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Ruby is a precious gemstone belonging to the corundum mineral family, which also includes sapphires. It is one of the most valuable and sought-after gemstones in the world due to its vibrant red colour and durability. Rubies are considered one of the "Big Three" in the coloured gemstone world, along with sapphires and emeralds.
Rubies have a rich history and are considered one of the most significant gemstones in many cultures. In ancient times, rubies were believed to have magical powers and were worn as a talisman for protection against evil spirits. In Sanskrit, the word for ruby is "ratnaraj" which translates to "king of precious stones." The Burmese believed that rubies held the power of life, and warriors would embed them into their skin before going into battle. Rubies were also treasured by the Indian maharajas and European royalty.
Rubies have a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, which makes them one of the hardest gemstones after diamonds. They have a specific gravity of 3.97 to 4.05 and a refractive index of 1.76 to 1.78. Rubies are typically found in hexagonal crystal shapes and have a vitreous luster.
The most prized colour for rubies is a vivid to deep red with or without a slight bluish tint, referred to as "pigeon's blood" red. However, rubies can also be found in purplish-red and orangy-red hues. The colour of a ruby is determined by the presence of chromium and iron impurities within the crystal structure.
Discover pigeon's blood ruby here.
Many rubies on the market today are treated to enhance their colour and/or clarity. One of the most common treatments is heat treatment, which involves heating the gemstone to different temperatures to enhance its colour, from 500 to 1800 degree celsius. Some rubies are also treated with fracture filling, which may be oil, resin or filling any fractures or cavities within the stone with a glass-like substance to improve its clarity.
Discover more on ruby treatment here.
Rubies are found in various parts of the world, including Mozambique, Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Greenland. Burma was considered to produce the finest quality rubies, known for their intense red color and fluorescence before the emergence of the recent Mozambique production.
Synthetic rubies are man-made rubies that are produced in a laboratory setting using advanced technological processes. Rubies can be produced synthetically using the flame fusion (Melt), the flux-melt process or the hydrothermal process. Synthetic rubies have the same chemical composition and physical properties as natural rubies and are often used in jewelry or in many others industrial application.
Rubies are widely used in jewelry, particularly in rings, earrings, and necklaces. They are also used in watches and other decorative items. Due to their hardness and durability, rubies are ideal for everyday wear.