It doesn’t matter if your astrological sign is Cancer or Leo, if your birthday is in July, then you share the same birthstone…a red ruby. Known as the “King of Gemstones”, the ruby is not only stunningly beautiful but also symbolizes romance, prosperity, generosity and devotion.
What is ruby?
Ruby is the most valuable variety of the corundum mineral species, which also includes sapphire. In its purest form, the mineral corundum is colorless. Trace elements that become part of the mineral’s crystal structure cause variations in its color. Chromium is the trace element that causes ruby’s red, which ranges from an orangy red to a purplish red. The strength of ruby’s red depends on how much chromium is present—the more chromium, the stronger the red color. Chromium can also cause fluorescence, which adds to the intensity of the red color. (www.gia.com)
Where are Rubies Found?
Rubies are found in many places including Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Vietnam, Mozambique, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Tanzania
Rubies have been used through out the ages to mark special moments. For example, rubies have a long history in England of being used in royalty coronation rings. Romans would also wear them into battle for protection. In Japan, the ruby is worn to insure lifelong health, increase energy and overcome exhaustion. Some even believe they have a calming effect and can help prevent nightmares and feelings of panic.
Celebrities and Rubies
Why not match your jewelry to that red carpet?! The beauty of rubies is not lost on todays celebrities. Many an A-lister has been seen sporting these firey gems – even as engagement rings!
Speaking of celebrity rubies, does anyone else’s mind wander here when you think ruby?
MGM used sequins on the shoes used for movie production. However, to celebrate the movie’s golden anniversary, Ronald Winston of the House of Harry Winston recreated the slippers with real rubies, 1,350 carats of it from 4,600 pieces, to be exact. He also added 50 carats of diamonds for good measure. The shoes took two months to finish, and when it was finally done, the result was just over the rainbow. Only the movie’s lead star, Judy Garland, has gotten the honor of wearing the most expensive pair of shoes in the world. www.therichest.com
Anyway, we digress. Back to jewelry!
How to Buy a Ruby
Like diamonds, rubies are evaluated using the 4Cs. The most important feature of a ruby is its red color, as other hues of this gem species are considered sapphire. The finest ruby is a vibrant purplish red, losing value (and classification as a ruby) as it leans toward brown, orange or even pink.
Rubies also require good transparency. Opaque rubies are much less valuable, even if they display cat’s eye or asterism.
Lower quality rubies are heat treated to improve color saturation and minimize inclusions, making these varieties more affordable. www.americangemsociety.org
How to Care for Ruby Jewelry
Corundum (ruby and sapphire) is relatively hard – 9 on the Mohs scale. It has excellent toughness and no cleavage (tendency to break when struck). This makes it a great choice for rings and other mountings subject to daily wear.
Warm soapy water is always safe. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe for untreated, heat-treated, and lattice diffusion treated stones. Fracture-filled, cavity-filled, or dyed material should only be cleaned with a damp cloth.
Let Bremer Jewelry inspect your ruby for FREE to find out if the rubies are safe for ultrasonic or steam cleaning!
And if rubies aren’t really your thing, we have other fun red items that can be used as birthstone stand-ins: