JULY - RUBY: THE KING OF GEMSTONES July 28 2016

What colour do you spontaneously associate with love and vivacity, passion and power? It's obvious, isn't it?  Red. The colour of love, The colour of Rubies, radiates warmth and a strong sense of vitality. 

She is more precious than Rubies: And all the things thou canst desire are not to be compare unto her”- Proverbs 3:15

MEANING
For thousands of years, the Ruby has been considered one of the most valuable gemstones on Earth. It has everything a precious stone should have: magnificent colour, excellent hardness and outstanding brilliance. In addition to that, it is an extremely rare gemstone, especially in its finer qualities.For a long time India was regarded as the Ruby's classical country of origin. In the major works of Indian literature, a rich store of knowledge about gemstones has been handed down over a period of more than two thousand years. The term 'corundum', which we use today, is derived from the Sanskrit word 'kuruvinda'. The Sanskrit word for Ruby is 'Ratnaraj', which literally translates into the 'King of the gemstones'. 

FACT
Ruby is the red variety of the mineral Corundum, one of the hardest minerals on Earth, of which the Sapphire is also a variety. Pure corundum is colourless. Slight traces of elements such as chrome, iron, titanium or vanadium are responsible for the colour. These gemstones have excellent hardness and are second only to diamonds. Only red corundum is entitled to be called Ruby, all other colours being classified as Sapphires. The close relationship between the Ruby and the Sapphire has only been known since the beginning of the 19th century. Until then, red garnets or spinels were also thought to be Rubies.

Ruby, this magnificent red variety from the multi-coloured corundum family, consists of aluminium oxide and chrome as well as very fine traces of other elements - depending on which deposit it was from. In really fine colours and good clarity, however, this gemstone occurs only very rarely in the world's mines. Somewhat paradoxically, it is actually the colouring element chrome which is responsible for this scarcity. Whilst chrome is the element which gives the Ruby its wonderful colour, it’s  also responsible for causing a multitude of fissures and cracks inside the crystals. Thus only very few Ruby crystals were given the good conditions in which they could grow undisturbed to considerable sizes and crystallise to form perfect gemstones. For this reason, Rubies of more than 3 carats in size are very rare. Rubies with hardly any inclusions and in good colours and large sizes will surpass the prices paid for diamonds in the same category.


Inclusions of tiny, slender, parallel Rutile needles in Ruby cause a polished gem to exhibit a star like formation known as asterism. A Ruby displaying asterism is known as a "Star Ruby,” and if transparent can be very highly prized. The same Rutile inclusions that are responsible for asterism in certain Rubies can also decrease transparency and cause a hazy effect known as silk.  A unique gemstone form composed of opaque red Ruby in contrasting green Zoisite is well known from Tanzania, and is known as Ruby-in-Ziosite.

BURMESE RUBIES? NOT JUST FROM BURMA
When gemstone experts refer to a 'Burmese Ruby', they are talking about a top luxe category. However, it does not necessarily follow that the stone is of Burmese origin. It is basically an indication of the fact that the colour of the Ruby in question is that typically shown by stones from the famous deposits in Burma (now Myanmar): a rich, full red with a slightly bluish hue. The colour of a Burmese Ruby is regarded as exceptionally vivid. It is said to display its unique brilliance in any light, be it natural or artificial.
Ruby deposits also exist in neighbouring Vietnam, which generally display a slightly purplish hue. Rubies from Thailand, often have a darker red which tends towards brown. This 'Siamese colour' - an elegantly muted deep red - is considered second in beauty only to the Burmese colour, and is especially popular in the USA. Ceylon Rubies, which have now become very rare, are mainly light red, like ripe raspberries.
Other Ruby deposits are located in Northern Pakistan, Kashmir, Tadzhikistan, Laos, Nepal, and Afghanistan. But Rubies are also produced in India, where deposits with relatively large crystals were discovered in Mysore and Orissa. These crystals have many inclusions, but they are, nevertheless, eminently suited to being cut as beads or cabochons.


Lately, people have begun to talk about East Africa as a source of Rubies ( See our Earrings featured above)  Rubies from Kenya and Tanzania have surprised experts by their beautiful, strong colour, which may vary from light to dark red.

COLOUR! COLOUR! COLOUR!
The most important thing about this precious stone is its colour. It was not for no reason that the name 'Ruby' was derived from the Latin word 'rubens', meaning 'red'. The red of the Ruby is incomparable: warm and fiery. Two magical elements are associated with the symbolism of this colour: fire and blood, implying warmth and life. So Ruby-red is not just any old colour.  It is absolute undiluted, hot and passionate.  A Ruby’s transparency is only of secondary importance and inclusions do not impair its quality, unless they decrease the transparency of the stone Inclusions within a Ruby are almost a statement of its individuality and, at the same time, proof of its genuineness and natural origin.

 

FOLKLORE
Rubies stir the imagination and race the blood. They are said to guarantee health, wisdom, wealth and success in love. In the fascinating world of gemstones, the Ruby is the undisputed ruler. 

 

What better way to demonstrate your love than by giving a Ruby in celebration of a July birthday?

Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery