The ruby is one of the most loved gemstones and due to its rarity and popularity, it fetches a higher price per carat than any other coloured gem. The red colour of ruby has always linked it to passion, romance and power. Important across many cultures and throughout time, it continues to hold it’s place as one of the most recognised and important coloured gemstones in the world. In addition to its beautiful colour, the ruby is highly desired due to its hardness, durability, lustre, and rarity.
- Colour/Pink to Red
- Moh's Hardness/9
- Anniversary/15th & 40th
Ruby is graded at 9 on the Moh’s scale of hardness and has the same corundum mineral composition as sapphire. This makes the ruby second in hardness only to a diamond and thus an excellent gem for longevity when worn in jewellery.
Colour is the main factor when grading a ruby and it can range from orange-red to pink-red and purple-red. When it comes to colour, it is the presence of chromium that makes a ruby red. The more chromium contained in the gem, the stronger the colour. Chromium can also cause fluorescence which can contribute to the intensity of the colour and enhance its value.
The origin of where the ruby is found can impact on its colour and value. If found deposited in marble, like those from Myanmar, the Himalayas, and northern Vietnam, they will have a low iron content and thus be brighter in colour. If found in basalt rock, they will have a higher iron content and their colour will be darker.
The ruby has a long and vibrant history, and has been viewed as important throughout time and across many different cultures. Being the colour of blood has often linked it to strength and power. In Sanskrit, it is known as ‘the king of gems’ and has been much loved by royalty, with the English using rubies for their coronation rings. The ancient Burmese believed it would make soldiers invincible in battle if they cut rubies into their skin to activate this protection.
The name ruby comes from the Latin word for red. The glowing colour of the gem has seen it described as an inexhaustible flame and mentioned four times in the Bible, linking it to beauty and wisdom. It was a popular stone for the wealthy elite in the Medieval period, believed to impart health, vitality, wealth and romantic success upon the wearer.
The world’s best rubies have consistently come from Mogok in Myanmar (previously Burma) with most of this supply cut and sold in Bangkok. Ruby is also mined in the Chanthaburi province of Thailand and in 2000, new ruby deposits were discovered in Madagascar. Other important sources for ruby include Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Tanzania and Mozambique.
Rubies are very hard gems that are suitable for all kinds of jewellery, including rings. Second in hardness only to a diamond, they are an excellent choice for longevity but be aware that any stone can break if it is hit hard enough. Wear all jewellery with care and avoid exposure to abrasive materials, harsh chemicals and extreme changes in heat.
To clean, soak your ruby jewellery in a dish of warm soapy water and use a soft toothbrush to gently brush away any built up residue. You can also use a jewellery cleaning cloth or professional jewellery cleaning products developed to be safe on rubies. Professional jewellers like Pieces of Eight use an ultrasonic machine to clean your rubies; bring them in for an annual clean and check.