Ruby Jewellery


Ruby is a member of the corundum mineral family, distinguished by its red color. Ruby's hues range from pinkish-red to deep, rich crimson, with the most sought-after shade being "pigeon's blood" red. Ruby and pink sapphire and both the same mineral and are easy to confuse. The key difference lies in the saturation of red; rubies are defined by their rich, vivid red hue, while pink sapphires display a lighter pink tone. The boundary between pink sapphire and ruby can be subjective and varies depending on regional definitions, but it generally hinges on the depth and intensity of the red coloration.

Hardness/Durability: Ruby ranks 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, making it one of the hardest natural gemstones and suitable for everyday wear. However, it is not indestructible and over time rubies will develop chips and nibbles to their facet edges. Care should be taken when wearing rubies not to expose them to knocks which could weaken or break their structure.

Common Inclusions Rubies often contain inclusions of rutile needles known as "silk." Other common inclusions are crystals, feathers, and color zoning.

Lustre: The gemstone exhibits a vitreous to sub-adamantine lustre, contributing to its prized brilliance and shine.

Locations/Deposits/Geology Significant ruby deposits are found in Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and East Africa. These stones are typically formed in metamorphic rocks or in basalt rocks.

Common Treatments: Ruby heat treatment is a widely practiced and accepted gemstone enhancement process, where rubies are exposed to high temperatures to improve their color and clarity. This treatment can reduce the visibility of inclusions and enhance the stone's overall appearance, often making the ruby more attractive and valuable. Heat treatment is a permanent process and does not typically diminish the gemstone's durability, making it a standard practice in the gemstone industry and one that has been carried out for thousands of years.

Synthetic Rubies: Synthetic rubies are created through several laboratory processes that replicate the natural conditions under which real rubies form. The history of synthetic ruby production dates back to the late 19th century and the most common method is the Flame Fusion (Verneuil Process). Invented by Auguste Verneuil in 1902, this method involves dropping finely powdered aluminum oxide (the principal component of ruby) through a high-temperature flame. This flame melts the powder, which then falls onto a rotating pedestal to form a boule (a synthetic, uncut gemstone) that can be cut into gemstones. This method is efficient and cost-effective, producing affordable rubies with vivid color and excellent clarity.

Value: The value of a naturally formed ruby is primarily determined by its color, clarity, cut, and carat weight, with the most prized specimens exhibiting a vibrant, deep red color known as "pigeon's blood." Rubies with minimal inclusions and those that are well-cut to maximize brilliance command higher prices. Additionally, the rarity of large rubies with exceptional quality significantly increases their value, often making them more valuable than diamonds of similar size.

Common Jewellery Applications: Rubies are a popular choice for rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. They are often set in precious metals like gold and platinum to accentuate their rich color.

Birthstone & Meaning: Ruby is the birthstone for July, symbolising love, energy, passion, and power. In various cultures, rubies are believed to bring good fortune, courage, and health. They are also associated with intense emotions and are considered the stone of love.

Famous Rubies:

  • Sunrise Ruby: Set a record for the most expensive ruby ever sold at auction.
  • Mogok Ruby: Originating from the famed Mogok Valley in Myanmar, known for its exceptional color.
  • Neelanjali Ruby: A renowned large ruby with a unique star pattern, signifying its rarity and historical significance.

What is a star ruby?

A star ruby is a unique type of ruby that exhibits a phenomenon known as asterism, characterized by a star-like pattern that appears on the surface of the gemstone. This effect is caused by the presence of tiny, needle-like inclusions of rutile within the ruby. When light falls on the gemstone, these inclusions reflect it in such a way that a star with six rays appears on the top of the stone. Star rubies are particularly valued for this captivating feature and are often cut in a cabochon shape to best display the star effect. Star rubies can be natural (incredibly rare and valuable) or synthetic.