Where Rubies are found
Red is the
For thousands of years, the ruby has been considered one of the most valuable gemstones on Earth. It has everything a precious stone should have: magnificent
For a long
Today, rubies still decorate the insignia of many royal households. But are they really all genuine rubies? Read on to find out more!
Only a little bit of chrome …
Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, one of the hardest minerals on Earth, of which the sapphire is also a variety. Pure corundum is
Up to that time, red garnets or spinels were also thought to be rubies. (That, indeed, is why the ‘Black Ruby’ and the ‘Timur Ruby’, two of the British Crown Jewels, were so
Ruby, this magnificent red variety from the
But at the same
Some rubies display a wonderful silky shine, the so-called ‘silk’ of the ruby. This phenomenon is caused by very fine needles of rutile. And now and then one of the rare star rubies is found. Here too, the mineral rutile is involved: having formed a star-shaped deposit within the ruby, it causes a captivating light effect known by the experts as asterism. If rubies of this kind are cut as half-dome shaped cabochons, the result is a six-spoked star which seems to glide magically across the surface of the stone when the latter is moved. Star rubies are precious rarities.
Their value depends on the beauty and attractiveness of the
Ruby-red means passion
Red for ruby. Ruby-red. The most important thing about this precious stone is its colour. It was not for no reason that the name ‘ruby’ was derived from the Latin word ‘rubens’, meaning ‘red’. The red of the ruby is incomparable: warm and fiery. Two magical elements are rubyassociated with the symbolism of this colour: fire and blood, implying warmth and life for mankind.
So ruby-red is not just any old colour, no, it is absolutely undiluted, hot, passionate, powerful colour. Like no other gemstone, the ruby is the perfect way to express powerful feelings. Instead of symbolising a calm, controlled affection, a ring set with a precious ruby bears witness to that passionate, unbridled love that people can feel for each other.
Birthplaces of fine rubies
Which is the most beautiful ruby-red? Good question. The red of a ruby may involve very different nuances depending on its origin. The range of those nuances is quite wide, and could perhaps be compared to hotel categories, from luxury accommodation down to a plain inn or hostel. For example, if the gemstone experts refer to a ‘Burmese ruby’, they are talking about the top luxury category. However, it does not necessarily follow that the stone is of Burmese origin. It is basically an indication of the fact that the colour of the ruby in question is that typically shown by stones from the famous deposits in Burma (now Myanmar): a rich, full red with a slightly bluish hue.
The colour is sometimes referred to as ‘pigeon-blood-red’, but the term ‘Burmese colour’ is a more fitting description.
A connoisseur will immediately associate this colour with the legendary ‘Mogok Stone Tract’ and the gemstone centre of Mogok in the North of Myanmar. Here, the country’s famous ruby deposits lie in a mountain valley surrounded by high peaks. Painstakingly, gemstones of an irresistible luminosity are brought to light in the ‘valley of the rubies’. Unfortunately, really fine qualities are quite rare even here. rubyThe colour of a Burmese ruby is regarded as exceptionally vivid. It is said to display its unique brilliance in any light, be it natural or artificial.
The journey to the world’s most important ruby deposits takes us further on to the small town of Mong Hsu in the North-East of Myanmar, where the
Today, the Mong Hsu gemstone mines are still among the most important ruby suppliers. In the main, they offer heat-treated rubies in commercial qualities and sizes between 0.5 and 3 carats.
Ruby deposits also exist in neighbouring Vietnam, near the Chinese border. Rubies of Vietnamese origin generally display a slightly purplish hue. Rubies from Thailand, another classical supplier, however, often have a darker red which tends towards brown. This ‘Siamese colour’ – an elegantly muted deep red – is considered second in beauty only to the Burmese colour, and is especially popular in the USA. Ceylon rubies, which have now become very rare, are mainly light red, like ripe raspberries.
Other ruby deposits are located in Northern Pakistan in the Hunza Valley, Kashmir, Tadzhikistan, Laos, Nepal, and Afghanistan. But rubies are also produced
Lately, people have begun to talk about East Africa as a source of rubies. Straight after their discovery in the 1960s, rubies from Kenya and Tanzania surprised the experts by their beautiful, strong colour, which may vary from light to dark red. But in the African mines
Colour above (almost) everything
As we have said, colour is a ruby’s most important feature. Its transparency is only of secondary importance. So inclusions do not impair the rubyquality of a ruby unless they decrease the transparency of the stone or are located right in the centre of its table. On the contrary: inclusions within a ruby could be said to be its ‘fingerprint’, a statement of its individuality and, at the same time, proof of its genuineness and natural origin. The cut is essential: only a perfect cut will underline the beauty of this valuable and precious stone in a way befitting the ‘king of the gemstones’.
However, a really perfect ruby is as rare as perfect love. If you do come across it, it will cost a small fortune. But when you have found ‘your’ ruby, don’t hesitate: hang on to it!
Original Text courtesy of ICA
MOHS HARDENESS SCALE
9 / 10
SPECIFIC GRAVITY WEIGHT
3.97 to 4.05