The Stone of Nobility
Energy, Vitality, Sensuality
Regarded by ancient Hindus as the “king of gems”, the ruby was believed to protect wearers from evils in the world. A stone of nobility, the ruby meaning signifies a talisman of passion, protection and prosperity. This ruby’s fiery shade of red has helped capture the feelings of romance that have existed since ancient times. It is no wonder that rubies have been known to symbolize love and passion. In the fascinating world of gemstones, the ruby is the undisputed ruler. It has everything a precious stone should have: magnificent colour, excellent hardness and outstanding brilliance. In addition to that, it is an extremely rare gemstone, especially in its finer qualities.
The History of Ruby
The word “ruby” is derived from the Latin word “ruber” which means “red”. Since the ruby is such a magnificent gem, it is no wonder that ancients believed it to be the most precious of stones. According to legend, the Emperor of China Kublai Khan once offered an entire city in exchange for a single ruby. The ruby is a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide). The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires. Ruby is considered one of the four precious stones, together with sapphire, emerald and diamond. Revered in many cultures throughout history, Ruby has always been a talisman of passion, protection and prosperity. It was reputed to bring its owner peace, drive away frightful dreams, restrain lust, and to help resolve disputes. Burmese legend declares inserting a Ruby into the flesh would make one completely invulnerable. No wonder that the royal families used in their jewelry extensively this fiery gemstone.
Shades of Ruby
There are different varieties of ruby making it a wonderfully versatile gift option.
• Burmese Rubies – One of the most sought-after rubies. They have a deep red color and may have hints of blue or pink.
• Thai Rubies – Second to the Burmese rubies, Thai rubies have darker undertones and can have a slight tint of burgundy.
• Tanzania Rubies – The color of Tanzania rubies is exquisitely garnet. Smaller Tanzanian rubies are much more valuable.
The Ruby has excellent hardness and won’t scratch easily, it has a hardness of 9 out of 10 on Moh’s Scale.
Ruby is one of the most popular gemstones, and is used extensively in all forms of Jewelry. It is used both as centerpiece gemstone in pendants and rings, as well as a secondary stone to complement other gemstones such as Diamonds. Star Ruby is polished as cabochons, and, if clear, can be extremely valuable. Large Ruby gems are extremely rare. Fine colored Ruby with a deep red color and excellent transparency can reach several thousand dollars a carat. Engagement rings made with Ruby as a centerpiece, often surrounded by Diamonds, regained a huge popularity among the rich and famous.
The July Birthstone
Ruby is the birthstone for July, which perfectly epitomizes the hot sweltering heat of the summertime. Old folklore believed the ruby to represent the sun, because of the inextinguishable flame that the deep ruby red gem emanates. July borns are known to be devoted, courageous, confident and full of vitality. Those with a ruby birthstone are definitely children of the warmer months.
Transparent rubies of large sizes are even rarer than Diamonds.
All natural Rubies have imperfections within them, including color impurities and inclusions of Rutile needles known as “silk.” These inclusions help distinguish natural Ruby from synthetics. If cut en cabochon, these special stones may display a chatoyancy, or rare “cat’s eye” effect, or in the case of a Star Ruby may display a six-rayed star effect called asterism, that causes the light rays to appear to glide magically across the stone as it is moved.
The Liberty Bell Ruby is the largest mined ruby in the world, found in east Africa in the 1950s. It weighs four pounds, is eight and a half thousand carats, and is sculpted into a miniature form of the Liberty Bell. It has fifty diamonds set in it and is valued at two million dollars. It was being held on behalf of a foundation at a jewelry store in Delaware when it was stolen in a heist on November 1, 2011 and haven't been recovered.
One of the world's largest and finest ruby gemstone jewelery is a 23.1 carats (4.62 g) Burmese ruby (named after its late owner Carmen Lúcia), set in a platinum ring with diamonds, the stone was mined from the Mogok region of Burma (now Myanmar) in the 1930s and is held in The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.