Ruby, often referred to as the ‘Stone of Nobility’ has been featured in Myth and Legend throughout history, in addition to holding a special place in the heart of royalty, worldwide. Rumour has it that Catherine of Aragon herself wore one of the precious jewels daily, which supposedly turned dark and dull just the day before Henry VII broke the news that he was planning to divorce her.
The Hindu people are said to believe that the red hue apparent in the stone is the result of an eternal flame, that is physically impossible to distinguish by the human hand, therefore, for many years, in the spiritual world Ruby has been considered a powerful gift, thought to honour Buddha.
Setting Ruby apart from other forms of corundum is its beautiful red colouring. Formed from traces of chromium, and dependent on the iron content of the gemstone, the colour of Ruby ranges from subtle tones of pink to brownish reds, featuring in the middle of the scale colours that appear purplish, in addition to orange. All other colour varieties of corundum are referred to as sapphire, often instantly giving the jewel far less value in designer jewellery shops. Although colour is not always an indication of origin, geographical points of reference are often including when describing the stone, with “Burmese” Rubies often appearing to have purplish red tones, whereas “Thai” Rubies tend to hold a browner toned colouring. The differing colouring dependent on location sourced is a direct result of the trace mineral content found in each of the geologic locations. The fluorescent light reported to shine from within the Ruby is another property that can often be used as an aid in identifying not only Ruby’s origin but also the commercial value of the stone. Stones boasting a higher level of ultraviolet light, often able to be seen by the naked eye in direct sunlight, are generally from Burma and are greatly admired for the glowing property they hold.
Ruby is effectively the exact same stone as Sapphire, another form of corundum, with the only difference between the pair being the colouring. Rubies are a much rarer find than sapphire, which in addition to their famous history of myth, lore, and romance, makes them more desirable, therefore, pricier. Ranging in colour from a bright red, to dark reddish-brown, there are many shades and varieties of Ruby out there, all differing in value and quality. The preferable colour for the gemstone is a deep blood red, with a more purplish tone present rather than brown. Rubies of this nature are most commonly referred to a “Burmese Rubies”, due to the geographical source being famous for the exceptional colouring of the stone thanks to the mineral content found in the location. Although traditionally producing some of the finest Rubies, Burmese Rubies rarely exceed more than just a couple of carats, meaning that a large, flawless Burmese Ruby can consequently be worth millions. Rubies originating in Thailand often have a more brownish hue, making the stones much less desirable.
As mentioned previously, the main source of origin for the stone is in countries such as Burma, now known as “Myanmar”, and Thailand. Corundum is a mineral formed through crystalline limestones and well as igneous rocks such as Granite. Corundum of the non-gem variety is found in large amounts worldwide, but gem-corundum is a lot less common.
Burmese Ruby is thought to historically come from the Mogok stone tract, occurring in the mines in a gravel layer known as byon. Usually found 20 – 100 feet below the earth’s surface, the stones are harvested with the use of broad screens, then hand sorted, picking out any stones that look encouraging. Ruby sourced from Thailand is mainly found in Chanabun and Battambang, but the gemstones being mined from this area of the world is a more modern occurrence than traditional Rubies, mostly originating from Burma. Found in a sandy layer just 6-20 feet below ground, and are recovered using the exact same process and the Burmese method. Although less sought after than Burmese Rubies, the Thai variety is important to the market today, due to the lack of amount of the beautiful Burmese stones.
Like many precious gems, Ruby is believed to have a certain amount of physical and mental healing properties. Ancient records state that Rubies were first used in history to detoxify the blood, as well as being used as prevention from catching the plague and to prevent starvation. Today, Ruby is still commonly thought to remove toxins from the body, as well as being a popular aid to treat highly infectious diseases, and lowering the body temperature in times of ill-health. Said to increase blood flow, the gemstone can be seen as extremely beneficial help for the heart and circulatory system, as well as the reproductive organs. As well as helping the body to heal physically, Ruby is thought to have numerous beneficial effects mentally, too. Being said to bring fire and passion to one’s life, the stone is thought to light the way in times of darkness and instability. Helping to promote focus, clarity, and wisdom, Ruby is the perfect aid to sustain personal motivation, as well as steering one away from self-destructive patterns of the past.
Ruby is a powerful gemstone, found most commonly in Burma and Thailand, renowned for its romantic use in high-end designer jewellery, as-well as it’s unquestionable appearances in myth and legend throughout history. Whether you’re looking to improve cardiovascular health or cleanse the body of toxins, Ruby is known to be of great benefit.