What You Need To Know About The Famous Ruby?

Ruby has been recognized for centuries by many cultures. One of the earliest names for it was ratnaraj, which is Sanskrit for “king of gems”. The Bible often refers to carbuncle, which is an archaic term for a red cabochon-cut gemstone. Its current name comes from the Latin word ruber, meaning “red”.

Ancient people believed that its inner glow was due to an eternal flame that was housed within the stone. It was often said that rubies contained the power of the sun and many believed they held protective powers. It is even recorded that some soldiers had them implanted beneath their skin, for fear of losing their stone while wearing it to battle.

What is It?

Ruby is a pink to blood-red gemstone that is a variety of the mineral corundum. The color comes from the element chromium. It ranks a very tough 9.0 on the Moh’s scale of hardness; a hardness second to only that of a diamond. In addition to being hard, rubies are also very durable, making them an excellent choice for use in jewelry.

What are Star Rubies?

All rubies contain natural inclusions known as rutile needles, or “silk”. (Gemologists often use these inclusions to help them determine if the stone is natural or synthetic.) In some stones, these inclusions form a 3-point or 6-point asterism, or star . This phenomenon is most visible with a single light source. When viewed from this source, one will see the star move across the surface of the stone as the light moves or as the stone is rotated. Asterism is best displayed in a stone that has been cut into a cabochon.

Where is it Mined?

Rubies are found in Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Madagascar and Cambodia. It has also been found in the United States in Montana, North Carolina and South Carolina. The unique color of Burmese rubies is often referred to as “pigeon’s blood”. Burmese rubies are prized for their color and clarity and are considered, by many, the finest in the world. However, the mining operations in Burma have been subject to criticism. ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has reported that mining operators have used drugs on employees to make them more productive. Needles were shared and have put these workers at great risk for contracting HIV.

What You Need To Know About The Famous Ruby?

What You Need To Know About The Famous Ruby?

In addition to this, there is a growing awareness of the human rights violations perpetrated by Myanmar’s ruling military junta. It is believed that Burma ruby is an important source of quick cash to the repressive regime and many gemstone dealers and jewelers, including Cartier, are turning to other options.

In 2003, Federal lawmakers passed legislation that prohibited the import of Burma rubies (known in the trade as “blood rubies”) into the United States. However, a U.S. Customs loophole still allowed for Burmese stones to enter the country if they were processed somewhere other than Myanmar.

In 2008, U.S. Congress passed legislation that bans the importation of all Burmese rubies, including those processed in third-party countries. The embargo won’t have an effect on stones that have already entered the U.S., but will prohibit the further importation of Burma ruby and several other gems originating from Myanmar.

Common Treatments and Enhancements

Most, if not all, rubies in the lower end of the price range have been treated in some way to make them more appealing to the consumer. The most common treatment uses heat to improve the color and remove rutilation and bluish-purple patches commonly found on lower-grade rubies. Heat treatment is so widely used that it is considered acceptable in the industry.

A less acceptable treatment, but one that has gained momentum lately, is known as “Lead Glass Filling”. This treatment is used to fill fractures inside of a ruby and, thus, improve its clarity. This method is often used to make previously undesirable rubies suitable for use in jewelry.


Synthetic (or lab-created) rubies have gained popularity over the years and have made owning a ruby attainable to more and more people. Synthetic rubies are grown in a laboratory under controlled conditions, but otherwise contain all of the optical, chemical and physical properties of their natural counterparts.

Synthetic rubies are often optically superior to all but the finest of natural gems. Even so, the fact that they aren’t natural should be disclosed by the retailer and they should be priced much lower than natural gemstones of similar quality. In most cases, it takes sophisticated equipment to determine if a stone is natural or synthetic. If you suspect that you’ve purchased a synthetic under the guise of a natural ruby, you should take it to a laboratory and have it tested.