rubies are said to represent love and happiness.

Ruby Colour

The mineral Corundum contains traces of iron. titanium and chromium. It is the chromium that gives rubies the intense dark red that they are famed for. Chromium comes from the Greek word 'chroma' meaning colour.

The colours of rubies are valued by three components, hue, saturation and tone. Hue is the colour, saturation is the brightness and tone is the shade or depth of colour. Like sapphire, rubies have primary and secondary hues. In rubies the primary hue is red with secondary hues of pinks, oranges and purples. As with other coloured gemstones, it is not uncommon for rubies to be treated with heat to enhance the colour intensity. Colours vary from pale red to pigeon's blood red, the most desirable colour of all for ruby is a very dark red with a hint of blue.

The clarity of a ruby is measured similar to a diamond, a clear stone without imperfections will be classed as a premium ruby gemstone.

Caring for ruby

If you own ruby jewellery, remember it's a gemstone known for its hardness so store it separately in order to prevent it scratching other pieces of jewellery or metals. To wash your ruby jewellery, use warm soapy water and avoid harsh chemicals as this can damage the intense colour.

Sourcing of rubies

In the past rubies have been discovered in Thailand, India and Africa. However more recently, large deposits of rubies have been discovered under the receding ice shelf of Greenland.

Traditionally, Burmese rubies were considered the best, but for political reasons they're not currently available. Most now originate from Sri Lanka and Thailand. Rubies can also be synthetically produced and in this instance are known as 'created rubies'.

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