Fine rubies are probably one of the world’s rarest gems. In the ancient Indian language Sankrit rubies were referred to as “Ratnaraj” – king of gemstones, hinting their royal charisma. Throughout history, royalty of all countries and cultures have regarded the ruby as a particular symbol of everlasting beauty, wealth and power.
In the orient, ruby was held to be a good luck talisman that possessed special powers, such as warning its bearer of danger by turning to a darker shade of red. As a gift, ruby was therefore an expression of special devotion – and remains so to this day.
Rubies were first discovered in the late sixteenth century in the Mogok Valley in Burma, which to date remains the source of the most exquisite rubies. The ruby gemstone is a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminum oxide). The red in rubies is caused by trace amounts of chromium.
A fiery intense color and deep symbolism make rubies some of the most popular gemstones. The most valuable rubies exhibit a deep red hue, a medium-dark tone, and evenly saturated color. Ruby’s color palette ranges from pink, medium or blood red to even dark purple. “Pigeon’s Blood” red rubies are the most valued and highly sought after due to their vivid color.
As with other gemstones, a ruby’s clarity is determined by the number of inclusions, the size of these and their location within the gemstone. Finest gemstones have fewer, smaller and less obvious inclusions. Lower quality rubies are highly included, some to the point of being opaque. Inclusions are generally more apparent in light- to medium-color rubies, because the dark colors effectively hide such flaws. The clarity of a ruby increases its value just like of any other gemstone.
Rubies are only second to diamonds in their hardness. They are also very tough, that is hard to shatter during cutting. Unlike diamonds, rubies have no geometrically configured cut for maximum brilliance like the diamond’s “ideal” cut. The most popular cuts are cushion, oval, and round. Well cut rubies, just like any other gemstone, will hide inclusions and color variations. High quality, well cut rubies will allow the stone to show its color and brilliance while minimizing obvious inclusions.
Rubies are readily available in sizes up to two carats. However, in the finest quality, any size ruby can be scarce.
A large number of rubies available today have been enhanced. Some enhancements, such as heating, are an expected part of the polishing process and are accepted by the jewelry industry. We believe in full disclosure of any treatment that a stone has undergone.
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