Ruby derives its name from the Latin word for red, "rufus". The beauty, rarity and historical mystique of Rubies are undeniable. Ruby is July's birthstone, the gemstone for Capricorns and the traditional 15th and 40th anniversary gift.
With the earliest record for the mining of Rubies dating to more than 2,500 years ago, the historical mystique and beauty of Rubies is as colorful as the legends and lore that surround this most precious of gems.
Prized throughout history, many believed that mystical powers lay hidden within this intensely colored red gemstone. The fiery crimson color of Rubies caused many civilizations to associate them with passion, love and romance. Rubies were also thought to bestow wisdom, health and luck in gambling.
Mentioned in Sanskrit texts, the ancient Hindus were so enchanted by the color of Rubies that they called them Ratnaraj "the king of gems". The ancient Hindus thought that the colors of Rubies were due to an inextinguishable fire that burned inside the gem which would endow its' wearer with long life and even cause water to boil!
As in Sanskrit texts, biblical references to Ruby (all red gemstones were collectively called Carbuncle at this time) refer to it as a most precious gem. In the King James version of the Bible, Ruby (Carbuncle) is mentioned four times:
And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a Sardius, a Topaz, and a Carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
And they set in it four rows of stones: the first row was a Sardius, a Topaz, and a Carbuncle: this was the first row.
Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the Sardius, Topaz, and the Diamond, the Beryl, the Onyx, and the Jasper, the Sapphire, the Emerald, and the Carbuncle, and Gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of Carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.
Interestingly, the gems called "Rubies" in the Old Testament may have actually been Spinel or Garnet. Up until the 18th century, when chemical testing was improved, most red gems were called Rubies. In fact, many of the famous Rubies in the crown jewels of Europe have since been identified as Spinel or Garnet. For example, the Black Prince Ruby that rests proudly at the center of the British Imperial State Crown is actually a red Spinel!
Ancient Ceylonese legends (modern day Sri Lanka) relate the story of the destruction of their demonic King Ravana. They believed that after his demise, his blood set into Rubies resulting in their intense red color.
Native Americans believed that offerings of a fine Ruby resulted in rebirth as a powerful Chief.
Some cultures believed Ruby's blood-like color would protect the wearer from injury. In fact, ancient Burmese warriors believed that when a Ruby was inserted beneath the skin it generated a mystical force, making them unconquerable in battle.
In the 13th century, the renowned explorer Marco Polo wrote that Kublai Kahn, the Mongol Emperor of China, once offered an entire city for a Ruby the size of a man's finger.
Because of its fluorescent properties, a giant Ruby once lit an entire chamber in a palace of a Chinese emperor!
In the Middle Ages, Rubies were thought to contain prophetic powers. It was believed that a Ruby could warn its owner of misfortunes by deepening in color.
Like many "allochromatic" (other colored) gems whose colors are due to trace elements, apart from their color, Rubies are identical to Sapphires. Rubies and Sapphires are comprised of the mineral known as Corundum. The crystalline form of aluminum oxide, the name Corundum is believed to be derived from three ancient Tamil, Hindi and Sanskrit words for Rubies and Sapphires, "kurundam", "kurund" or "kuruvinda" respectively.
Did you know that Rubies are rarer than Diamonds? In the last 60 years hardly a month has passed without a new Diamond deposit being discovered. In contrast, Rubies are only found in a handful of mines worldwide.
Did you know that Rubies are more expensive than Diamonds? A 16 carat Ruby that sold at Sotheby's in New York in October 1988 fetched a staggering $3,630,000!
Second only to Diamonds in hardness, Rubies are one of the toughest gemstones and with no cleavage, breakage rarely occurs. This combined with the fact that Rubies come in many different shapes and sizes, makes them perfect for all types of jewelry.
While color preferences are subjective, the best Rubies possess an intense, almost electric red effect due to fluorescence. Color is the most important factor when evaluating Rubies. While cutting and size (fine Rubies over 3 carats are very scarce) is also important, transparency is secondary. Why is this? Colored by chromium and other trace elements, Rubies formed millions of years ago deep within the earth. As very few Rubies crystallized undisturbed, a whole host of tiny irregularities (inclusions) are a characteristic of their formation. Far from being flaws, inclusions are also a fascinating hallmark of authenticity that records a gem's natural relationship with the Earth.
Microscopic rutile inclusions, commonly known as "silk", are a normal characteristic of Rubies. When evenly distributed, small quantities of "silk" enhance a Ruby's beauty by creating a soft uniform distribution of light or sparkle.
Asterism or the "star effect" is a reflection effect that appears as two or more intersecting bands of light across the surface of a gem. This rare phenomenon is found in both Rubies and Sapphires.
As Rubies come in many different colors and sizes, ultimately, your personal preference should be your primary concern. But what is the difference between a Royal and Majestic Ruby? "Royal" relates to size (2 carats or more) and "Majestic" relates to quality (color and clarity). However, by calling a gem "Majestic" we are not suggesting that it is the best quality available anywhere, simply Our Madagascan Rubies are mined at high altitude, deep within an impenetrable jungle. The only way to reach the Ruby mines near the mining village of Moramanga is by helicopter or a grueling long day's trek (11 hours) on a muddy trail through dense mountainous rainforest from the Madagascan town of Andilamena. A relatively new deposit found in July 2004 yields our Majestic Ruby.
Apart from Madagascar, we also source Rubies from Vietnam, Tanzania, Kenya, Sri Lanka, China, and of course Thailand. However, strict environmental regulations combined with depletion have resulted in the reduction of Thai gem mining.
With approximately 80% of the world's Rubies passing though Chanthaburi, Thailand our craftspeople are the first to choose the finest examples. We use Rubies when handcrafting all manner of gorgeous jewelry and being the gem of love and passion, heart shaped Rubies are hard to resist. Next time you need a bit of passion in your life,
Article written by rafi webmaster of eHotBid.com Gem and Jewelry Auction starting from $1