Gemstones – The Ruby

Ruby is one of the four precious gemstones along with Sapphire, Emerald and the Diamond. Ruby as a mineral is hard; it only comes second to the diamond when it comes to hardness.

The color of the Ruby comes in different shades of red – from light pink to blood red. This color is due to chromium. The word “Ruby” come from “rubber”, the Latin word for red.

Although Ruby is the birthstone for the month of July, it is a common gift for lovers in February in time for the Valentines. Its deep red color shows passion and power. In the past, royalties wear a Ruby to make use of its believed to be magical powers to fight against evil. According to myths and legends, the stone grows darker to warn the wearer of imminent perils. Even today’s modern royalties still use Rubies to adorn the insignia of their households.

Ruby is faceted into different styles of cuts and marketed as high class jewelries. The most preferred cuts are the brilliant and step cuts. Some rubies that have asterism are polished and shaped (the result is called cabochon) instead of faceted to display the best effect of the stone. Asterism is an inclusion that can greatly increase the value of the Ruby. Rubies with transparent asterism are highly prized. Some rubies, although extremely rarely, can show color changes, an effect called chatoyancy.

The prices of Rubies are highly depended on the color. The Pigeon Blood Red, which is the brightest red Ruby, is exceedingly expensive. Clarity follows color in determining the Ruby’s price. Clear Rubies have higher prices. It is easy to spot any clear Ruby that has been treated to fool buyers. This can be noted with the absence of needle like rutile inclusion.

There are many acceptable practices to treat Rubies to enhance the quality. The most common accepted treatment practice is using heat. Heat treatment can improve color, and remove blemishes on the stone. Most lower cost rubies are heat treated.

A notorious way of treating Rubies to enhance them is the Lead Glass Filling method. This is done by filling the fractures inside the ruby with lead glass to greatly improve the look and shine.

There are also synthetic Rubies that have been in the market since the 19th century. The introduction of the flame fusion process has made synthetic Ruby production possible. To the unaided eye, synthetic rubies may have no apparent imperfections. These imperfections can only be noticed hen magnified. Synthetic rubies are the answer to the people who want to avail of the stone’s elegance without spending huge amount of money. But synthetic rubies cannot be considered an investment compared to the natural ones.

Some Ruby varieties include Burmese Ruby, Star Ruby, Cat’s Eye Ruby, Stynthetic Verneuil Ruby. An unnamed 38.12 carat ruby holds the record for having been sold for $5,860,000 at an auction in 2006.

Science laboratories have used rubies for the first laser which used artificial ruby crystals. The phosphorescence property of ruby makes it perfect for lasers.