Rubies have been prized for their beauty and rarity for thousands of years. The deep red color of the gemstone is associated with passion, power, and protection. In this article, we will explore the history, properties, and symbolism of the ruby stone.
History of Ruby
The first recorded discovery of rubies was in Sri Lanka in the 6th century BC. Throughout history, rubies have been highly valued by royalty and religious figures. For example, the Bible refers to rubies as one of the twelve precious stones in the breastplate of the High Priest of Israel. In ancient India, rubies were believed to bring good health, wealth, and happiness. In Burma (now Myanmar), rubies were considered so valuable that they were used as currency.
One of the most famous rubies in history is the Black Prince's Ruby, which is actually a large red spinel. It is set in the Imperial State Crown of England and has a long and fascinating history. Other notable rubies include the Rosser Reeves Ruby, the Liberty Bell Ruby, and the DeLong Star Ruby.
Properties of Ruby
Rubies are a variety of the mineral corundum (Al2O3) and get their red color from the presence of chromium. The most desirable ruby color is a deep, vibrant red with a slight bluish tint. Ruby is a relatively hard mineral, scoring a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness. It is also highly refractive, meaning it bends and reflects light in a way that gives it its famous sparkle.
There are several varieties of ruby, including Burmese, Thai, and African rubies. Burmese rubies are considered the most valuable due to their deep, rich color and high clarity. Ruby can also form inclusions, such as rutile needles or hexagonal voids, which can affect the gem's clarity and overall appearance.
Symbolism of Ruby
Ruby has long been associated with passion, power, and protection. In ancient times, rubies were believed to protect the wearer from harm and bring success in love and war. In Hinduism, ruby is associated with the sun and is believed to confer good health, prosperity, and wisdom. Ruby is also the birthstone for July and is associated with the zodiac sign Cancer.
Ruby is believed to have healing properties, particularly for the heart and circulatory system. It is also said to help with issues related to self-confidence, motivation, and willpower. In meditation and spiritual practices, ruby is often used to cultivate courage and strength.
Ruby Mining and Production
Rubies are mined in several countries, including Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania. The most common mining techniques for ruby are alluvial and underground mining. Alluvial mining involves washing river sediments for ruby deposits, while underground mining involves drilling and blasting tunnels to access ruby deposits deep underground.
Once rubies are mined, they are cut and polished into gemstones. Ruby is a tough mineral, but it can be difficult to cut due to its crystal structure and inclusions. A skilled lapidary can cut a ruby to maximize its brilliance and minimize its inclusions.
Ruby Market and Value
The value of a ruby depends on several factors, including color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. The most valuable rubies are those that are deep red with a slight bluish tint, have high clarity, and are well-cut. Large, high-quality rubies can fetch prices of over $1 million per carat.
Ruby in Jewelry
Rubies are a popular choice for jewelry, especially in engagement rings and other special occasion pieces. Ruby is often paired with diamonds, as the two gemstones complement each other well. Ruby can be cut into many different shapes, including round, oval, cushion, and pear. Some of the most famous ruby jewelry in the world include Elizabeth Taylor's Bulgari ruby and diamond necklace, which sold for over $5 million at auction.
Caring for Ruby
Ruby is a durable gemstone, but it still requires care to keep it looking its best. Ruby should be stored separately from other jewelry to prevent scratching, and it should be cleaned regularly with a soft brush and mild soap. Avoid exposing ruby to high heat or chemicals, as this can damage the gemstone.
Ruby is a gemstone that has been prized for thousands of years for its beauty, rarity, and symbolism. It is associated with passion, power, and protection, and has been worn by royalty and religious figures throughout history. Whether you are looking for a birthstone, engagement ring, or special occasion piece, ruby is a gemstone that is sure to make a statement.
What is the meaning of ruby gemstone? Ruby is associated with passion, power, and protection. It is believed to bring good health, wealth, and happiness, and is often used for spiritual practices and meditation.
What is the most valuable ruby color? The most valuable ruby color is a deep, vibrant red with a slight bluish tint. Burmese rubies are considered the most valuable due to their rich color and high clarity.
What is the birthstone for July? Ruby is the birthstone for July.
How is ruby mined? Ruby is mined using alluvial and underground mining techniques. Alluvial mining involves washing river sediments for ruby deposits, while underground mining involves drilling and blasting tunnels to access ruby deposits deep underground.
How do you care for ruby jewelry? Ruby should be stored separately from other jewelry to prevent scratching, and it should be cleaned regularly with a soft brush and mild soap. Avoid exposing ruby to high heat or chemicals, as this can damage the gemstone.