Ruby – Your Complete Guide
Rubies have been revered for their magnificent beauty by ancient cultures around the world, for thousands of years. There are records of them being used for trade purposes in China as far back as 200 BC, while they were held in the highest regard by those in ancient India, who referred to them as the ‘king of all precious stones’. They are also referenced several times in the Bible. In medieval Europe, rubies were highly prized by royal families and noblemen, who wore them as a symbol of wealth and wisdom. Due to their lustrous red hue, rubies are now also seen as an ideal Valentine’s gift.
Like all gemstones, rubies have been thought to contain magical properties by many cultures and individuals throughout history. Ancient Hindus held the belief that offering rubies to Krishna would enable them to be reborn as Emperors in their next life, whilst also protecting them from harm. In
Myanmar, now a prominent supplier of rubies worldwide, soldiers believed that rubies could confer invulnerability on the battlefield. However, simply adorning oneself with ruby-infused talismans or such was not enough, instead, they believed that you could only be protected if the gemstones were inserted into the body itself. Similar beliefs were also held by those in China.
Facts about Ruby
- The name is derived from ‘ruber’, the Latin word for red
- It’s a member of the corundum variety of minerals, the same shared by sapphire
- Rubies are merely red-coloured sapphires
- They’re the most valuable coloured gemstone
- They have a hardness of 9.0 (out of 10) on the Mohs scale, placing them just below the diamond
- They’re the birthstone of July
- Their colour ranges from pink to rich red
Ruby is mined all throughout the world, with mining locations located in Asia, the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Australia. Up until recently, the source of the world’s finest rubies was Myanmar, but Thailand has since surpassed it as the supplier of superior quality specimens.
How Best to Wear Ruby Jewellery
With their striking beauty, ruby jewellery pieces add effortless charm and sparkle to dark coloured ensembles, such as suits and dresses. They also work remarkably well with beautiful red garments as well. For a truly stunning look, consider wearing a matching ruby set. Rubies are commonly featured alongside yellow gold, which helps to establish a lavish and luxurious appearance.
The Four C’s of Ruby Quality
When determining the value of ruby specimens, jewellers do so using the same factors that are used to determine the quality of diamonds; colour, clarity, cut and carat. In the case of rubies, the most important quality is colour, with a rich red hue being the most desirable and most valuable colour.
Colour – a superior quality ruby will possess a wonderfully rich, red colour that can range from a blazing red to a darker, purplish tone. However, it’s important that the colour stays within the acceptable levels. If it’s too dark, it will lack sparkle, too light and it won’t be a classified as a ruby.
Clarity – the next most important quality of a ruby specimen, is its clarity. While it’s expected that all consumer rubies will contain some minor, naturally occurring structural blemishes, it’s important to look for ones that have minimal such flaws.
Cut – even raw specimens purchased by jewellers, are frighteningly expensive. For this reason, rubies are most commonly cut into oval or cushion shapes, as this ensures that a maximum amount of raw material can be retained for the purpose of additional cuts. While it is possible to fashion ruby into other cuts, they require a higher carat to do so and are therefore much more expensive.
Carat – the cost of rubies increases exponentially with carat. For example, a five-carat ruby can be worth up to a dozen times more than a single carat ruby, of the same quality. This is because high carat, high-quality rubies are much rarer.
One of the most abundant minerals on Earth, quartz has been in use by civilisations dating back as far as 7000 BC, for the purpose of jewellery, carvings, ornaments, and tools. Quartz’s piezoelectric qualities were uncovered by French physicists and brothers, Jacques and Pierre Curie in the late 1800s.
With their exceptional beauty and fascinating origins, pearls have been highly prized by ancient civilisations for over several millennia. They have extensively pursued thousands of years ago throughout the waters of the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, Red Sea and Gulf of Mannar.
With their unique and breathtaking beauty, opal gemstones have been revered for thousands of years. Until the discovery of enormous quantities of opal in Australia during the 1800s, the only other known source of opal was Červenica, a small village in southern Slovakia.
Alexandrite was first uncovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia during the early 19th century. The gemstone was named after soon-to-be Russian Czar, Alexander II and this connection to Russian royalty likely helped it gain prominence as a valuable and precious stone.