Just like any other gemstone, rubies too are laced with a couple of myths and lores. As legends may have it, rubies can provide those born in July, strength and bring them good fortune and even love. Rubies can also be gifted to celebrate 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.
For many centuries, rubies were regarded as one of the most valuable gemstones on Earth. Recorded in various books, from ancient Sanskrit to the writings of Marco Polo, the crystal is deeply embedded into culture, making it one of the most historically significant stone.
Rubies were once believed to enable the ability to develop psychic gifts, increasing the connection to spiritual entities. Believed to protect it’s wearer from the perils of war, medieval soldiers would even implant rubies into their flesh just before they went out for battle.
Even, oriental mythology holds that if rubies lose their colour and brilliance, it is suggestive of danger in the near future, or the presence of poison.
The Sunrise Ruby
Image Source: jewelsdujour.com
Aptly associated with the colour of our most intense emotions - love, passion and courage - rubies derive their Latin word ruber, meaning red.
For many centuries Myanmar (Burma) has been known as the world’s ruby cornucopia of sorts. Apart from producing some of the finest rubies, the crystals from these mines are also noted for their deep blood red colouring; sometimes described as pigeon blood or Burmese rubies.
Even though Myanmar’s known for its supply of fine rubies, these precious stones are being discovered in mines all across the globe, including India, Australia and Africa.
Fine rubies are widely known for their vibrant red hue, but somewhat paradoxically their colouring is responsible for its scarcity. Ranging from colours of bright red to dark reddish brown, they are considered to be the most expensive member of the corundum family (sapphires being second).
Though sapphires and rubies share a similarity in structure, only red corundum is entitled to be called ruby, while all others are classified as fancy-coloured sapphires. Though corundum is actually colourless the stones get their fiery colour from an impurity called chromium.
Chromium may give rubies their ravishing red colour, but it is also the reason why ruby crystals are created with a multitude of fissures within them. For this reason, you will rarely come across a ruby of more than 3 carats. In fact, rubies with hardly any inclusions command even higher prices that diamonds of the same size and quality.
Rosser Reeves Star Ruby
Image Source: The Online Jeweller
Rubies may be commonly known for its red hue, but there are, there are a rare few that exhibit an extraordinary effect that aficionados call asterism. This is caused when tiny needle inclusions of rutile are oriented parallel to each other, creating the rarely found six-spoked star rubies.
Silk of a Ruby:
These tiny inclusions of rutile sometimes even decrease the transparency of rubies, causing this hazy effect, often described as silk. Though rubies are one of the most valuable of all gemstones, they sometimes come in an inexpensive, dull and opaque variation that is often polished into cabochons.
Elizabeth Taylor's Ruby Ring by Van Cleef and Arpels
Image Source: mt.wiglaf.org
Wear and Care:
Rubies are rated 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, but they are still vulnerable to chipping if they aren’t handled carefully. When cleaning your rubies, warm soapy water is usually the safest bet. Fracture-filled and even treated rubies should only be cleaned with a damp cloth. As with most gemstones, avoid using ultrasonic cleaners and steamers to clean rubies as they can cause the rubies to weaken its structure and possibly crack.
Sunrise Ruby, Rosser Reeves Star Ruby, and, Peace Ruby
Curious about gemstones and the powers they have over you? Check out The Alexandrite to know more about this mesmerizing gemstone.
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