Ruby: The King of Precious Stone

Posted by Kody Klenow on

Rubies serve as one of the most valued colored gems, a status they have held since the beginning of time. The birthstone of July, the ruby stands as one of four recognized precious gems, taking its place alongside diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds. What should individuals know about this breathtaking stone?

Origins of the Ruby

This stone has gone by many names over the years. Some refer to it as the king of precious stones, a name that comes from the ancient Sanskrit word ratnaraj. The English name, however, comes from the Latin words ruber and rubeus, both of which mean red. In ancient times, people referred to any red stone as a ruby.

In the past, people often referred to garnet and red spinel as the ruby. In the 1800s, scientists learned this gemstone differed from others in that it falls into the corundum group, just as sapphire does. Today, men and women love ruby jewelry and wear their favorite pieces regularly.

How Are Rubies Formed?

As with diamonds, the ruby forms under immense pressure and heat. This process has taken place under the earth’s surface for many millennia. Each ruby contains corundum in the form of oxygen and aluminum atoms. Corundum comes as a colorless substance. However, when minerals or other substances replace some aluminum atoms, the stone takes on a different color.

Chromium makes up the red color the ruby has become known for. However, a person might get a rare orange or pink ruby when ferric iron and chromium take the place of some aluminum atoms.

When heat and pressure reach these atoms, they convert to liquid form and make their way into igneous or metamorphic rocks. As the liquid cools, a ruby forms. Sapphires form in much the same way and occur naturally when iron and titanium atoms replace the chromium ones. Because of this process, ruby stands as the hardest mineral other than the diamond. In fact, it is seven times harder than topaz, which ranks third on the list of the hardest minerals.


Individuals find they can find the right shade of red for their needs. Choose from red to dark pink with the rare orange gem. When speaking of the color of the gem, refer to it as the hue.

The tonal grade of the gem refers to the lightness or darkness of the hue. With the ruby, darker remains better. Experts refer to the light red ruby as a pink sapphire. Nevertheless, the line between a pink sapphire and a ruby is so fine people may argue about which category a gem falls into for hours, days, or weeks.

When someone speaks of the saturation of the gem, they mean the color intensity. Most individuals want a ruby that is pure red with a touch of blue. Experts refer to this as pigeon’s blood. Other options include strong, vivid, weak, or intense coloring.

Some men and women discover they purchase a gem that possesses fluorescence. These gems glow when a person exposes them to ultraviolet light.

Expect to find inclusions in any ruby. Many people consider the inclusions flaws. However, they help to differentiate natural gemstones from their synthetic counterparts. A rough ruby looks dull and unattractive. Once a jeweler cuts the stone, its natural luster comes out.

Mining This Precious Stone

Finding a large ruby remains an elusive task. In fact, large stones of this type remain rarer than diamonds of a similar size. While a few of these gems have been pulled from marble, most miners retrieve them from river gravels. Myanmar’s Mogok area remains a good place to find these stones.


When shopping for ruby accessories, individuals need to examine the stone. As mentioned previously, inclusions remain common in this stone. The placement of these inclusions determines the value of the gem. First, consumers need to see if the inclusions are easily seen without any special tools. If the blemishes reach the surface of the gemstone, they detract from its value because they hurt the stone’s appearance. In addition, they make the stone less durable.

Ruby Types

A person can learn a great deal about a ruby simply by looking at its color. This provides information about where the stone was obtained.

Myanmar or Burmese Stones

A ruby from Burmese or Myanmar remains extremely popular. These gems feature a vibrant red color and inclusions are few. However, look for at least one or two inclusions, as they help men and women distinguish actual ruby gemstones from synthetic ones.

Thai Stones

A Thai ruby comes in second behind Burmese stones as it is exceptional. Look for a ruby with a darker hue along with some hints of burgundy and brown.

Madagascan Stones

A ruby from Madagascar comes with the red color this stone is known for, and the stone also features pink and orange tints. The unique color combinations make these stones highly coveted today.

African Stones

People can identify an African ruby easily thanks to the purplish to dark red color of these gems. Some gems from this nation come in the dark red color men and women associate the ruby with, but most are a distinct shade. Heavily included stones get cut into cabochons. Transparent ones become faceted stones.

Tanzanian Stones

Individuals who desire a ruby with exceptional clarity but cannot afford those from Burma or Thailand turn to the Tanzanian version of this gem. Many people compare a ruby from Tanzania to a hessonite thanks to the beautiful hue of the gem. However, a small Tanzania ruby has more value than a larger one.

Mozambique Stones

Mozambique is known for more than one type of ruby. However, the most coveted ruby is the star ruby. This gem comes from Montepuez in the nation’s northern part.

Afghan Stones

A ruby mined in Afghanistan may be anything from a light red to a much darker shade of this color. Miners pull them from the Badakhshan and Jagdalek regions of the country mainly. The gems from Jagdalek remain unique in that they have qualities no other ruby mined from other parts of the world possesses. The gems found here range in color from a faint to a deep red.

Pricing a Ruby

Consumers want to know how to price a ruby they are planning to buy. They need to ensure they are getting a fair deal. The color of a natural ruby determines its price. A pure ruby of high quality comes with a vibrant red color and lacks color undertones. A ruby with inclusions is tolerable, but avoid those stones with obvious cracks or any gem with a cloudy appearance.

Most people prefer a round or oval cut for their ruby, as they provide the best in terms of color and sparkle. Jewelers work to maximize the vibrancy of the stone while minimizing the blemishes.

Any ruby over one carat comes with a high price tag due to its rarity. In fact, a five-carat ruby could come with a price 25 times that of a one-carat ruby. This remains true even when the stones are equal in every other way.

Interesting Tidbits

People in ancient times believed individuals wearing a ruby were wise, lucky in love, healthy, and wealthy. A Burma legend states each gem of this type comes from a dragon egg, and some say God created the ruby along with 11 other stones when he created the world. However, the ruby remains the most precious, according to this legend, and the Bible declares wisdom to be of more importance than this stone.

Men and women who are delicate and irritable may wish to avoid ruby jewelry, as many people believe this stone fills them with energy. This may be too much for those who have these characteristics.

Other individuals feel the ruby encourages their passion for life while explaining that it doesn’t do so in a self-destructive way. They feel it motivates them and helps them to set realistic goals.

Individuals in need of balance in their lives and those who want help in following their bliss should invest in a ruby. Some people use this stone to allow them to see things clearly, while some men and women say it promotes positive dreams. However, certain individuals choose to use a ruby to help them keep their passion and wealth.

The stone is believed to remove negative things from a person’s path while encouraging dynamic leadership. It charges the individual’s passion.

Quite a few men and women believe a ruby can help them beat back exhaustion while calming their hyperactivity. In addition, people may use the stone when they wish to detoxify their body or treat certain medical issues.

Precious Jewels

For centuries now, people have donned accessories made from these gemstones. Members of the royal family, including Queen Elizabeth, have been seen with ruby earrings, necklaces, and more. In addition, wealthy individuals often wear pieces containing this stone. However, any person finds they can purchase a necklace, earrings, rings, and more that feature the ruby as the prominent stone.

The strength and durability of the ruby make it a perfect choice for everyday wear or special occasions. As the stone can withstand high temperatures, it works in many settings. Purchase one or more pieces with this stone today and have a piece you will love for years to come and want to pass down through the generations.

About Museum of Jewelry:

At the Museum of Jewelry, artisans keep the hand-crafted arts alive. Every museum creation is an original work of art. Each piece of jewelry is handmade by master artisans from historical designs - each earring shaped, detailed and embellished using the same age-old techniques as have goldsmiths and lapidaries through the ages.

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