Ruby and its properties.
Ruby is a very rare gem. They exist in many shades of red, from pinkish to purplish or brownish red. The red colour is determined by the amount of chromium, which further enhances the colour by causing a red fluorescence.
Most rubies show purplish red to orangey red hues. However the overall colour (colour being a combination of hue, tone and saturation) can provide gem dealers with an indication of the stone’s original geographic origin. Burmese Rubies tend to be purplish red in colour, while Thai stones tend to be brownish red.
For centuries, Ruby was said to remove sadness, prevent nightmares and protect against many illnesses. With its likeness in colour to blood, it has often been said to help stem haemorrhages and cure inflammatory diseases. Besides their obvious value as a precious gems, rubies are also used extensively in laser technology.
The great value of rubies is mentioned in the Bible. Ruby mining goes back more than 2500 years in Sri Lanka and was recorded in the sixth century AD at Mogok, Burma. The Burmese wore the stone as a talisman to protect them against illness or misfortune. Many in the ancient world believed they could predict the future based on the changing colour of the ruby they wore. The rare and highly valued “pigeon’s blood” variety now mined in Burma was previously called “blood drops from the heart of the earth” by the Burmese.
Large natural Rubies of good colour and clarity are so valuable that they often demand a higher price per carat than even the most flawless Diamonds. For example, in 1988 Sotheby’s auctioned a 15.97 carat Ruby which sold for more than $3.6 million dollars under the hammer.
It is the birthstone of July and also the Zodiacal birthstone for Capricorn. Also is the anniversary gemstone for 15th and 40th year of marriage.
It also is the birthstone for a Female whose Christian name is Rose and for a Male with the name Roland.
It is often given as a gift to show the strength of one’s relationship.
Sir John Mandeville wrote in his book that “once a man had touched the four corners of his land with a Ruby then his house, vineyard and orchard would be protected from lightning, tempests and poor harvest”.
Ruby is one of the hardest minerals after Diamonds. However the hardness varies in different directions. Ruby has no cleavage, but has certain preferred directions of parting. Because of its brittleness, care must be taken when cutting and setting.
Inclusions are common. They are not always indicative of lower quality but show the difference between a natural and synthetic stone. The type of inclusion often indicates the source area.
Rubies should be evaluated under different intensities of light. A very strong light normally gives a Ruby a very intense colour, while normal light may show a less intense colouring.
As can be imagined, the gem is surrounded by a great deal of folklore and legends. In ancient times people believed that Rubies could help them predict the future. They have been worn as talismans to protect from illness and misfortune ever since.
The largest cuttable Ruby weighed in at a huge 400 carat, it was found in Burma and divided into 3 parts. Many Rubies comprise important parts of royal insignia and other famous jewellery. The Bohemian St Wenzel’s crown (in Prague) for instance, holds an nonfaceted Ruby of about 250 carats.
Ruby should be part of every gem lover’s collection.