Ruby stone derives its name from the Latin “ruber,” red. While many red gemstones continued to be called Ruby until the progress of geological science during the 18th century allowed them to be distinguished.

During ancient times, Rubies, Garnets, and Spinels were called “carbuncles” (“little coal” in Latin), and they were not differentiated from each other. The ancient Greeks knew them as “anthrax” (living coal) since these beautiful gems of intense red color, exposed to the sun, showed the color of burning coal.


Ruby is next to Sapphire a colorful variety of Corundum (an aluminum oxide crystal), which derives its name from the Sanskrit “kuruvinda”.

Corundum produces “allochromatic” gems, and the remains of mineral elements such as chromium, iron, and titanium, in addition to color centers, color the gems in different shades.

Let’s not forget that Sapphires can be found in all the colors of the rainbow. Ruby stone owes its color to chrome, while brown-toned specimens are characterized by also having a good amount of iron.

The sapphires are also presented in red (Twilight Sapphire, for example) but these hues do not fall within the color spectrum assigned to Ruby. Therefore the red Corundum is called Ruby, and in other varieties of colors, it is called Sapphire.

It should be clarified that the Ruby is only 80% red since the remaining 20% ​​shows shades of orange, pink, violet, or lilac.


The Rubies of Sri Lanka were known to the ancient Greeks and Romans from the 480 century BC, making Sri Lanka the oldest source of extraction of this Precious Stone. But the “classic” origin of the Ruby is the Mogok Valley in north-central Burma.

Today the Ruby is found in Möng Hsu, northeast of Burma. This country thanks to the presence of specimens of classic color and of solid transparency, is considered among the first places of extraction of Ruby in the world, and its name has been connected to this gem in such a way that in the past, the title of the ancient Burmese kings was from “Lord of Ruby.”

Other important sources of Ruby extraction are Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, and Vietnam.


Famous to the Hindus as “ratnaraj”, king of gems, the birthstone for July represents passion, love, and romance. The Ruby stone has always been the protagonist of legends: the ancient Hindus believed that the Ruby had a fire in its interior that could guarantee long life, while in the Middle Ages, it was believed that it had divining powers and that its color darkened if misfortune was coming.

Worn by the people of Burma as a talisman against disease, bad luck, and injury, Rubies were known in ancient times as drops of blood from the heart of mother earth. In the 19th century, Ralph Waldo Emerson composed a poem in which he describes the Ruby as “icy drops of wine that flow from the vat of Eden.”


Red Ruby stone is one of the most expensive and rare gems among the known Gemstones, much rarer than Diamond, especially in deep and pure red specimens. Specimens of superior quality and particularly transparent can be classified with the acronym AAA.

Being a dichroic gem (two colors: purple-red and orange-red) and therefore pleochroic, Ruby, even the finest, will never have more than 80% pure red, with secondary drops of orange, pink, purple, or purple.

Light rubies without visible inclusions are almost unknown. Like Alexandrite and Emerald in the case of Ruby stone, chromium is responsible for the color and its inclusions.

According to the group of type II gems together with Sapphire (that is, gems found in nature with some inclusions detectable by the naked eye), Ruby normally has more inclusions than Sapphire smaller.

Subtle microscopic inclusions (called “silk”) in some Rubies can have the effect of more delicately distributing light, thus accentuating their beauty and their value.

Most of the specimens show the best of their own beauty when viewed in natural light or under a white light source, and many of these gems display a strong fiery red fluorescence.


The Tanzania AAA Ruby fascinates with its unique purity and refinement that does nothing but constantly increase its value, however, it is found only in small dimensions.

A cheaper alternative is represented by the Madagascar Ruby, which with its delicate silk conquers more space in the gem market day by day. Rubies can display different optical effects: asterism (the star effect) or chatoyance (cat’s eye effect). Long parallel needle-shaped Rutilium inclusions present in ruby stone reflect light in a way that resembles a cat’s pupil of a star in the case that the light is reflected in two or more different directions.

A well-cut and polished Star Red Ruby stones show a clear and conspicuous star, where the rays are straight and equidistant. The standard foresees a six-pointed star, but specimens with twelve-ray stars are found in some very rare cases.

All-Star Rubies and Cat’s Eye Rubies are cabochon-polished (convex shape, very bright, no facets), and the optical phenomenon is even more evident if the gem is viewed under a single direct light source.


The Ruby can be exposed to normal cleaning, steam cleaning, and ultrasonic cleaning. This gem can have fillings and empty spaces, cavities, fissures, and therefore, it is more exposed than others to damages derived from the use of some solvents. Therefore it is better to avoid them.

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