Well, here we are again all my gem and jewel lovers! Another week has gone by and I am ready to drop some new rock knowledge on all you fine folks! Today, we are going to talk about RUBIES (OOOOH and AHHHHH). Let’s get this rock party started (Cue “Get Ready for This” by 2 Unlimited)!!!
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of rubies? I’m guessing it’s the deep, blood red color associated with this gemstone. Was I right? Well, WAS I?! Of course I was. In my spare time when I’m not writing blogs, I also read minds. Anyhoo, when we talk about the color of a ruby, we are talking about hues. There are primary and secondary hues, sometimes even tertiary hues in a single stone. Why is that? Well, because Mother Nature rarely makes a stone that is one, flat color because she’s awesome like that. Rubies are defined as red for the primary hue, and secondary hues can range from orange, purple, violet, and pink.
Speaking of ruby colors, this is where it gets a little heady. Stay with me here, okay? Rubies are a variety of the mineral corundum. The very same mineral, just in a different color, is not called ruby but sapphire. Yup, rubies and sapphires are made from the same mineral (corundum) but just with a slight variation: rubies get their red color from the element chromium, and so are classified as rubies, while traces of iron and titanium create the blue color that sapphires are most known for. However, sapphires can come in a variety of colors and are then just prefixed with that color’s name, i.e., yellow sapphire. SO, to recap, rubies and sapphires are made from the same mineral but the variations in color classifies them as different stones. The rock world is full of wacky facts, am I right?!
Now that we’ve established what rubies are made of, where do they come from? Historically, rubies have been mined in Thailand, Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, India, Namibia, Japan, and Scotland. After World War II, ruby deposits were found in Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Vietnam. The Republic of North Macedonia is the only country in mainland Europe to have naturally occurring rubies. These rubies have a unique, raspberry color. Yummy! A few rubies have been found in the U.S. states of Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wyoming.
Where the rubies are found is a contributing factor to its value. As with diamonds, a ruby’s value is also graded using criteria known as the four Cs: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Another factor relating to value is how the stone is treated. Most rubies are treated, and it is considered acceptable in the world of gemstones. During the late 1990s, a large supply of low-cost materials caused a sudden surge in supply of heat-treated rubies, leading to a decrease on ruby prices. This heat treatment is used to improve color, remove blue patches, and remove inclusions. Another treatment used in more recent years is lead glass filling. Filling the fractures inside the ruby with lead glass dramatically improves the transparency of the stone, making previously unsuitable rubies fit for jewelry use.
Let’s talk about some amazingly beautiful and famous jewelry pieces with rubies, shall we? The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., has some of the world’s largest and finest rubies. The 23.1-carat Burmese ruby, set in a platinum ring with diamonds, was donated by businessman and philanthropist Peter Buck in memory of his late wife, Carmen Lucia. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I could lift my hand with a ruby that big on my finger! But how magical would it be to try?! The Liberty Bell Ruby is the largest minded ruby in the world. It was stolen in a heist in 2011 and while four men were arrested and indicted for the heist in 2014, the location of the ruby remains a mystery. In December of 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s complete jewelry collection was auctioned by Christie’s. Several ruby-set pieces were included in the sale, notably a ring set with an 8.24 ct ruby that broke the “price-per-carat” record for rubies. You ready for this? It sold for $512,925 per carat, for a whopping total of $4.2 million. I’ll give you a minute to fan yourself before you faint.
Well, this is what I have for you today in the world of gemstones. I hope you enjoyed reading all about red rubies, and that you learned something new. Local Luxe has some kicking rubies that would be an amazing addition to your collection. Who knows, you might become famous and your rubies could sell for $4.2 million dollars someday. It could happen.