Ruby gemstone, color characteristics and prices
What gemstone is ruby?
Ruby is a red precious stone, and is one of the four precious gems together with sapphire, emerald and diamond.
The chemical formula of ruby is Al2O3:Cr. This means that ruby is mainly composed of aluminum oxide (Al2O3) with traces of chromium (Cr) which give the mineral its characteristic red color. Chromium is the key element responsible for the bright red color of rubies.
Some information to recognize the ruby:
Color and shade: The typical color of ruby varies from bright red to dark red often described as “pigeon blood red”. The most valuable rubies have an intense hue and high color purity.
Hardness: Ruby is one of the hardest gemstones, with a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale. This means it is very scratch resistant and can be worn daily without significant concerns of damage.
Origin: The most famous ruby mines are found in Burma (now known as Myanmar), but high-quality rubies have also been discovered in other parts of the world, such as Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Madagascar, Tanzania and Afghanistan.
Grading: The grading of rubies is based on various factors, including color, carat, clarity and cut. Rubies with a vivid color, no visible inclusions and well cut are the most valuable and expensive.
Symbolism: Ruby is often associated with power, passion and love. It has been considered a stone of protection and strength for centuries. In some cultures, such as the Indian one, the ruby has also been considered a symbol of nobility and royalty.
Use in Jewelry: Rubies are widely used in jewelry for making rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. They are often combined with other precious stones, such as diamonds, to create jewels of great value and beauty.
Care: Even though rubies are durable, it is still important to take care of them. It is advisable to clean them delicately using warm water and neutral soap and to avoid impacts that could damage the stone or its assembly.
Rubies are considered classic and timeless precious stones, much loved both for their beauty and their symbolic meaning. They are often chosen for jewelry intended for special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries and meaningful gifts.
Where are the main sources of Ruby extraction located?
Rubies are mined from different parts of the world, but some of the most significant and renowned sources include:
Burma (Myanmar): Burma has long been one of the most prestigious sources of high-quality rubies. The Mogok mines and Mong Hsu district are famous for producing rubies of intense color and high purity.
Mozambique: Mozambique has become a major producer of high-quality rubies in recent years and is known for its production of vibrant red gemstones. Mozambique rubies are mined from different regions of the country. Among the most important production areas are the Montepuez district in the province of Cabo Delgado and the Niassa region. These areas are famous for producing high-quality rubies.
Sri Lanka (Ceylon): Sri Lanka is another major producer of rubies. Stones from this region are often known for their vibrant red color and transparency.
Thailand: In Thailand, rubies are mined from several locations, including the Chanthaburi and Trat mines. These stones are renowned for their color and quality.
Vietnam: Vietnam is known for its dark red to purplish red rubies. Luc Yen province is one of the main mining areas.
Madagascar: Madagascar has become a major producer of rubies in recent years. Stones from this region are often brightly colored and are quarried from areas such as the Andilamena massif.
Tanzania: The Songea region of Tanzania is famous for its rubies, which can range in hue from red to pink and are often used in high-quality jewelry.
Kenya: Ruby mines in Kenya, particularly in the Tsavo region, produce rubies of various qualities and colors, but some can be of high quality.
Afghanistan: Afghanistan is known for its dark red rubies mined from areas such as the Jegdalek district.
These are just some of the major ruby mining sources around the world. It is important to note that the quality and value of rubies can vary greatly based on their origin, color, clarity and cut. Geographic provenance can also impact the value and appreciation of rubies by collectors and buyers.
What treatments can a Ruby undergo?
Rubies, like many other gemstones, can undergo various treatments to improve their appearance and quality. These treatments can affect the value of the stones and must be declared transparently when selling ruby jewellery. Here are some of the most common treatments rubies can be subjected to:
Heating: Heating is one of the most common treatments to improve the color and clarity of rubies. This process involves heating the stone to high temperatures to remove inclusions or improve color. Most commercial rubies undergo this treatment.
Cavity Filling: Some rubies may have surface cavities or cracks. To improve their appearance, these cavities can be filled with substances such as lead glass. This treatment can significantly improve the appearance of the stone, but must be declared transparently.
It is an invasive treatment that significantly affects the price of the gem.
Thermo Diffusion: The ruby is placed in a controlled environment, often containing chemicals containing chromium or aluminum, and then subjected to a heat treatment at high temperatures (usually above 1000°C) for a specific period of time. During this process, chemicals penetrate the ruby’s surface and diffuse into the crystal. Due to the diffusion of chemicals, the color of ruby changes. For example, a ruby that originally had a paler color might become more vivid and saturated.
It is an invasive treatment that significantly affects the price of the gem.
How much is a ruby worth?
The value of a ruby depends on several key factors that influence its price. These factors include:
Carat: The size of the ruby is one of the most significant factors influencing its value. In general, larger rubies tend to have a higher value than smaller ones.
Color: Color is one of the most important attributes in determining the value of a ruby. Deep red rubies, without subtle shades or excessive shades of other hues, are the most valuable.
Clarity: Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions or imperfections within the ruby. Transparent rubies or ones with minimal inclusions are more expensive.
Cut: The quality of the cut affects the overall appearance of the ruby. A well-executed cut can maximize the beauty and brilliance of the stone, thus increasing its value.
Treatments: The presence or absence of treatments affects the value. Untreated or minimally treated (heat treated) rubies are much more valuable than those that have undergone significant treatment to improve color or clarity (thermal diffusion or cavity filling).
Origin: Geographical origin can also influence the value. Rubies from some historical regions, such as Burma (Myanmar), may be considered more valuable.
To give a rough overview of ruby prices, here is a general estimate based on carat weight:
1 Carat Rubies: 1 carat rubies can range in price from a few hundred dollars for lower-quality stones to several thousand dollars for high-quality rubies, with rich colors, excellent clarity and cut.
2-Carat Rubies: Rubies 2 carats and above can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars for high-quality rubies.
Keep in mind that these are only approximate prices and that there are many variables that affect the value of a ruby. For example, a 1-carat ruby with rich color and exceptional clarity may be more valuable than a 2-carat ruby with lower characteristics.
What does it mean to give a Ruby as a gift?
Ruby is a gemstone that has a wide range of symbolic meanings in different cultures and traditions. Here are some of the most common symbolic meanings associated with rubies:
Love and Passion: The ruby is often considered a symbol of love and intense passion. Its red coloring is associated with fire and energy, making it a traditional gift to express love and romantic desire.
Strength and Courage: Thanks to its vibrant red hue, ruby is often seen as a symbol of strength and courage. Wearing a ruby can inspire confidence and determination in life’s challenges.
Protection: In some cultures, ruby has been considered a talisman of protection against negative influences and harmful energies. It was thought that it could ward off bad luck and bring good luck.
Lasting Love: Ruby is sometimes associated with everlasting love and longevity of relationships. This makes it a popular symbol for wedding anniversaries, especially the 40th anniversary.
Nobility and Power: Throughout history, ruby has been worn by kings, queens and nobles. In some cultures, it represents nobility, royalty and power. It was often used to create crown jewelry and regalia.
Vitality and Passion for Life: Ruby is associated with vitality and enthusiasm for life. It is believed to stimulate energy and optimism.
Emotional Healing: In some crystal healing traditions, ruby is used to promote emotional balance, helping to overcome sadness and feelings of despondency.
Chakra: In the practice of yoga and Ayurveda, ruby is associated with the heart chakra and emotional openness.
Faith and Spirituality: In some Eastern cultures, ruby is considered a symbol of faith and spirituality. It is believed to help develop a deeper connection with the divine.
It is important to note that symbolic meanings can vary greatly between cultures and traditions. The personal meaning of a ruby can also depend on individual beliefs and experiences. So if you choose to wear a ruby or gift it to someone, consider the symbolic meanings that resonate with you or the person it is intended for.
Famous jewels with Ruby:
Rubies are much-loved gemstones and have been used in famous and iconic jewelry throughout history. Here are some examples of famous jewels that feature rubies:
The Ruby and Diamond Tiara of Elizabeth II: This royal tiara is one of the most iconic jewels belonging to the collection of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. It is made of rubies and diamonds and has been worn on numerous formal occasions and royal ceremonies.
Liz Taylor’s Ruby and Diamond Necklace: The famous actress Elizabeth Taylor owned a spectacular ruby and diamond necklace, a gift to her from her second husband, Richard Burton. This jewel was known for its extraordinary design and the impressive size of the rubies.
Wallis Simpson’s Ruby Necklace: Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom King Edward VIII of England abdicated the throne, owned a sumptuous ruby and diamond necklace created by jeweler Cartier. This jewel has become a symbol of her sophisticated style.
Jacqueline Kennedy’s Ruby Ring: Former First Lady of the United States Jacqueline Kennedy owned a famous ruby and diamond ring, a gift to her from her husband, President John F. Kennedy. This ring has become a style icon.
The “Graff Ruby”: The “Graff Ruby” is one of the largest and most valuable rubies in the world, weighing over 23 carats and was sold at auction for a record sum. It was mounted in a ring by the famous jeweler Laurence Graff.
The “Red Emperor Necklace” by Faidee: This ruby necklace was created by jeweler Faidee and is made of high-quality Burmese rubies, including the central heart-shaped ruby of over 10 carats. It is one of the most prestigious jewels in the world.
The “Ratnaraj”: This is one of the most famous rubies in the world, weighing over 300 carats and has been owned by various monarchs and emperors. The name “Ratnaraj” means “King of Stones” and was considered a symbol of power and royalty.
These are just a few examples of famous jewelry that features rubies. Rubies have been widely used in royal and celebrity jewelry for centuries, due to their beauty and symbolic meaning.