Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, colored by
the element chromium. All other colors of gem-quality
corundum are called sapphire, which means color is key for
this royal gemstone.
Accordingly, the name “ruby” comes from rubeus, the Latin
word for red. In ancient Sanskrit, ruby translated to
ratnaraj, which meant “king of precious stones.” These fiery
gems have been treasured throughout history for their color and vitality.
The chromium that gives ruby its red color also causes
fluorescence, which makes rubies glow like a fire from
within. Paradoxically, chromium is also what makes this gem
scarce because it can cause cracks and fissures. Few rubies
actually grow large enough to crystallize into fine quality
gems, and these can bring even higher prices than diamonds.
Burma’s Mogok Valley historically produced the finest ruby
material, famous for its deep blood-red color with purplish
hues. These Burmese Rubies, also called Pigeon’s Blood
Rubies, command a premium over brownish or orange-tinged
varieties from other regions.
The Mong Hsu region of Myanmar began producing rubies in the
90's after discovering that heat treatment improved the color
saturation. Other ruby deposits exist in Vietnam, Thailand,
India, parts of the Middle East, East Africa and even the
Tough and durable, ruby measures 9 on the Mohs scale.
Diamond is the only natural gemstone harder than ruby.
Ruby’s strength and red fluorescence make it valuable for
applications beyond jewelry. Both natural and synthetic
rubies are used in watchmaking, medical instruments and
Due to its deep red color, ruby has long been associated
with the life force and vitality of blood. Ancients believed that it amplified energy, heightened awareness, promoted courage and
brought success in wealth, love and battle.