"The gleaming Ruby should adorn,
                 All those who in July are born,
                 For thus they'll be exempt and free,
                 From lover's doubts and anxiety."
                          – Gregorian birthstone poem

The History of the Ruby
Symbolic of passion, protection and prosperity, the ruby has been revered since ancient times. Rubies have been particularly prized in Asian countries. Records suggest that rubies were traded along China’s North Silk Road as early as 200 B.C. Chinese noblemen adorned their armour with rubies because they believed the gem would grant protection. They also buried rubies beneath building foundations to secure good fortune.

Chinese Nobleman in Traditional Armour
Adorned Chinese Helmet

Where are Rubies found?
The Mogok Valley in Upper Myanmar (Burma) historically produced the finest ruby material, famous for its deep blood-red colour with purplish hues. Myanmar was the world’s main source for rubies for centuries. Other ruby deposits exist in Vietnam, Thailand, India, parts of the Middle East, East Africa and even the United States.

Mogok Valley, Upper Myanmar
Historical Myanmar Ruby Mine

Ruby Properties

Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, coloured by the element chromium. All other colours of gem-quality corundum are called sapphire, which means colour is key for this royal stone.

Tough and durable, ruby measures 9 on the Mohs scale. Diamond is the only natural gemstone harder than ruby.

The chromium also causes fluorescence, which makes rubies glow like a fire from within. Paradoxically, chromium is also what makes this gem scarce because it can cause cracks and fissures. Few rubies actually grow large enough to crystallize into fine quality gems, and these can reach even higher prices than diamonds.

Natural Ruby Crystals
Ruby Fluorescence

Ruby Colour Grading

The colour of a Ruby is the most important feature of the gemstone. Rubies are available in a range of red hues from purplish and bluish red to orange-red. The brightest and most valuable colour of Ruby is often “a Burmese Ruby” – an indication that it is a rich, passionate, hot, full red colour with a slight blue hue. This colour is often referred to as “pigeon blood” red.

Things you might not have known

  • The name “ruby” comes from rubeus, the Latin word for red. In ancient Sanskrit, ruby translated to ratnaraj, which meant “king of precious stones.”

  • These days, almost all rubies are treated in some form, with heat treatment being the most common practice

  • Some rubies show a three-point or six-point asterism or “star”. These rubies are cut into cabochons to display the effect properly.

Star Ruby
  • Ruby’s strength and red fluorescence make it valuable for applications beyond jewellery. Both natural and synthetic rubies are used in watchmaking, medical instruments and lasers.

Rubies used in Watchmaking
Ruby Lazer

Here are some beautiful ruby jewellery available at Tinsel Gallery. For a custom made piece contact Studio Loubser for a quote, or visit our website for more information.