What is Ruby?
Ruby is a searing staple of the gemstone world. The red variety of corundum, what sets this gem apart from less prized jewels is ruby's inherent beauty. Ruby is known as ‘Ratnaraj,’ in Sanskrit, meaning “the king of gems.” Not surprisingly, ruby symbolism and lore is associated with authority, prosperity, and protection. It is believed that possession of a ruby benefits and protects the owner’s domains and assisted in the accumulation of wealth.
Determining Ruby Value
Is ruby valuable? The value of colored stones is typically determined by a combination of its color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. This is no different when determining what ruby is worth. These guidelines will help in choosing ruby stones for your collection.
- Ruby Color
Color is the most important factor when determining the value of a ruby gemstone. Red is the predominant color. All rubies receive their red color from the presence of chromium. Within this range of red color, you’ll find rubies with varying secondary tones, ranging from pink, purple, orange, and brown. Varying amounts of iron within the stone are responsible for this wide range of additional color.
A certain degree of color is expected within the stone, otherwise it’s considered to be a pink sapphire. Ruby should minimally possess a medium saturation of red color. Typically speaking, the darker the stone, the more valuable it’s considered to be. Tastes vary by culture, and many Asian countries consider pink stones to also be rubies. Western countries tend to make a stronger distinction between color when comparing ruby to pink sapphire.
Historically, the most expensive stones are Burmese rubies displaying the “pigeon blood red” color. These stones show a slight purplish red color with a vivid saturation and dark tone. However, when choosing a stone for your collection, it’s best to choose a color that appeals to you. With the variety of reds available, it’s possible to find a stone you’ll cherish for years.
- Ruby Clarity
Coming directly from the earth, it’s expected to find inclusions within rubies. Inclusions affect the value of the jewel in several ways. Extremely visible inclusions can reduce the value of the gem, especially if they reduce the transparency and brightness of the gem.
Some kinds of inclusions make rubies more valuable. The best example of this is asterism. Asterism is a particular arrangement of rutile inclusions that create a star effect in the gem. A very prominent star will increase the value of the stone, even if the stone doesn’t have a deeply saturated color.
- Ruby Cut
It’s possible to find ruby gems cut into many popular shapes. Ruby rough is often found in shallow, flat shapes. Oval and cushion shapes are popular cuts, as both maximize the available rough. Pear cuts are also common, as this shallow cut makes good use of the gem rough while providing the appearance of a larger finished stone.
- Ruby Carat
Affordable ruby stones are available in a variety of sizes to match most budgets. Larger sizes are definitely rarer, and a steep increase in price is seen as the weight of the stone increases.
Russian Charoite Treatment
- Burmese Ruby: Long considered the finest rubies known to humanity, Burmese rubies captivate with their life-affirming reds.
- John Saul Ruby: Hailing from Kenya, John Saul rubies helped put Kenya on the map as a leading source of stones.
- Kenyan Star Ruby: These special ruby gems are known for their unique inclusions, known as asterism. They create captivating star effects in these gemstones.
- Niassa Ruby: Frequently compared to Burmese sources, these ruby gems from Mozambique are popular for their vibrant red color.
Most gemstones undergo additional treatment to enhance their optical properties, and ruby is no exception. As one of the more popular gems on the market today, rubies are subject to more varieties of treatment than many other gems. There are four primary treatment methods that we apply to ruby stones.
The most common ruby treatment method is heating. This treatment improves the color of the stone and may also improve its clarity. Heating is a very stable and reliable method of enhancing a gemstone.
Experts estimate that up to 95-percent of rubies have undergone heat treatment. Unless another treatment method has been used, it’s best to assume that heating has occurred. It’s the least intrusive method used in treatment, and only a trained gemmologist or laboratory can detect heating. Only extremely high-temperatures can damage heat-treated rubies.
Fissure filling is another common treatment method. The treatment fills small irregularities on the surface of the gem with an epoxy resin or oil. This improves the clarity of the stone. Fracture filling is carefully regulated to make sure sellers are in compliance.
This enhancement is fairly stable and can only be detected by gem labs or trained experts. Excess heat can damage the filling material, as can exposure to chemicals.
Another fairly common method of treating rubies is lattice diffusion. In lattice diffusion, rubies undergo heating in the presence of a coloring material, often beryllium. The coloring agent creates or improves existing color in the gemstones.
Only excessive heating should spoil lattice diffusion. Because of the nature of the treatment, stones suffer damage from repolishing as this can strip away the surface layer of color. Specialized equipment and knowledge is required to identify lattice diffusion in a ruby.
One of the newest methods for treating rubies is flux assisted partial fissure healing (FAPFH). The treatment enhances the clarity of the stone in a similar way to fissure filling, and both methods appear similar on a surface level.
FAPFH stands apart from fissure filling in its stability. The fissure healing process is more stable, as the fissures of the gem are healed with a synthetic corundum bonding agent. As the stones are heated, fissures close, or “heal.”
Caring for Ruby
Rubies are one of the easiest stones to care for, and only require minimal care. Combined with the stone’s durability, ruby is one of the best stones to consider for daily wear jewelry.
Shop LC recommends basic jewelry care for ruby jewelry. You only need a bowl of lukewarm water, a drop of liquid dishwashing soap, a soft brush, and a soft cloth for drying. You only need to clean your ruby jewelry when it looks dirty. If stones are treated with any method other than heating, avoid ultrasonic and steam cleaners. They can damage the stone beyond repair.
Ranking nine on the Mohs scale of hardness, a ruby is one of the hardest materials on the planet. This provides the stone excellent resistance to scratching or abrasion. Rubies also possess an excellent toughness, meaning they are very resistant to chipping or breakage from bumps and dings. Stones with treated fractures may be less durable, and careful handling is recommended for any jewelry piece.
Store your jewelry in a safe place, like a jewelry box, when it’s not being worn. As a hard stone, store ruby gems separate from other jewels to avoid damaging them.
Who Can Wear Ruby?
Shades of red are always in style, making ruby an excellent choice for gemstone jewelry. Anyone who craves opulent luxury will appreciate the bright and dazzling tones of ruby. Many favor red against a neutral background of black or white, letting the gem steal the show.
Reds always have a place in seasonal color palettes. It’s a passionate symbol of life that communicates a vivacious nature. Lovers of vivid shades of red will find that rubies are a must-have for their jewelry box. No doubt, even the pickiest fashionista will enjoy choosing their favorite from the varieties available at Shop LC.
How Does Russian Charoite Compare to Other Purple Stones?
Rubies are prized for their brilliant red tone! Sometimes ruby draws a comparison to garnet. However, the red coloration will be lighter than the reds one finds in garnets.
Gem quality ruby displays a color range of pure red to a darker purple-red color. Burmese ruby, perhaps the most famous ruby gemstone, is best known for its prized ‘pigeon blood’ color that is present in its most beautiful specimens.
Despite the differences, all of varieties of ruby have the potential to display comparable shades of red. Origin alone won’t dictate the color potential within any single gem.
Where Does Ruby Come From?
Rubies occur throughout the world. Some of the most famous stones come from mines in Kenya, Madagascar, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Thailand. Shop LC partners with vendors across the globe in sourcing the finest and most affordable ruby stones.
How is Ruby Mined?
Ruby mining techniques vary from location-to-location. Many miners combine artisanal and mechanized processes depending on a variety of factors, such as terrain, weather conditions, labor experience and more!
What Does Ruby Mean?
Ruby is a stone of passion. Many gem therapists view ruby as a stone that stimulates circulation and amplifies energy and vitality to the whole system. It is believed to promote a clear mind, increase focus and motivation, and bring a sense of authority, self-confidence and determination in the wearer.
In addition to physical passion, ruby is a stone of romantic love. Crystal healers tell that it improves one’s luck in matters of the heart. It encourages openness and communication in relationships.
For informational purposes only. These remedies, approaches, and techniques are not a substitute for professional medical care or treatment. They should not be used to treat any ailment without prior consultation with a qualified health care professional.
Is Ruby a Birthstone?
Ruby is the modern birthstone for July. This fascinating gemstone is a great option when choosing birthstone jewelry as a gift, or just a for yourself.
Ruby is also a traditional anniversary gift for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.
- Ruby ranks nine on the Mohs scale of hardness.
- Discover ruby at Shop LC in a color ranges from pure red to a darker purple-red color.
- Shop LC sources the supply of Ruby from worldwide sources.
- In the ancient language of Sanskrit, Ruby is called Ratnaraj, or “King of Precious Stones.”