Most precious two gemstones come from corundum family. Sapphire and Ruby have the same chemical properties, same mineral structure but the trace impurities lend each distinct color.
Ruby is red variety of corundum mineral that is regarded for its outstanding properties. It is the traces of chromium that imparts red color to it. Sometimes iron, titanium and vanadium also gives different shades to Ruby but only red gemstone is recognized as Ruby. Not all red gems are Ruby; the stones which are pinkish more than red are categorized under Sapphire. The fascination for Ruby gemstone from thousands of years designated it ‘king of the gemstones’. The vivacious red colored July birthstone, Ruby radiates power and warmth in surroundings.
Brilliant color, excellent hardness and majestic appeal together with exclusivity make a gem valuable. Natural Ruby is rare that sports velvety appearance due to the presence of tiny rutile inclusions known as “silk”. Ruby is a gem with hardness scaling at 9 Mohs which is the second highest, only after diamond. It is a vintage gem that has been known since the start of 19th century. A high quality blood red Ruby is an asset, a status symbol that can be treasured and passed to generations. Kings used to decorate their crowns or swords with Emerald, Ruby, Sapphire and many others. The popularity of this stone has grown by leaps and bounds, such that one can see a wide section dedicated to Ruby and Sapphire in every jewelry store.
According to USGS Minerals Yearbook 2013, Ruby was the third most imported colored stone in USA during 2011 in terms of dollar price. Since the price of Ruby is continuously rising and this has been seen in past five years when the price had shown up by 25% in last five years. You may also consider it for investment. Exquisite loose stone or Ruby jewelry is great to hold owing to present economic scenario.
Rubies are ethically mined in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Tajikistan, the USA and Vietnam. India too produces Rubies. Fine Rubies come from prestigious Ceylon mines, Thai mines, Burma Mogok mines and African mines.
The Mogok mines of Burma (Myanmar) is located in northeast of Mandalay, about 140 miles far from the region. It is one of the oldest sources of intense red Rubies which are under military control since 1962. These Rubies have strong fluorescence. The rare “pigeon’s blood” Ruby from Mogok Valley is the best. Most of the Burmese Rubies available today comes from Mong Hsu, Shan State of Myanmar. They are slightly bluish or purplish and are less appealing.
Thailand was hunted for Rubies when Myanmar was practically blocked for over a decade. Thailand is the largest producer of the gem. Chanthaburi and Trat mines located on the border of Cambodia produce Rubies that are darker in shade like garnet. In 1980s’ Thai mines were all exhausted.
African ruby is significantly sourced from Madagascar mines; Tanzania and Mozambique are the other two areas to find Ruby gemstone.
Ruby is a historic gem. The passion for color earned everlasting popularity for gem. It is prized since yesteryears and the glory continues till date. This July birthstone also shares status of gemstone for fifteenth and fortieth marriage anniversaries.