Ruby Facts and Buying Guide
by Sheweta Dhanuka
It is found in all shades of red however deep red colour is the preferred choice. The distribution of colour is mostly uneven that might be stripes or spots, supposed as pigeon’s blood, clear red with a trace of blue. The basic red colour mostly also comprises overtones of other colours.
Ruby, the ‘lord of gems’ is one amongst the twelve precious stones God produced while creating life. Its name is derived from the Latin word ruber or rubrum that means red. It is the most valued gem hence in Sanskrit language, referred as ratnaraj that means “king of precious stones” and also ratnanayaka meaning “leader of precious stones.” It is the birthstone for those born in the month of July.
Real rubies produced by Mother Nature are extremely rare and very expensive. Therefore, artificially red colored rubies are created by man made methods that are relatively quite cheap. Sometimes, few clever buyers sell these cheap stones at the price of the original gemstone. In order to avoid all future surprises buyers should ensure the credibility of the dealers. The seller must inform the buyers about the gemstone treatments and origin clearly. He/she should also give the certificate of authenticity along with the gem at the time of purchase to the buyer. This article is written with the intension to provide the gemstone lovers with all possible facts and information about the valuable red colored precious gem. This content would acquaint the buyers with the essential know-how about this remarkable gemstone.
Colour – It is an extremely important characteristic. Being the member of mineral corundum (aluminum oxide) family, this exquisite gemstone owes its pure red colour to chromium element present in the chemical composition. Brightness and intensity of red colour increases with the increase of chromium. True and genuine gem possess intense saturated pure red colour with no tinge of either brown or blue. The glow of red colour is similar to that of burning coal. This amazing gemstone holds its beautiful colour in all light variations.
It is found in all shades of red however deep red colour is the preferred choice. The distribution of colour is mostly uneven that might be stripes or spots, supposed as pigeon’s blood, clear red with a trace of blue. The basic red colour mostly also comprises overtones of other colours. Colour variations are different in each single stone that is no two stones have similar overtones. Few commonly seen overtones are red with yellowish to orange tones or blue to purple tones. All these colour variations complements the main colour and gives amiable look to the gemstone.
Clarity – Second important characteristic is the transparency. It is the known fact that inclusions are always unwanted but with this gemstone it is different!! Certainly it is undesirable to have inclusions however these act as the certificate for the genuineness of the gem. All original rubies would consist of flaws. Chromium is liable for imperfections within the structure of the gemstone. The colour increases in direct proportion with the amount of chromium in the chemical composition and so is the clarity. The biggest difference lies; colour is positive trait while clarity becomes negative. Chromium results in large number of fractures and infinitesimal indiscretion inside the crystals. This is the reason why this marvelous gemstone always consists lots of defects. Ruby without any inclusion is miracle of the nature and thus it is priced as high as sky.
Cut – Beauty of the stone lies in the hands of the cutter. The final look is dependent on the cut being given to the gem. With the perfect cut, the stone could appear bigger in size in spite of being less in weight. It is often offered mixed cut, that is by and large oval, but could be round or any other shape like square, rectangle etc. Ruby beads or cabochons are also extensively seen in the jewelry market.
Carat Weight – It is found mostly in small sizes and less carat weight. Gemstones beyond 3 carat in weight are exceptionally rare and scarce in nature. This captivating gem is priced very high per carat and when it is more than 3 ctw then the price per carat weight gets doubled making it enormously pricey.
Price – At present this entrancing gemstone fetches maximum price than all other gemstones even the price paid for diamonds. The reasons are many like rarity, scarcity and exceptional features etc. Overall it is the expensive gem and further the price is determined on the basis of origin, colour, clarity and carat weight. Stones from Myanmar are the most sought after and treated as luxury stones. Then comes Thailand and Sri Lanka followed by other parts of the world. Pure intense red colour, minimum flaws and high carat weight are the pinnacle points in terms of price determinant. Financial value of the gem increases with the increase in these points. Original gems possessing all the summit points at the auctions outdo every other thing.
Few high quality gemstones exhibit unique phenomena of six-point star pattern, called asterism. It is caused due to fine rutilum needles present in structure along the crystal facets. When light is reflected from these needles the stones displays the star pattern. Such gems are over and over again fashioned into even cabochon cuts to best flaunt the phenomena. Further, when seen under a complimentary light source the star gives the impression of moving from one corner to the other corner of the stone with the change in the lighting angle. These gems are called as ‘Star Rubies’. It is rare in nature and very expensive. These gems must show varied rays and the star should be visible in the center of the stone. Price is determined in the order of – beauty, attractive colour and last the transparency.
Source – Myanmar has been the prime source of preeminent ruby for many years. Mines at Mogok are the oldest mines for this gemstone. The special feature of strong fluorescence is exhibited when exposed to sunlight by the stones procured from this country. Slight pink reddish colored gems are also obtained from the renowned mines. Thailand is the second largest producer of fine quality gems consisting bright red colour. Few Thai gems produce phenomenon of extinction that is black reflections. Sri Lanka comes next in the list. Rubies acquired are fine-looking and habitually seizes pinkish or pastel tint.
This red beauty is procured from many other parts of the world for example Afghanistan, Pakistan, Australia, Pamir Mountains of the Commonwealth of Independent States, few states of United States and Greenland. African and some more Asian countries also contribute some amount of this precious gem to the world gemstone market. Gemstones with minimum or negligible clarity are found in Karnataka and Orissa state of India.
Enhancements – Enhancement is common for this divine gemstone. It is treated to enhance the colour and improve the clarity. Man-made dyes are used to augment the colour while surface fractures are hidden through coatings. An ordinary coating does not last for long. Thermal enhancement is considered constant and everlasting. Under this process, the chemical like sodium tetraborate powder is melted under very high temperature and coated on the surface of the stone. The liquid chemical enters the fractures and covers it up. After sometime, the chemical solidifies as an amorphous solid and hides all the flaws. The international gem and jeweler trade acknowledges this treatment.
Imitations – Gemstone markets are flooded with imitations of this pretty gem. The synthetic stones look exactly identical to the original stones that it is almost impossible to spot the real gemstone. However one very simple tip is, natural rubies possess imperfections within it while the fake stones are created as perfect stones without any defects. Apart from this tip, either gemological testing or truthfulness of the seller could depict the originality of the gemstone. Black Ruby, Timur Ruby and many more such trade names are the faulty names created by the swindle dealers to mislead the buyers with poor quality red spinels or garnets at the high price of original rubies. Therefore, buyers should confirm about the reputation and reliability of the gemstone dealer. Only after 100% satisfaction the final purchase should be made in order to avoid upcoming bombshells.
Use – This fabulous gem is widely used for making charismatic jewelries in every corner of the globe. All the ornaments holding ruby are made with 14K or 18K yellow gold, white gold and platinum. Sterling silver can also be used but for such classy high priced gemstone it is seldom used moreover, it is not advisable. The stone used is less than three carat in weight. It is very well paired with diamonds to create breath taking rings, pendent, earrings and bracelets. In pairing, ruby is large in size or in the leading position while diamonds are placed in a way to emphasize the beauty of main stone.
Today, the jewelry designers’ craft attractive earrings variety like stud earrings, hoop earrings and drop earrings. Stud earrings comprise of single large size stone to give royal look. Drop earrings embrace small stones less than two-carat weight as this variety offers sophisticated glance. Pendent and necklace are also available in eye-catching designs to harmonize the neck of the female. At present rings with ruby are embraced by females all over the world especially modern brides. Rings with ornately hued rubies along with diamonds in platinum or white gold are the prime liking for the wedding, anniversary and engagement rings as it articulates a woman’s only one of its kind persona.
After rings it is bracelets in the selection to complement the delicacy of women’s wrist. Same as rings it also includes unrivaled pairing of this gorgeous gem with diamonds. At the time of purchase the buyers should look for the right width of the bracelet. The gap between the bracelet and wrist must ideally be one finger width. It should not be too long else it would seize the attire and lay strain on the hinge joints and if too short then it would be uncomfortable and injure links and joints.
Precautions – It is red variety of the corundum mineral; one of the hardest minerals found on the earth crust therefore, it is tough and durable gemstone. It rates 9 Mohs on the scale of mineral hardness. The hardness rate specifies that this astonishing gemstone is ideal for daily wear jewelry and can easily withstand all the odds like sudden temperature changes, ultrasonic home cleaner and so on. Unquestionably it is a sturdy gemstone but at the same time it is a valuable asset for the lifetime. It would be treasure in the time to come therefore all general gemstone precautions and care should be put into practice. The jewelries holding this beautiful gem must be protected from hard blows and hits. In order to sustain the natural glow of the stone avoid wearing it while working with household cleaning agents and harsh chemicals etc. Most important, always protect your ruby or its jewelry from theft and damage. With these small steps one could retain the priceless gemstone longer than the expected lifetime.
Beliefs – Red colour of this splendid stone symbolizes ardent and rampant love between two people. It is also associated with fire and blood that refers to warmness and liveliness in life. It is believed to stave off bad dreams when kept under the pillow. It should be worn in left hand to boost its power of protection. It helps the wearer in finding true friendship and love. It also lends a hand to the wearer in overcoming negative traits such as apprehension, depression and anxiety. It proffers confidence and zeal towards life and assists in attaining opulence and authority.
As it is allied with blood it is thought to enhance the blood circulations and heal the pain from related illness. It abets in purification of blood through sanitization and removal of infection or germs. It is even believed to reinforce neurological tissues around the heart. Astrologers recommend politicians and people involved in administrative work to wear this gem in left hand. Females who have miscarriages are suggested to wear this extraordinary gemstone ring to avoid such unfortunate misshapenness in future. All these effects could be experienced only when the wearer wears the original ruby. The ideal weight and size of the stone varies from person to person. It is determined on the basis of height and weight of the wearer.
Red colour of this fascinating gemstone symbolizes love, warmth and passion. It truly deserves to be well thought-out as king of gemstone as it acquires all it takes for the same such as influential appearance, radiant colour, outstanding hardness and an irresistible brilliance. Hence to own the king, be prepared to spend like a king!!!!
|Chemical Composition||Aluminum oxide with chromium and the chemical formula is Al2O3,Cr.|
|Colours||All shades of red with hue of blue, brown, yellow and orange.|
|Specific Gravity||3.96 to 4.01|
|Solid State||Transparent to Opaque|
|Fractures||Uneven or conchoidal|
|Source||Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Australia, USA, India, Nepal and other African countries.|
|Precautions||All general gemstone precautions and care.|