Passion, heat, and love. These words capture the essence of the ruby. This gemstone is one of the four classic precious gems – emerald, sapphire, and diamond being the other three – and possibly the most coveted. Sure diamonds are a girl’s best friend but put on a blood-red ruby tennis bracelet and you will sizzle.
Origin and make-up
Like the sapphire, this gemstone is corundum, a crystallized aluminum oxide formed under heat and pressure. In fact, it is exactly like the sapphire and the only colored corundum that is not called a sapphire. The chrome particles are what give it its delicious red color.
India was once the biggest supplier of the gemstones, but now Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has taken the lead in fine quality stones. You have probably heard of the wildly popular Burmese ruby because of its deep rich color. They are found throughout Asia including Pakistan, Nepal and Vietnam. More recently, they were discovered in Kenya and Tanzania in the 60s.
More than a birthstone
It is the birthstone for July, but July is not the only time important to this vibrant red gemstone. Valentines Day is a very big day for the rich red gem. A heart-shaped ruby pendant, red roses, and chocolates- a triple score on the romantic gifts scale.
For enthusiasts, any time is a good time to get one, but there is one other official day that calls for this luscious red stone. Just like months and birthdays, anniversaries also have gemstones attached to specific years. This gemstone gets an important one- the 40th anniversary. A couple that can make it to their 40th anniversary is durable, lasting and probably still sizzling. What better way to commemorate this than a dazzling ruby necklace or some ruby diamond earrings.
Whether it is given as a birthstone or for any occasion, the red stone signifies love and affection for the recipient.
Cleaning these gemstones
This gemstone is hard – a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which means it is very durable. Cleaning is easy. Your ruby necklace can be steamed, agitated in the ultrasonic cleaner or soaked in soapy warm water. A light brushing with a medium to soft bristled brush gets any dust out of the crevices. Diamonds are durable too, so if you have ruby diamond earrings, you can clean them as you normally would.
A bit of trivia
Sure purple means royalty, but red reigns. In Indian culture, it was literally treated like royalty. Whenever a stone of incomparable quality was found, the Emperor rolled out the pomp and circumstance as if it were a visiting dignitary instead of a gemstone. The Hindus would separate the stones into classes so that inferior quality stones could not taint the perfect stones and diminish their power.
This fiery red gemstone is considered the king, the most coveted and the most popular of all the gemstones. You will pay more for a perfect ruby pendant than you would for a diamond of similar quality. This is because finding them with the most desirable qualities- color, size and clarity- are rare. But, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. As long as you choose the shade and cut you like, you will sizzle with the fire of this decadent gem.