Happy Birthday, Ruby!

Did you know that many believe that rubies hold the power of life and are often used as protection?


It's no coincidence that in The Wizard of Oz Dorothy's ruby slippers were thought to protect her from evil, good choice!


Although rubies were once reserved for royalty and upper classes, today they range in quality and are available at a variety of price points.


he Wizard of Oz Dorothy's ruby slippers

Curious to find out more?


Let's begin with some fun facts:

  • Ruby is a part of the corundum family

  • It's colour ranges from orangey red to purplish red

  • Most rubies on the market have some inclusions and are dark red in colour



  • Rubies over 1 carat in size are very rare. Stones of that size or larger are typically cut into ovals or cushions to save as much weight as possible. Round cuts lead to too much material loss

  • As with many coloured gemstones, colour is the most significant factor affecting a ruby's value

  • Ruby is the most valuable variety of the corundum family, along with Padparadscha sapphires


selection of loose oval rubies on a white background


To find out more about why certain gemstones are only cut into certain shapes, visit my previous post: Let's get in shape!


Source


Asia is the main source of rubies with the majority of gems coming from Myanmar (formally known as Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.


Other deposits are located in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal.


selection of ruby rough


Availability


The majority of rubies you will see in stores are dark red, my clients are often surprised by how dark mid-range rubies really are (they can even be mistake for garnets). They also don't photograph very well, so when it comes to choosing a ruby I always suggest doing so in person. To give you an example, this was a gorgeous ruby but looked somewhat unimpressive in the photo.


lady's hand wearing a vintage inspired marquise and diamond halo white gold engagement ring

Rubies of strong purplish or orangey red shades are less desirable compared to bright red stones. The latter really are rare and do come with a hefty price tag.


Rubies that are less than 1 carat in size are much easier to source and are much more reasonably priced.


oval ruby and round diamond white gold earrings

Some people in the gemstone industry debate the borderline between ruby and pink sapphires, they do after all come from the same corundum family.


If a gem shows "enough" red colour it is called a ruby, if not, it is called a pink sapphire. The main idea here is that red should be the dominant colour that you see, not purple, pink or orange. If any of those colours are dominant, they should technically be sold as such (e.g purple sapphire, pink sapphire, orange sapphire).


To give you an example, below is a hot pink sapphire.


cushion cut hot pink sapphire held in tweezers

To learn more about sapphires that come in all colours of the rainbow, visit my previous blog: Pop the Question with a Pop of Colour


Fun Fact: while travelling in Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia I saw many bright pink sapphires being sold as rubies (at high ruby prices) but in my professional opinion as a certified gemologist, they would not be graded or sold as rubies in North America.


To give you an example, these are very pink looking rubies, especially the one on the left.


lady's hand wearing oval ruby and round diamond three stone yellow gold engagement ring

What are "Burmese" and "pigeon's blood" rubies?


Burma, now know as Myanmar was once a source of the most prized rubies in the world. Now a days, true Burmese rubies are virtually impossible to source.


Many people in the gemstone industry as well as clients are using the term “Burmese rubies” as a colour reference rather than the source, for example: “Irina, I am looking for a Burmese ruby, but it doesn't actually have to be from Burma”. What they are looking for here is a high quality, bright red ruby.


The same goes for the somewhat morbid (in my opinion) term "pigeon's blood". It is used to describe a fine quality ruby. There is only one laboratory (located in Switzerland) that will actually use that term on their gemstone certificates to describe a very specific shade of red.


July birthstone ruby infographic

July Birthstone


Ruby is also known for the following traits:

  • increases courage and passion, due to its vivid red colour

  • restores vitality and energy levels

  • brings protection and harmony

  • improves mental focus and intellectual prosperity


lady's hand wearing a selection of vintage inspired oval and cushion cut ruby and diamond halo white gold engagement rings

Do you know what powers and qualities your birthstone holds?

Visit my previous post titled Beauty and Power to find out!


Durability


In terms of hardness, ruby scores a 9 out of 10 on Moh's scale (same as sapphires).


With diamonds at 10, they can scratch your ruby if not stored properly or if they rub against each other.


a yellow gold and glass jewellery box containing jewellery pendants and rings next to a peach carnation flower

Rubies are a gorgeous and durable stone for everyday wear and is a perfect choice if you are looking for a unique and one-of-a-kind engagement ring!

For a safe and easy way to clean your ruby jewellery, simply use a soft toothbrush and soapy water.


For more tips visit my previous post:

10 easy tips to keep your jewellery Clean and Damage-Free


pear shape morganite necklace in rose gold next to rose gold diamond stacking ring next to jewellery cleaning tools, toothbrush a bawl of soapy water lint free gem cloth on a beige background

Treatments


Heat treatment is an industry standard, in fact, almost 99% of all rubies and sapphires are heat treated to enhance and stabilise the colour, it is a permanent process.

Non-treated rubies are more rare and difficult to find, typically they are also more expensive.


As most rubies and sapphires undergo heat treatment, do not be surprised if you do not see a mention of it in your appraisal or grading report. Typically, appraisals and grading reports will only state “no treatment detected” in case of unheated stones.



Pro Tip: What you do not want to purchase is a "glass filled ruby". These stones should not even be called rubies as they are mainly glass and have very little or no value.


The won't always look like the one below, so make sure you are buying a natural ruby from a reputable source.


glass filled ruby


Synthetic ruby

Synthetic (man-made) rubies have the same crystal structure and chemical composition as their natural counterparts and can be developed by scientists in labs. They may look similar but can be identified as synthetic with the use of certain equipment by a certified gemologist (like me).


Although synthetic rubies are available for purchase at certain jewellery stores at a fraction of a price of natural rubies, the two should not be confused as their value is completely different.




When purchasing natural coloured gemstones from Tsarina Gems, you will receive an independent, third party appraisal for your piece of mind. I take pride in working with companies who supply responsibly sourced, natural gemstones.






Is a gorgeous ruby on your wish list?


I will be delighted to hear about it!


Schedule a complementary, 30 minute connection call with me here







Looking for more information on my unique custom process?

Check out my previous blog posts:


How much does a custom ring cost?

Five reasons to go custom

How to choose the perfect engagement ring?



Looking for jewellery and gemstone inspiration?

Visit Tsarina Gems Instagram page for more stunning jewellery ideas and styling tips