THE KING OF GEMSTONES
The Ruby is known as the King of Gemstones as it has been revered by aristocracy throughout time. It is the birthstone for July babies, and also the zodiacal stone for Capricorns. The day of the week that Ruby is assigned to is Tuesday, and planets are Pluto and Mars. Traditionally the Ruby is used to celebrate the fifteenth and fortieth wedding anniversaries.
For Ruby, the brilliance of colour is determined by the amount of chromium and iron present in it. Variances of these minerals enable us to enjoy this stone in a range of red based colours with the most desired being blood red, this is commonly referred to as “pigeon’s blood”.
Ruby is one of the worlds highest valued gemstones, they are prized for their hardness and can become more valuable than diamonds equivalently sized. The rarest of rubies are those which weight over 1ct in weight, so pricing on these stones increases immensely with size.
This striking gemstone is the red variety of the mineral corundum, corundum that occurs in any colour other than red, is typically classified as sapphire. It is the second hardest natural mineral known to exist, second only to the diamond making ruby a great choice for everyday wearing.
Some ruby are exposed to heat treatments, this is to permanently enhance the colour of the stone. Other treatments used to enhance the colour in ruby is diffusion and irradiation (radiation treatment), oils and dye.
Tip: When purchasing Ruby, always buy these by size and not by carat weight. Coloured stones will always vary in size-to-weight ratio.
A natural ruby can be noted apart from the synthetic variety by the inclusions in the stone. Untreated, a natural ruby will almost always contain inclusions which are commonly known as ‘silk’, this is a telltale sign that the ruby has not been treated with heat. A synthetic ruby will be very clean to the eye.
Another enhancement which can be made to ruby is fracture filling, this is a treatment using lead glass which is conducted, rendering heavily included gemstones. It is these rubies you need to be extra cautious about when cleaning.
Different types of rubies can include trapiche rubies, cat’s eye ruby and star ruby however these rubies are quite rare.
The main sources of ruby include Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma) and Tanzania.
Cleaning your Ruby
You can clean your ruby by using a mild detergent or soapy water, wash with a soft brush ensuring the mounting and ruby is clean of all debris, then rinse and dry with a microfibre cloth. This will help eliminate dullness in your gemstone, and restore the shine it once had.
Rubies should not be exposed to acid, as this is especially detrimental if the stone has been treated in any way.
Keeping your rubies stored away from other gemstones will avoid them becoming scratched. Keep your gemstones wrapped inside of a soft cloth, or place them inside of a fabric lined jewellery box to keep them safe.