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Ruby Variety of the Mineral Corundum

princess cut ruby gemstone

Perfection in a Ruby is Extremely Rare

Rubies are captivating gemstones known for their deep red colour.  Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum.

Corundum is the hardest mineral on Earth after diamond.

The colour of ruby is caused primarily by impurities of chromium.  Its chemical composition is almost identical to sapphire.

Although red corundum is known as ruby, all other colours are sapphire.

The similarity between ruby and sapphire has only been fully understood since the beginning of the 19th century.  Until then red garnets and spinels were also believed to be rubies.

The Black Prince's Ruby and Timur Ruby were later found to be spinels.

The name 'ruby' comes from the Latin word 'ruber' meaning 'red'.

Colour is the most important factor in determining the value of a ruby.  The finest grade rubies are highly sought after and command extraordinary prices.

Almost all rubies have minor imperfections or anomalies.  Millions of years ago whilst growing deep within the core of Earth, the chromium responsible for the red colour also caused fissures and cracks within the crystal.  Very few enjoyed the right conditions to grow undisturbed in order to crystallise to perfection.

An important mining area for rubies during the 1990's was a small town in north east Myanmar (formerly Burma).  The first rubies to be discovered there were not classified as gem-grade stones.  This was because they displayed two colours, a purple to black core and bright red periphery.

It was some time before it was discovered the shade of red could be deepened by the heating the stone.  This increased the value dramatically.

Ruby can be found in a number of locations worldwide.  About 90% are heat treated to enhance or change the colour.

It's usually the rough stone that's heated before cutting begins.  An unheated ruby is considered to be extremely unusual.

Ruby is believed to have been the first stone in the first row of the high priest breastplate.  This religious garment was worn during biblical times by the Jewish high priest.   

Ruby is the birthstone for the month of July.  On the traditional birthstone chart onyx is used as an alternative.

Rubies are associated with love, passion, vitality and courage. They have been worn throughout history by royalty and have a strong cultural significance.
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