Rubies are precious gemstones that have become a rare stone in modern times in sizes over 2 to 3 carats. Rubies are a deep and lustrous red color and formed from Corundum, one of the hardest minerals on earth. Sapphires are also formed from Corundum and come in many different shades or colors. Rubies, however, are only red and will either be a lovely deep red shade, a pinkish-red shade known to have a brilliant shine or a fairly dull brownish red shade.
There are a couple of different types of rubies that are considered exceptional, rare and run several thousands to millions of dollars. The Burmese Ruby is mined from the country of Burma and has a deep red coloring with a bluish hue to it. They may also be known as a Pigeon’s Blood Ruby in some parts of the world. The Burmese Ruby is the most valuable of all rubies.
A Star Ruby is a polished ruby that looks like a cabochon that shows asterism. Asterism looks like fine lines thrown from center of stone in a star like presence. Star Rubies can also throw a twelve start streak, however, this is a very rare finding in rubies. Star Rubies are more valuable than most normal ruby stones. The more transparent the ruby is, the more valuable it is considered to be.
The most valuable rubies have been found in Burma, but rubies have also been mined in Madagascar, Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Tanzania, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Australia, Thailand and in the state of North Carolina in the United States. The source of rubies in Thailand dried up in the 1980’s and today Madagascar is one of the leading countries in mining rubies of a good quality.
While some rubies are not perfect in color, they can be treated with heat to a more desirable shade of red. Brownish-red rubies are an example of a color of ruby that may be treated with heat for better color and clarity by removing the brown shades. Heat treatment can be performed by an experienced gemologist or jeweler to change the color or take out small inclusions that cause a stone to have a lower quality rating and value.
Another treatment for lower quality rubies is called “fracture-fill.” Fracture fill is accomplished by heating the gemstone, in this case a ruby, in molten lead glass because of the refractive qualities similar also in rubies with refraction. This procedure hides or helps to conceal the flaws or inclusions in the stone. By using the fracture-fill procedure, it reduces the value of the gemstone and only an experienced jeweler can tell when a gemstone has been treated. This is a very good reason to always buy precious and semi-precious gemstones from a very reputable jeweler.
Because of the magnificent beauty of rubies, the hardness and durability of the stones and rarity, rubies can cost more than fine exquisite diamonds. Rubies rank at a number 9 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness with only a diamond being a harder gemstone.
Rubies are the birthstone for the month of July, the Sun Sign or Star Sign of Cancer. In the modern world we recognize birthstones by the month a person was born. Birthstones however, can be traced back to the Breastplate of Aaron in Biblical times. The breastplate was made from twelve different gemstones that represented the twelve tribes of Israel that also represented the zodiac signs of this time period. Years ago, a person’s birthstone was determined by the individual’s zodiac sign.
Rubies were considered a “royal” stone many years ago. The gemstone was one that drew attention because of the beauty, rarity, and cost. The average or common person could not afford a ruby. Many crowns and scepters of Kings and Queens of the Middle East were adorned with rubies and other gemstones. Rubies were also a favorite stone for pieces of jewelry such as rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets because the rubies were easily noticed and impressive to the onlookers.
During the Middle Ages, gemstones were thought to have healing powers. The ruby was said to cure indigestion if ground up into fine particles and placed on the tongue. Rubies were also worn to ward off evil spirits and symbolized good health for the person wearing a ruby. As the years passed, these stories were passed along to relatives from generation to generation and the stories changed as years went by. Rubies were also known to provide integrity, deep devotion and overall happiness to the wearer.
In today’s world rubies symbolize health, wealth, wisdom and romance. They are also said to give the person wearing this beautiful gemstone a great imagination and creativity. As you can see, the story has changed about the symbolism of the ruby in today’s world. One thing is for sure, the one lucky enough to be wearing a nice ruby gemstone, is going to be blessed!