A ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone.
The name “ruby” comes from the Latin word ruber, which means red.
It is one of only six types of precious gemstones found on planet earth, sharing prestigious company with diamonds, opals, sapphires, emeralds, and pearls.
Most people don’t realize that ruby and sapphire are both gems of the mineral corundum. They differ only in small amounts of color-producing minerals. Chromium gives rubies their characteristic red color, with higher concentrations producing darker shades.
The world’s largest supplier of rubies is Myanmar, where 90% of the world’s rubies come from. Other sources are Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, and Afghanistan.
The Republic of Macedonia is the only country in mainland Europe to have naturally occurring rubies.
A few rubies have been found in the US states of Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wyoming.
Rubies, like all colored gemstones, are graded using four basic parameters–the four Cs of connoisseurship: color, clarity, cut and carat weight.
The brightest and most valuable shade of red called blood-red or pigeon blood, commands a large premium over other rubies of similar quality.
Rubies (and sapphires) have a hardness of 9.0 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Among the natural gems, only diamond is harder.
Ruby, together with sapphire and emerald, form the “big three” of colored stones. The “big three” generate more economic activity than all other colored stones combined.
Rubies occasionally show an internal, star-like formation called asterism. These are called “star rubies” and, because asterism is rare, they can be more valuable than regular rubies.
The fiery and captivating ruby is a stone of nobility, considered the most magnificent of all gems, the queen of stones and the stone of kings. Ancients believed it surpassed all other precious stones in virtue, and its value exceeded even that of the Diamond.
Early cultures treasured rubies for their similarity to the redness of the blood that flowed through their veins, and believed that rubies held the power of life.
Historical records indicate that rubies were being sold along the Silk route in China as early as 200 BC.
Rubies are mentioned four times in the Bible, in association with attributes like beauty and wisdom.
In the ancient language of Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj, or “king of precious stones.”
Rubies have always been held in high esteem in Asian countries. They were used to ornament armor, scabbards, and harnesses of noblemen in India and China.
Strength, courage, vitality, happiness, confidence, etc. are some of the other meanings associeted with this birthstone.
In modern times it has become a symbol of deep and profound love.
The Sunrise Ruby is the world’s most expensive Ruby, most expensive colored gemstone, and most expensive gemstone other than a diamond. In May 2015, it sold at auction in Switzerland to an anonymous buyer for US$30 million.
The largest ruby weighs 21,955 g (48 lbs 6.43 oz) and measures 310 x 165 x 140 mm (12.20 x 6.49 x 5.51 in) owned by Rajiv Golcha (India) officially measured in Bangalore, India, on 3 June 2009. The Ruby has been named “The King Ruby” and is held in the Prestige Gems & Jewels showroom in India.
Today, ruby engagement rings are popular as it stands for eternal love and devotion.
In antiquity rubies were considered to be perfect wedding stones.
Ruby is the birthstone associated with the month of July.
It is the anniversary stone of the 15th and 40th anniversary.