July Birthstone - Ruby

Thursday, June 30, 2011
 

RUBY – July Birthstone

Ruby is derived from the Latin word “rubber” meaning “red”, the color of passion and is the most famous and fabled red gemstone. It is a most desirable gem due to its hardness, 9.0, durability, luster and rarity. Transparent large sizes are more rare than diamonds. Ruby is the red variety of the mineral Corundum, which is the mineral of Sapphires. Ruby is a red Sapphire. Because of its special allure and historical significance, Ruby has always been classified as an individual gemstone.

The color of Ruby ranges from bright red to dark reddish-brown. The most preferred color is a deep blood red with a slightly bluish hue. Such Ruby is known as "Burmese Ruby" or "Pigeon's Blood Ruby". Ruby from Burma is famous for its exceptional coloring, and has traditionally produced the finest Rubies

Inclusions of tiny, slender, parallel Rutile needles in Ruby cause a polished gem to exhibit asterism. A Ruby displaying asterism is known as a "Star Ruby", and if transparent can be very highly prized. Star Rubies exists in six ray stars, though twelve ray stars are also known. Rubies must have good transparency to possess gem value. Opaque or semi-opaque Rubies have relatively little value, even if they display asterism.

The same Rutile inclusions that are responsible for asterism in certain Rubies can also decrease transparency and cause a hazy effect known as silk. Though Ruby can be one the most expensive gemstones, it also comes in more dull opaque forms that are fairly inexpensive, and are often polished into cabochons. A unique gemstone form composed of opaque red Ruby in contrasting green Zoisite is well known from Tanzania, and is used as a minor gemstone and can be carved into ornaments.

The color of Ruby is usually caused by minute inclusions of the metal chromium. These impurities are often responsible for causing a Ruby to fluorescent, which can be helpful in its identification. Ruby is also pleochroic, and will sometimes display a lighter and more intense color when viewed at different angles.

Ruby is a tough and durable gem, and the only natural gemstone harder than Ruby is Diamond. Despite this, Ruby is still subject to chipping and fracture if handled roughly, and care should be taken to ensure it is properly handled.


6/30/2011 12:55:00 PM

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