Rubies and sapphires are made of aluminum oxide (corundum).
The red in rubies is caused by trace amounts of chrominum. The
redder the ruby, the more chrominum. Some rubies are bicolored
or multicolored. Rubies grow in crystal form and belong to the
hexagonal family of shapes, before cutting and polishing.
Crimson with just a tinge of blue, rubies can be even more valuable
than diamonds. A ruby ring sold at auction five years ago for
$4 million. Crown jewels always display the fire-glow of rubies.
Like diamonds, rubies are cherished for their color, clarity,
cut and weight. Similarly, a large single ruby will bring a higher
price than two smaller stones of equal weight and quality. Especially
prized are stones exhibiting a six-rayed star when viewed from
above. Transparent rubies are valued more than those with tiny,
Can be cleaned in ultrasonic cleaners.
Rubies come from Burma, Thailand, and Ceylon. In biblical times,
and prehistoric time, they came from Mogok and Burma. Ancient
prehistoric tools and ruby chips found by archeologists give rise
to this knowledge, and the mines of Mogok are still in operation.
1988, a 15.97 carat ruby sold for $3,630,000.00, that's $227,300.00
per carat. High quality rubies of one carat, are many times more
rare than diamonds of one carat and can cost more.
stone was given as offerings to Buddha in China and Krishna in
common belief was that dreaming of rubies meant the coming of
success in business, money matters, and love.
ruby is thought to change colors (grow darker) when the owner
was in danger or when a illness was coming. It was also thought
that it would chase off the spirits of the dead and evil spirits
not contained in hell.
China and Europe, in the 10th century, dragons and snakes were
carved in their surfaces to increase the flow of money and power
to their owners.
King of Precious Stones
has been the world's most valued gemstone for thousands of years.
Ruby was said to be the most precious of the twelve stones God
created when he created all things and this "lord of gems"
was placed on Aaron's neck by God's command. The bible says that
wisdom is "more precious than rubies," that is to say
very valuable indeed. In the ancient language of Sanskrit, ruby
is called ratnaraj, or "king of precious stones" and
ratnanayaka, "leader of precious stones."
fact, rubies are today still more valuable and rare than even
the top quality colorless diamonds. A 16 carat ruby sold at auction
for US$227,301 per carat at Sotheby's in 1988. A 27.37 carat Burmese
ruby ring sold for US$4 million at Sotheby's in Geneva in May
1995, or $146,145 per carat. A 32 carat ruby sold for US$144,000
per carat at Sotheby's in 1989. In contrast, eight D-color internally
flawless diamonds over 50 carats were sold in the past 9 years
and the largest, a pear-shape of 102 carats, fetched a mere US$125,000
per carat. Top rubies are so rare even the world's top gem dealers
must incessantly comb estate sales and auctions to find them.
Sizes above five carats are particularly rare.
is the gem quality of the mineral corundum, one of the most durable
minerals which exists, a crystalline form of aluminium oxide.
Corundum has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale and is also extremely
tough. In its common form, it is even used as an abrasive.
most important factor in the value of a ruby is color. The top
qualities are as red as you can imagine: a saturated pure spectral
hue without any overtones of brown or blue. The word red is derived
from the latin for ruby, ruber, which is derived from similar
words in Persian, Hebrew, and Sanskrit. The intensity of color
of a fine ruby is like a glowing coal, probably the most intensely
colored substance our ancestors ever saw. It is no wonder they
ascribed magical powers to these fires that burned perpetually
and never extinguished themselves.
colors of corundum except red are known as sapphires, which has
created controversy about where ruby ends and sapphire begins,
particularly in pink shades of corundum. In 1991, the International
Colored Gemstone Association ruled that the lighter shades of
the reddish hues of corundum should be included in the category
color, the other factors which influence the value of a ruby are
clarity, cut, and size. Rubies that are perfectly transparent,
with no tiny flaws, are more valuable than those with inclusions
which are visible to the eye. Cut can make a big difference in
how attractive and lively a ruby appears to the eye. A well-cut
stone should reflect back light evenly across the surface without
a dark or washed-out area in the center that can result from a
stone that is too deep or shallow. The shape should also be symmetrical
and there should not be any nicks or scratches in the polish.
Rubies and other gemstones are sold per carat, a unit of weight
equal to one-fifth of a gram. Larger rubies, because they are
more rare, will cost more per carat than smaller stones of the
sometimes displays a three-ray, six-point star. These star rubies
are cut in a smooth domed cabochon cut to display the effect.
The star is best visible when illuminated with a single light
source: it moves across the stone as the light moves. This effect,
called asterism, is caused by light reflecting off tiny rutile
needles, called "silk," which are oriented along the
value of star rubies and sapphires are influenced by two things:
the intensity and attractiveness of the body color and the strength
and sharpness of the star. All six legs should be straight and
equally prominent. Star rubies rarely have the combination of
a fine translucent or transparent color and a sharp prominent
star. These gems are valuable and expensive.
Rubies are Born
most famous source of fine rubies is Burma, which is now called
Myanmar. The ruby mines of Myanmar are older than history: stone
age and bronze age mining tools have been found in the mining
area of Mogok. Rubies from the legendary mines in Mogok often
have a pure red color, which is often described as "pigeon's-blood"
although that term is more fanciful than an actual practical standard
in the trade today. Myanmar also produces intense pinkish red
rubies which are also vivid and extremely beautiful. Many of the
rubies from Burma have a strong fluorescence when exposed to ultraviolet
rays like those in sunlight, which layers on extra color. Burma
rubies have a reputation of holding their vivid color under all
demand for fine rubies is really only limited by the tiny supply
available, new sources are always treated as exciting news in
the trade. An important mining area in Burma is called Mong Hsu.
Mong Hsu ruby deposit is producing commercial quantities of commercial
quality Burma ruby and also significant quantities of fine quality
Burma ruby, particularly in sizes up to a carat. Burma ruby is
now more readily available than Thai ruby, due to the new ruby
rush in the area.
new deposit has also affected the world capital of the ruby business:
Thailand. Many of the ruby traders and cutters from Chanthaburi
and Bo Rai have moved to Mae Sai in Thailand. In Tachilek in Myanmar,
across the border from Mae Sai, a flourishing trade in Mong Hsu
ruby has transformed a village into a prosperous town. Most Mong
Hsu ruby is cut and marketed in Thailand.
is the world's most important ruby trading center. Perhaps 80
percent of the world's ruby goes through Thailand at some point
in the trading cycle. The largest ruby cutting factories are in
the Chanthaburi area of Thailand. Bangkok is generally where the
world's buyers come to purchase ruby.
1992, a new ruby mine was discovered in Vietnam that produces
rubies which are very similar to rubies from Burma. In fact, the
geology of the new mine may be a continuation of the same formation
that produced the Burma deposits. Some of the new Vietnamese rubies
have been praised by experts as being virtually indistinguishable
from top quality Burmese stones.
rubies are also found in Thailand. Thai rubies tend to be darker
red in tone: a real red, tending toward burgundy rather than pink,
as Burma rubies do. This makes them very popular in the United
States where consumers generally prefer their rubies to be a darker
red rather than a darker pink. Some Thai rubies have black reflections,
a phenomenon called extinction, which can make their color look
darker than it really is. But Thai rubies also can have a rich
vivid red that rivals the Burmese in intensity. Sri Lankan rubies
can also be very beautiful. Sri Lankan stones are often pinkish
in hue and many are pastel in tone. Some, however, resemble the
vivid pinkish red hues from Burma.
from Kenya and Tanzania surprised the world when they were discovered
in the sixties because their color rivals the world's best. Unfortunately,
most of the ruby production from these countries has many inclusions,
tiny flaws which diminish transparency. Rubies from the African
mines are rarely transparent enough to facet. However, their fantastic
color is displayed to full advantage when cut cabochon style.
A few rare clean stones have been seen which are top quality.
a few fine top-quality rubies appear on the market from Afghanistan,
Pakistan, or the Pamir Mountains of the Commonwealth of Independent
States. The terrain in these areas has made exploration for gemstones
very difficult but someday they may produce significant quantities
for the world market.