AKA “King of the Gemstones”, the ruby is the birthstone for July. But what makes the ruby so special to have earned such an illustrious title as the undisputed ruler of the gem world? Well, there are many reasons, the most important being its colour: that magnificent red that is synonymous with love and passion, vitality and warmth.
It also boasts outstanding brilliance and an excellent hardness (9 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness and second only to the diamond), and for thousands of years has been considered the most valuable of all the gemstones on earth. It is also one of the ‘big 4’ precious gemstones but unlike the others in that designation – emerald, sapphire, and diamond – the ruby in finer specimens is considered extremely rare, as rare in fact as perfect love.
History, Name Root or Origin, and Symbolism
Though found in many parts of the world nowadays, the classic country of origin was always thought or considered to be India due mainly to that country’s literature and paintings celebrating the beautiful red ruby, particularly in royal households or as insignia of those households. Since then, deposits have been found in Vietnam, Thailand, Northern Pakistan, Kashmir, Laos, Nepal, Afghanistan, Tadzhikistan, East Africa, Kenya, Burma (Myanmar) and Tanzania. The most important of these finds, however, is Myanmar, again because of colour, which is then held up as a yardstick to measure all other rubies from other areas, which explains why experts will often describe a stone as a Burmese Ruby even though it is not from Burma (Myanmar).
The Burmese Ruby is therefore classified as a luxury gem when compared to a gem of lesser quality from any other area. Example: compare a 5-star hotel with luxurious accommodation to a mediocre or plain hotel, inn, or hostel and you have the perfect definition of a Burmese Ruby.
The word ruby comes from the Latin word ‘rubens’ meaning ‘red’, an incomparable red, meaning warm and fiery, an undiluted colour full of passion and power. The symbolism, also relating to the colour, refers to the concept of blood and fire that then implies warmth and life for mankind. In other words, ruby-red is not just any red but a red that conjures up powerful feelings of love and passion, like the love and passion people can feel for each other.
That Fabulous Colour
Clearly, the most important feature of the ruby is its magnificent blood-red colour, with or without inclusions, but a ruby is not always a genuine ruby because some red gems have improperly been labelled ruby when in fact they are spinels. Example, the Timur Ruby and the Black Prince Ruby in the British Crown Jewels are not rubies at all but spinels. That fabulous colour in both the ruby and the spinel comes from the element chrome but it was that chrome that caused fissures and cracks in the growing crystals while they were being created deep inside the earth’s core millions of years ago that now are the inclusions in the gemstone.
But these inclusions are not a pediment to the stone’s beauty, quality, or value. Rather, they might be seen or perceived as the stone’s fingerprint of individuality and proof that it is the genuine article. A ruby that is free of inclusions is extremely rare and will therefore cost you a staggering amount often surpassing the price of a diamond in the same category, of the same carat size.
A Word of caution
If you’re thinking of buying a ruby, you need to talk to someone you can trust -at LL Private Jewellers – because, like all other gemstones, there are many fakes out there and you might end up with a chunk of red glass or a spinel when you’ve paid a very handsome sum for a genuine ruby.
Please for more information about rubies contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-684-6343.