Ruby types

Ruby types

by Madubanti Rudra

Going to buy rubies? Read on the article below to learn about the classifications of this outstanding jewel to make an informed decision.

Are you in search of a unique gift to impress your Valentine? Or are you a person into many years of marriage who wants to add some spice to his love life? Are you looking for some unusual way for expressing love to the special person in your life? Whatever may be the case, say, “I love you” with a ruby and see the sparks fly instantly. This is a gem, which has often been equated with human passion of the highest level. What could be more expressive than letting a part of your thought be known through this remarkable gem? So if you want to share the warmth of your heart with the person you love or you wish to express your passion, make a ruby the conduit of your emotions. Since antiquity, this red member of the corundum family has been adored by Royals, as well as commoners for its blood red hues and flaming radiance. The original grade one rubies, which are rare to the point of extinction, often out price diamond of similar size.

If you want to learn about the types of rubies, you have to first understand the chemical composition of this magnificent stone. Rubies originate from the ore of Aluminum oxide or corundum. The hardness of ruby is measured 9 on Mohs scale and its specific gravity is 3.96 – 4.01. Its glow is due to its refractive index, which is 1.759 – 1.767 to 1.770 – 1.779. These qualities make the rubies especially suitable for jewellery making.

We borrow the name of ruby whenever we try to describe anything red. But you can find many variations in shades of red in this July birthstone. These variations are the result of the presence of inclusions in the stone. While the chromic oxide is responsible for the red hues, ferric oxide lends it yellowish tints. Intense reds in certain rubies are the function of titanium. You can even find rubies with pink, purple, orange and brown shades as a result of the presence of chromium and iron in varied degrees.

Apart from the color, it is the places of origin that accounts for the broader classification of rubies. If you are a gemstone enthusiast, you might know about the value of Burma rubies. Even if you are not, it is likely you might have heard about them. These are the rubies with the greatest fame and in optimum demand. Its fame stretches long back to the days of Marco Polo who has made a mention of these precious stones in his travel accounts.

You will find that the rubies mined in Thailand finish a close second in the race for the top position. However, more or less the same quality of rubies can also be found in the countries like Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Africa. They are similar in the sense, that they possess similar chemical as well as physical properties. Then how are they distinguished from each other? It is their unique shades that make them distinguishable according to their places of origin. Let us examine the discernible qualities of some of the world famous varieties of rubies.

Burmese rubies

Burma has been the source of the world’s most superior quality rubies. It is the fierce red displayed under any kind of light that makes these Burmese rubies one of the most coveted jewels in the world. The unique color in Burmese rubies is described as ‘pigeon’s blood’. The chromium impurities are accountable for this flaming red in Burmese rubies. The regions around Mogok in northern Burma and Mong-Hsu to the east of Mandalay are famous for ruby mining. Kinds of blemishes are the essential attributes of any natural stone. Burmese rubies contain the least of them. Sometimes they do come with inclusions in blue or pink shades.

Thai rubies

Next in order of quality, Thai rubies come second. Thai rubies come with rather darker undertones caused by the presence of iron along with chromium. Thus you find the Thai rubies with brownish to burgundy hues. Also known as Siam rubies, these of course are no match for their Burmese cousins. Most of them are heat-treated. Chantaburi and Trat provinces lying in the south-east of Bangkok are famous for ruby mining.

Sri-Lankan rubies

If you want a match for those gorgeous Burmese rubies you can some times find it in the Sri-Lankan rubies. These rubies with pink tints have a unique beauty of their own.

Vietnam rubies

Vietnamese rubies have a standard as high as Burmese rubies. Yen Bai and Nghe are two of the prime mines of Vietnam. They have an unpredictable supply.

Tanzania Rubies

In Tanzania, ruby deposits are found in regions near Songea. The color of these rubies resembles the garnet so closely that even jewelers are often baffled by their closeness. It has been noticed that the intensity of color diminishes with size. Therefore, the smaller the Tanzanian rubies are, the more they command price.

Madagascar rubies

Two regions in Madagascar; Andilamena and Vatomandry are recent additions in the world ruby mining map. Here ruby occurs in a large number of igneous rocks. Apply a little bit heat treatment and wow! They are almost equal to their Burmese cousins in beauty and vitality. They are special from the aspects of gemological and mineralogical properties too.

madagascar rubyThe deposit discovered in the Andilamena region is quite substantial and has been much into production of rubies in recent years. The rubies mined in the Vatomandry region do not require heat treatment. The rubies mined here are found in attractive crystal forms in shades of orange, red and pink.

Afghanistan rubies

Little is known about ruby mining in Afghanistan. However we find its reference in the writings of travelers as early as 951 A.D. Ibn Batuta, Al Biruni and Marco Polo discussed about ruby mining in Afghanistan in their travelogues. Balas ruby mines of Badakshan and Jagdalek appear to be authentic sources of rubies in Afghanistan. Not much is known about the gemological properties of Badakshan rubies. However the physical and chemical properties of Jagdalek rubies account for ruby crystals in faint colors to deep red. Often they are slightly purplish and strongly fluorescent. Occasionally violet rubies have been mined in these desolate mining regions. Afghanistan rubyAfghanistan Ruby image courtesy:

Synthetic rubies

Synthetic rubies are primarily of three types- doublets, Verneuil or flame fusion and flux grown.

This type of synthetic rubies are not much in vogue nowadays. However they make great gifts. Doublets are usually stones of imitation backing with a natural corundum crown, generally made out of green or white corundum. When viewed carefully the joint made with glue can be noticed.

Verneiul or flame fusion:
The name is attributed to the process of production. They are easily distinguishable from natural rubies. These synthetic rubies are typically characterized by certain curved color banding known as striae. You can also find inclusions in the form of gas bubbles in them.

Flux grown:
This is the synthetic variety that you can not easily distinguish from a real one. Molten flux is crystallized under specified conditions of temperature and pressure to produce these versions of synthetic rubies. The stones might develop fractures when the pressure is released. Different processes of flux-grown rubies produce different types of inclusions. Often inclusions resemble that of natural rubies.

Do you want to see the smiling face of your beloved? Then present her a gorgeous ruby and eternalize your love. The types of ruby described above will guide you through your purchase.