Rubies are the most valuable variety of the mineral species corundum–a category that also includes sapphire. Corundum is colorless in its purest form, with the wide variety of colors dependent on trace amounts of other elements distributed through the crystal. In ruby’s case, the strength of its signature red color depends on the amount of chromium or iron present. The more chromium, the brighter and richer the red. Iron, on the other hand, produces a darker red when present in large quantities.åÊ
Ruby can command the highest per-carat price of any colored gem. Most industry professionals consider them to be one of the most important gems in the market, since the price of the finest grade will often supercede the price of a diamond. When looking for the finest color quality, one must choose a ruby that displays an even, medium-toned intense red, unmodified by either too much purple or too much orange. If the color is too dark, it has a negative effect on the gem’s brightness. In contrast, if the color is too light-toned, the gem is considered to be a pink sapphire.
Historically, rubies have been associated with passion, power, love, and immortality. The very word “ruby” is derived from the Latin word “ruber,” meaning “red.”
Interestingly, it was common during ancient times to consider every red gem a ruby. This belief continued up through the Middle Ages until more accurate scientific processes of identification were developed. Because of this, some of the most famous rubies in history have turned out to be entirely different gems–such as the Black Prince’s Ruby in the British crown jewels, which is actually a red spinel.
Treasured and worn by royalty and religious authorities throughout history, rubies are often called the “King of Gems.”
This highly sought-after gem has been mined for centuries in the Mogok Valley region of Upper Myanmar. Mogok has long been the world’s main source for some of the finest rubies ever found. Other more recent mines include areas in Greenland, Kenya, and Mozambique, to name a few.
Rubies have a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, placing them second only to diamonds. Thus, rubies are considered highly suitable for everyday wear in all types of jewelry. Whether your favorite style is a ring, necklace, bracelet or earrings, consider the timeless elegance of fiery ruby for your next jewelry purchase. Visit us at Fontana Jeweler on the west end of Geneva Lake for an amazing display of unique ruby designs. We’ll be happy to help you pick out the perfect look for your special occasion.