Home Knowledges The Ruby Gemstone: A Comprehensive Exploration

The Ruby Gemstone: A Comprehensive Exploration

by Madonna

The ruby gemstone, with its vivid red hue and historical significance, has captured the hearts and minds of people for centuries. Known as the “King of Gemstones,” rubies have been treasured for their exceptional beauty and mystical properties. In this article, we will explore the world of ruby gemstones, delving into their origins, characteristics, historical importance, and cultural significance.

The Birth of a Precious Gem

Rubies are a variety of the mineral corundum, which is primarily composed of aluminum oxide. What makes rubies distinct from other corundum varieties, such as sapphires, is their striking red color. The brilliant red hue of a ruby is attributed to the presence of chromium within the crystal lattice during its formation. The geological processes responsible for creating rubies are fascinating and involve a combination of heat, pressure, and specific mineral conditions.


How Rubies Are Formed?

Rubies are formed deep within the Earth’s crust, typically in metamorphic or igneous rock environments. These rocks provide the necessary conditions for the development of rubies, where intense heat and pressure facilitate the transformation of the mineral corundum into the brilliant red gemstone we admire. Over time, geological forces push these gemstone-bearing rocks closer to the Earth’s surface, allowing for their eventual discovery.


Ruby Mining Locations

The most renowned sources of rubies include Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Africa. Myanmar, in particular, has been the primary supplier of the finest quality rubies for centuries. The region of Mogok, in Myanmar, is often referred to as the “Valley of Rubies” and is synonymous with producing some of the most exquisite rubies in the world.


Characteristics of Ruby Gemstones

The following are the characteristics of ruby:

1. The Red of Passion

The most distinctive feature of a ruby is its rich red color, which is often described as “pigeon blood red.” The intensity and shade of red in a ruby can vary, and it is influenced by factors like the presence of chromium, as well as the presence of secondary hues such as purple or orange. A pure, vivid red is the most sought-after color for rubies, and it is considered a symbol of passion and love.

2. Exceptional Hardness

Rubies are among the hardest gemstones, with a Mohs hardness rating of 9. This exceptional hardness makes them highly resistant to scratches and abrasion, rendering them ideal for use in jewelry that can withstand the rigors of everyday wear.

See Also: Is Ruby a Hard Stone: Things You Need To Know

3. Inclusions and Clarity

While most rubies exhibit some inclusions (internal flaws) within their crystalline structure, these inclusions can impact the gem’s transparency and overall value. However, some rubies are found with minimal to no inclusions, and these are considered extremely rare and valuable. Inclusions are sometimes referred to as “silk” and can enhance the visual appeal of the gem by creating a beautiful phenomenon known as asterism, which results in a star-shaped pattern on the surface of the ruby.

4. Size and Carat Weight

The size and carat weight of rubies can vary significantly. Large rubies with exceptional color and clarity are extremely rare and can command astronomical prices in the gemstone market. Smaller rubies are more common and affordable, making them accessible to a wider range of consumers.

The historical significance of rubies

Here are the historical significance of rubies:

1. Ancient Reverence

Rubies have held a special place in human history and culture for centuries. In ancient cultures, rubies were believed to possess mystical properties and were associated with protection, passion, and power. The ancient Burmese, for example, believed that rubies were a source of invincibility.

2. Burma and the Ruby Throne

Rubies from Myanmar have long been associated with power and royalty. The Burmese monarchs believed that owning and wearing rubies granted them protection and authority. The throne of Burma was even referred to as the “Ruby Throne,” signifying the importance of this gemstone in the country’s history.

3. Religious and Spiritual Symbolism

In Hinduism, rubies have been linked to the sun god Surya and were thought to bestow prosperity, good health, and protection. The Bible also mentions rubies, highlighting their importance in various religious and cultural contexts.

The cultural significance of rubies

Here are the cultural significance of rubies:

1. Ruby as the July Birthstone

In modern times, rubies have been assigned as the birthstone for the month of July. This tradition is believed to have originated from the belief that rubies bring good fortune and protection to those born in this month. Many people wear ruby jewelry as a symbol of their birth month, and it is a popular choice for birthday gifts.

2. Engagement Rings

Rubies have been used in engagement rings for centuries, signifying love, passion, and commitment. While diamonds are the most popular choice for engagement rings, some couples opt for the distinctive beauty of rubies as an expression of their unique love story.

3. Fashion and Style

Ruby jewelry is a favorite among fashion enthusiasts and celebrities. The red color of rubies adds a touch of elegance and drama to any outfit. Ruby necklaces, earrings, and rings are often worn at glamorous events and red carpet occasions, making them a symbol of luxury and opulence.

Ruby Varieties and Famous Rubies

Rubies come in various varieties, each with its unique characteristics:

1. Burmese Ruby: Highly valued for their intense red color and exceptional clarity, Burmese rubies are considered among the world’s finest.

2. Pigeon Blood Ruby: This term is often used to describe the most coveted shade of red in a ruby, characterized by a pure, vivid color reminiscent of a pigeon’s blood.

3. Star Ruby: Star rubies are known for their unique asterism, which creates a star-like pattern on the surface when light is directed onto the gem. The star effect is caused by needle-like inclusions.

4. Ruby Cabochon: These rubies are cut in a smooth, rounded shape without facets, highlighting their color and inclusions. Cabochon-cut rubies are often used in rings and pendants.

5. Trapiche Ruby: These rare rubies exhibit a six-rayed star pattern and are highly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs.

Famous Rubies

Several famous rubies have gained worldwide recognition and hold historical significance:

1. The Sunrise Ruby: This Burmese ruby, known for its mesmerizing red color, sold at an auction for a record-breaking price, solidifying its place in history as one of the most valuable rubies ever sold.

2. The Red Cross Ruby: Gifted to the American Red Cross in 1949, this exceptional Burmese ruby was named in honor of the organization and its humanitarian efforts.

3. The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby: This star ruby, weighing over 138 carats, is renowned for its exceptional asterism and is considered one of the largest star rubies in the world.

Ruby Treatments and Enhancements

It’s important to be aware of the various treatments and enhancements that can affect rubies, as they can significantly impact their value and durability. Common treatments include heat treatment, fracture filling, and glass filling.

1. Heat Treatment

Many rubies are subjected to heat treatment to enhance their color and clarity. This treatment is widely accepted within the gemstone industry and can improve the overall appearance of the gem. However, it’s essential to disclose any heat treatments to potential buyers.

2. Fracture Filling and Glass Filling

Fracture filling involves filling surface-reaching fractures with a glass-like substance to improve the gem’s appearance. While this treatment can make rubies more appealing, it is not as widely accepted as heat treatment, and disclosure is critical.

Investing in Rubies

Rubies have long been considered a valuable investment due to their rarity and enduring allure. However, it’s essential to approach investing in rubies with caution and careful consideration. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

1. Quality Matters: The quality of the ruby, including its color, clarity, and size, greatly influences its value and potential for appreciation.

2. Certification: Ensure that any ruby you consider for investment comes with proper gemological certification from reputable laboratories. This documentation helps establish the gem’s authenticity and characteristics.

3. Market Trends: Stay informed about the trends and demand in the ruby market. Factors like political stability in producing countries can significantly impact the availability and value of rubies.

4. Diversification: If you plan to invest in gemstones, consider diversifying your investment portfolio with a range of gem types, rather than focusing solely on rubies.

5. Professional Advice: Consult with experienced gemstone experts or financial advisors who can provide guidance on making informed investment decisions.

See Also: Where to Buy Original Ruby Stone: What You Need To Know


The ruby gemstone, with its mesmerizing red hue, has held a special place in human history, culture, and the world of gemology. Its unique characteristics, cultural significance, and historical importance make it a captivating subject of fascination and admiration. Whether you are drawn to rubies for their beauty, their symbolism, or their investment potential, one thing is clear: the ruby remains a timeless and cherished gemstone that continues to capture the hearts of people around the world.


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