Rubies, known as the “king of precious stones,” captivate with their intense red hue and timeless beauty, carrying a legacy of passion, power, and prosperity through the ages. As one of the most coveted gemstones in the world, rubies continue to enchant and fascinate both gem enthusiasts and collectors alike. Discover the allure of rubies showcased in the gemstones and jewelry by American Gem Society (AGS) members.
What is a ruby?
Ruby gemstones are a variety of the mineral corundum. More specifically, they are the red variety, which is colored by chromium. Other colors of corundum are classified as sapphire.
The word “ruby” comes from the Latin word “ruber” for the red hue. All rubies are red, yet they can have orange, pink, or purple tints.
How are rubies made?
Like many gemstones, rubies are made under extreme heat and pressure below the earth. When compressed, oxygen and aluminum atoms turn into corundum. This mineral, along with the presence of chromium, creates rubies and their distinct hue.
Here’s another fun fact about rubies: If ferric iron is also present, the ruby will be a shade of orange or pink.
Where are rubies found in the world?
The finest rubies come from Burma (Myanmar). They are also mined in Afghanistan, Australia, Cambodia, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam.
How hard are rubies?
Ruby gemstones measure 9 on the Mohs scale. They are tough and durable, yet the chromium can cause cracks and fissures. Few rubies grow large enough to crystallize into fine-quality gems—the value of these pieces can be even higher than diamonds.
One of the surprising facts about rubies is that their hardness comes in second place to diamonds. The diamond is the only natural gemstone harder than a ruby.
How rare are rubies?
Rubies are one of the rarest gemstones. The rarest rubies come from Burma (Myanmar), due to their high quality and exceptional color. Good quality rubies larger than one carat are also extremely rare.
What are rubies used for?
The most common use for rubies is jewelry—stunning jewelry! However, both natural and synthetic rubies are used in a variety of applications—such as watchmaking, medical instruments, and lasers—because of their incredible strength and red fluorescence.
How big is the largest ruby?
The current titleholder of the largest ruby is the 125West Ruby. This unpolished rough-cut ruby gemstone weighs 8.2 pounds/18,696 carats. The Liberty Bell Ruby is the largest mined ruby at 8,500 carats. It was carved and polished to resemble the actual Liberty Bell.
Other large rubies include the Neelanjali Ruby (1,370 carats); DeLong Star Ruby (100.32 carats); and the Midnight Star Ruby (116.75 carats).