What Is a Ruby? | Bixler’s Gemstone Guide
Ruby is a precious gemstone that naturally forms from mineral corundum or, aluminum oxide. The gemstone forms under the surface of the earth and requires extreme heat and pressure. When oxygen and aluminum atoms pack densely together for some time, they form corundum. During formation, the stone achieves a hardness of 9.0 on the Mohs scale that tests the toughness of a mineral. This makes it the second hardest after diamond. Being a hard gemstone, the ruby is a durable gemstone and is easy to care for.
Ruby is an extremely rare gemstone to find. This is because there is plenty of silica and iron underneath the earth’s surface. These elements greatly prevent the formation of corundum which makes the ruby. The precious gemstone is valued as a birthstone for July. It is said to provide luck and protection to those born in this month. Rubies are mostly found in regions such as Thailand, Island of Ceylon, India, Madagascar, Russia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Cambodia, Mexico, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and North Carolina.
What Does It Look Like?
Ruby is a Latin word derived from ruber, meaning red. The red color of a ruby is mainly when the aluminum oxide is replaced with another element like chromium. Corundum is usually a colorless substance and that is why ruby is somehow transparent with a red hue. It comes in different shades of red such as the color of a ripe raspberry. The color of a ruby is breathtaking and is supplemented by fluorescence which brightens the red color under natural or artificial light. It looks so beautiful even as a stone or as a final product like a ring, necklace and more. How a ruby looks like determines the value and quality. The color of a ruby is its primary physical appearance a natural ruby is red. However, it is classified into different categories according to its secondary hues such as pink, purple, violet and orange.
What Does a Ruby Symbolize?
The ruby gemstone has been around for many generations. In the past, ruby was considered a stone of kings and royalty. It was and still is greatly associated with power, wealth, and passion and owning one had plenty of benefits. It was purported to provide security for the owner and consequently led to the accumulation of more wealth. What’s more, it was said to attract more gems for the owner. The stone also protected the lives of the bearers when worn on the left side of the heart. This meant that no evil or even natural calamities would befall the owners of the gem.
Another symbolization of this precious stone is the blood symbol. Given its red color, the ruby encouraged stronger and better associations just like the blood does. That is why most Burmese soldiers inserted the rubies in their flesh to guard them and in turn, get their long-lasting protection. Rubies also prevented the bearer from having evil thoughts, anger and also provided the wisdom to resolve disputes. As mentioned earlier, a ruby illuminates when placed under the light. So, in the past, the ruby was considered a source of heat or light. When placed in water, it could boil and when wrapped, the ruby would glow its way out and light up the area.
What Are Rubies Worth?
Rare gemstones are considered expensive due to their uniqueness, durability, and beauty. Since the ruby falls into this rare category, it is a very costly stone. There are plenty of factors that aid in determining the worth of rubies including color, clarity, carat weight, cut, saturation, and origin. The color of a ruby is the most important property it has and it greatly affects its worth. Red is the main color of a ruby deduced from its definition in Latin. However, it is rare to find a ruby with an effervescent, brilliant, highly saturated red with red fluorescence. These attributes make this type of ruby highly valuable.
You can assess the color of a ruby based on the hue, saturation, and tone. A ruby with fewer secondary colors and is highly saturated is more valuable. The desired tone of a ruby is neither too light nor too dark. The clarity of a ruby is the internal inclusions it has. If the inclusions are visible, it reduces the value of the ruby. As for the weight, the more it weighs per carat, the more valuable it is. Also, the origin of a ruby plays a role in determining its worth. By analyzing the inclusions in the rubies, you can determine their origin. Rubies with Burmese origin are the most valuable pieces in the world. The treatment of ruby also affects its worth. When rubies are treated, their general appearance improves. Heat makes the best treatment and the heated rubies are more valuable compared to other treatments.
What Does a Raw Ruby Look Like?
As mentioned earlier, corundum is used in the formation of a ruby gemstone. Since pure corundum is a colorless and clear element, it has low dispersion. The colors you see in a ruby vary and are generated from elemental substitution. Euhedral corundum crystals display a hexagonal shape that forms squat plates. It has a flat surface that is different from the pointed protuberances of other crystalline formations. The rock that a ruby grows on will determine its overall appearance for instance, blocky or tapered. Generally, the color of ruby should have a distinctive red hue.
What Is It Good For?
For years, rubies have been used in making jewelry for beauty, protection, and even as a show of wealth. Today, rubies are good for making valuable jewelry such as rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants and more. Some cultures around the world still have faith in the mythical believes that a ruby provides physical, emotional, and spiritual protection. Most people born in the month of July often choose ruby jewelry as it is its birthstone.
Scientists use rubies in their laser technologies due to their ability to concentrate and reflect light. Laser beams are mostly red and this was inspired by rubies. Laser machines that are used for tattoo removal also prefer using rubies.
Read More: What Is the Birthstone for July?