Ruby - The King of Gemstone
Ruby is a spectacular red-colored gemstone belonging to the corundum crystal family. Sapphires are corundum too, but the vivacious red color of this stone sets it apart from sapphires. The color of the stone ranges from pinkish red to purplish red. A deep, dark, vibrant red is preferred by most people. It is the most durable stone after diamond, with a 9 score on the mohs scale. Ruby has earned a place among the four cardinal gemstones.The name of the stone originated from a Latin word "ruber" that means "red". It gets its color from the chromium element present inside. The price of rubies per carat turns out to be the highest among all colored gemstones.
Occurrence and properties of the July Birthstone Ruby
The world’s finest rubies come from its earliest producer, Burma (Myanmar). But they are also mined in Mozambique, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Tanzania, India, Australia, Madagascar, Malawi, Pakistan, the United States, and Vietnam.
- Rubies from Myanmar are world famous, for their finest quality. They have silk inclusions and red fluorescence that give them their deep red color. The Burmese rubies come in pigeon blood color or crimson color.
- Rubies from Mozambique are dark and deep red. It lacks florescence and appears eye-clean.
- Sri Lanka produces pink and purple rubies. It is the gem capital market of the world and thus has a huge export trade in rubies and other stones.
- Thailand is known for its high clarity and deep red "Siamese" color rubies. In earlier times, local farmers in Thailand used the stone as amulets and talismans. They have existed for centuries, but mining did not start until 1895. The color of the stone is darker as compared to other countries. They come without silk inclusions. Many of their mining deposits are depleted, but Thailand still remains the focal point, with Bangkok and Chanthaburi as the world’s major cutting, treatment, and marketing centers.
- Cambodia rubies are similar to Thai rubies; they are deep dark red, without florescence due to high iron, and appear eye-clean.
- Thanks to the Mozambique orogenic belt, Tanzania is known for being a treasure house of gems. They have a lower percentage of rubies but are of the highest quality, very clear and very red. They lack florescence and have blue color zoning.
- Vietnam produces marble rubies. They have high fluorescence, diffused light, and colors ranging from red to purple to pink color. Their characteristics are similar to those of Burmese rubies. They are cabochon and not faceted.
- Madagascar rubies are clear and dark. They are heat treated because of color zoning. You can also find fine quality rubies that are untreated.
Ancient Charms About Ruby
Manifold Symbolism for the Ancients
Rubies’ history reflects extreme passion for its highly honored and coveted splendor by not only royalty but explorers, collectors, and warriors. Ruby also made them feel powerful as it brought health, wisdom, and protection to their owner. In earlier times, people equated rubies with love, rage, and passion because of hue similar to blood. Ancient cultures said the stone protected the wearer by turning black in color on spotting evil around them. Even the stone has its mention eight times in the bible.
Roman scholar Pliny described the ruby as "gentle fire" with a brilliant luster. For the ancients, the virtue of rubies was above and beyond all other gemstones.
However, rubies at this time were also often confused with other similar-looking stones, such as garnet, spinel, and other red semi-precious stones. So many fairly famous rubies have been discovered to not be rubies at all. One of the most famous examples of such a phenomenon is the Black Prince’s Ruby, set in the Imperial State Crown of Britain. It was later discovered that the red stone set in the center is a red spinel.
Rubies in Ancient Burma
Rubies were first discovered in 2500 BC in Mangok, Mayanmar (Burma). This was a time when large rubies were ordered to be taken to the ruler of Burma and they used to become their property immediately. The Burmese inserted rubies into their flesh before the battle, believing that this would protect them from enemy attack.
Rubies in Ancient India
Ruby has its strong roots in India as well, where it has been known as "ratanraj", which is translated as "King of Gemstones". They divided gemstones into four castes and classified the highest quality Oriental ruby under the Brahmin caste. As per Hindu mythology, offering rubies to Lord Krishna was considered the highest and it was believed that this would result in the best things in the next life.
Rubies in Ancient China
The Chinese would gift rubies, signaling the deep friendship. And Chinese warriors had rubies adorned on their swords so that they would be safe and secure.
Rubies in Royal Court
During the Renaissance, rubies became part of the court as well. King Henry VIII, in one of his well-known portraits, can be seen wearing a necklace set with multiple large-sized rubies and pearls. The portrayal is an indication of how much the royals must have loved and treasured the stone. European royalty in middle ages paid a very high price in order to have exceptional quality rubies.
The nobles of every country desired and owned rubies. They had them as the centerpiece of jewelry pieces, crowns, and tiaras. The Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, King of Hungary from 1572-1608, was also a decent lapidary and had a keen interest in gemstones and their healing abilities. A ruby the size of a hen’s egg was found in his collection of stones.
The royal families of Britain gave and received rubies as gifts on special occasions like weddings and engagements. Antony Armstrong-Jones had a flower bud shaped ruby and diamond engagement ring made for her fiance, Princess Margaret, in 1960. Twenty-five years later, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, also received a floral ruby engagement ring from Prince Andrew. Both are quite popular for their extraordinary quality and color.
Modern Royals and Rubies
Queen Elizabeth had a huge collection of ruby jewelry including tiaras, brooches, necklaces, and earrings. So many of them have been inherited by Queen Elizabeth II and passed from her to Camillia, Duchess of Cornwall, and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. Queen Elizabeth II kept some of her favorite pieces, which include a ruby tiara with a floral design, a cluster and drop ruby necklace, a pair of ruby pendant earrings, and four remarkable ruby brooches. In 1973, the Queen’s Elizabeth Burmese ruby tiara set with 96 rubies was one of the most loved ruby jewels. It was a wedding present from Burma given to the Queen.
Ruby has been a significant stone in both the religious world and the materialistic world. It has been used as an offering to God and also in life’s important events to display materiel wealth. Spiritually, the stone has been a healer in the form of a talisman and a symbol of love in relationships. The vibrant stone is the most versatile in its usage, and that is probably the reason it is called the "King of Gemstones" in a real sense.
This rich stone can be obtained in form of Ruby Rings, Ruby Earrings, Ruby Bracelets or Ruby Necklaces from Rosec Jewels. With best quality and fine making, you can see ruby adorned in variety of styles and cut.