If you were born in the month of July, then the ruby is your birthstone. Also referred to as corundum, it is light to dark red in color. The name ruby comes from the Latin word “ruber” meaning red. The red color of the ruby is caused by the presence of chromium. Rubies are commonly used in jewelry and other ornaments and are also regarded as a precious stone along with sapphires, diamonds and emeralds.
Based on the Moh’s Scale of Mineral Hardness, rubies have a hardness of 9. The only other gemstones harder than the ruby are moissanite and diamonds with a hardness of 10. Rubies just like other gemstones have imperfections in them such as color impurities.
For many years, Myanmar was the world’s main source of rubies. The best red color rubies are referred to as Burmese Rubies or pigeon’s blood. Rubies can also be mined in Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. After World War 2, ruby deposits were also discovered in Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Nepal, Vietnam, Pakistan and Tajikistan. In the United States, rubies have also been found in Montana, North Carolina and South Carolina. Recent developments show that ruby deposits have also been found in Greenland.
Treating and enhancing the appearance of rubies is an acceptable practice. These improvements include, color alteration, filling cracks or fractures as well as improving transparency. Heat treatment is the most common practice in treating rubies before cutting. Heat application can help improve the quality and clarity of the stone. Color dyes are also used sometimes to intensify the red color of the ruby. Coatings are used to camouflage fractures but do wear off after some time.
Caring for your ruby pieces are easy since it is highly durable. Soaking in soapy water and brushing with a soft brush can usually do the trick. It is not recommended to use detergents containing chlorine as this can be damaging to low carat gold alloys and can dissolve the metal. Your main goal is to remove any dirt and grime on the stone but also being cautious not to scratch the surface. Make sure to rinse your jewelry thoroughly after cleaning as any detergent residue may cause skin irritation and allergies. You should also have your jeweler check the stone mounts every now and then to make sure that the ruby is not loose and a perfect fit. Since rubies are more durable than metal it is a good idea to do this. Likewise avoid handling your jewelry by the stone as this can loosen it from the mount. If you have a collection of jewelry with various gemstones, it is best to store them separately. Since rubies are rather hard in texture, there’s a possibility that it can scratch other stones with a soft texture.
Rubies are indeed beautiful to look at. However, when shopping for your ruby jewelry, try to compare prices and quality from one vendor to the other. Be on the lookout for imitations or synthetic rubies out in the market. If in doubt, bring an expert along with you who can judge the quality of the ruby you intend to buy. To make sure you are buying an authentic piece, always look for the lab report certifying that the gemstone is genuine. This should usually come with the stone at the point of purchase.