Rubies are a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminum oxide). The red colour is caused by the presence of chromium. The colour ranges from delicate pink to blood red. The deeper the red, the more precious the ruby is considered, and the more expensive. Rubies are found all over the world, from Thailand & Myanmar to Namibia, Scotland and more.
All natural rubies have imperfections in them: inclusions of rutile needles (called ‘silk’). Gemologists use the presence of the needles to distinguish between natural rubies and synthetic lab created rubies. Like diamonds, the clearer the ruby, the more expensive it is, although, highly occluded rubies are quite beautiful in their own right. Rubies score a 9.0 on the Mohs Hardness scale, making them one of the strongest natural gems. Ruby crystals can also be found in the minerals Fuchsite, Zoisite & Kyanite. When present in these minerals, the stones take on a beautiful multi-coloured hue.
Rubies have been used throughout history in beautiful and intricate jewelry and artwork. There is early recorded trading of rubies on the Silk Road around 200 BC. Traditionally, rubies were held in high esteem in Asian countries, used to ornament armour, scabbards and horse harnesses for the noblemen of ancient India & China. They were also laid beneath the foundation of buildings to secure good fortune to the structure. It is said that the ruby was a favoured gemstone of Kublai Khan. More recently, the world’s largest ruby, The Liberty Bell Ruby was stolen in 2011. The world’s most expensive ruby, The Sunrise Ruby, sold in May 2015 at auction for $30 million to an anonymous buyer.
Rubies are the traditional gemstone for the month of July and are also associated with the astrological signs of Capricorn, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, & Scorpio. Linked the planet Mars, the ruby is the 15th & 40th anniversary stone. The ruby is a symbol of vitality and royalty and often associated with love. It is said that a ruby under the pillow will ward off bad dreams and that when given as a gift, the ruby is a symbol of friendship and love. In metaphysical healing, the ruby is an energy stone which can amplify energy and increase the wearer’s chi.