Ruby is the birthstone for July, the zodiac stone for Capricorn and the wedding anniversary gift for 40 years..you have to marry young to get the good ones! The name ruby is taken from the Latin word for red, Ruber.
Large, fine rubies are extremely rare and therefore expensive. The most desirable colour is a ‘pigeon’s blood red’, a pure red with a hint of blue, this is often found in rubies from the Mogok mine in upper Burma. Whilst teaching a group about the stone one of the participants had just seen a pigeon run over by a black cab, she assured us that although not a pleasant thing to witness, the red was rather distinctive, who knew?
Rubies are the red form of Corundum – all other colours are sapphires – yes sapphires aren’t just blue, they can be all sorts of colours.. but never red, that’s a ruby! The colouring element is chromium and the gems have a hardness of 9 on Moh’s scale which makes them very suitable for jewellery. Although Burma is the most famous ruby deposit they can also be mined in Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Africa among others.
Good quality rubies have increased significantly over the years, not only are they rare but as red is the national colour of China there is stiff competition for these stones. The most expensive ruby currently is the 25.59ct Sunrise Ruby, mounted by Cartier and sold by Sotheby’s Geneva for a whacking $160.9million.
Perhaps 40 years is worth the wait after all?