July Birthstone-Ruby

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Ruby is the July Birthstone.The name Ruby is derived from the Latin word "Ruben" which means red.

The fiery red of ruby can be associated with the color of fire and human blood, which signifies warmth and life. A ring set with a red ruby can convey the feeling of powerful and passionate love to the receiver.

Ruby is one of the most expensive of gem stones that had been known to mankind for thousands of years. The enhanced value of this gem is not only due to it's rare occurrence, but also excellent physical properties such as good hardness and sparkling fiery red color of the stone. In India and Burma, two countries which were regarded as the original source of this gem stone, a royal welcome was given whenever a valuable ruby was discovered. Thus rubies have been associated with the Royalty since ancient times in many countries around the world.

If rubies are rare, rubies that show asterism, are even rarer, and fetch very high prices at auctions. The World's largest star ruby known as Rosser Reaves weighing 138 carats was discovered in Sri Lanka, and is now part of the U.S. National Gem Collection, at the  Smithsonian Institute. This stone has an excellent red color, good transparency and a well defined star.

Ruby and sapphire belong to the same group of minerals called corundum, whose chemical composition is Aluminium Oxide(Al2O3),and is one of the hardest of minerals on earth. The hardness of corundum is 9 on the Mohr's scale, which is only one less than diamond. Corundum in it's pure form is colorless. It is the presence of trace elements such as chromium, Iron, Titanium or Vanadium that imparts the color to the corundum crystal. If the corundum is red, orange red or purplish red it is known as ruby. All other colors of corundum fall under the sapphires.

The element Chromium not only imparted the beautiful red color to the ruby, but also caused cracks and fissures inside the crystals. Thus the crystals formed were generally small and less than 3 to 4 carats in size. Rubies of larger size are extremely rare. The mineral rutile can form a star- shaped deposit inside the ruby and this is responsible for the asterism shown by star ruby. The star is usually six rayed, and comes out beautifully when the stone is cut as a hemispherical cabochon.

The Worlds top quality rubies come from Burma (Mayanmar). The Burma ruby has a rich red color with a slightly bluish hue. These stones were mined in "Mogok" in the North of the country. Other important sources of ruby are Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan and India. Recently rubies have also been discovered in the Eastern African countries of Kenya and Tanzania. The color of the rubies in these countries vary from light red to orange red and purple red.

Good quality synthetic rubies are also produced and one finds it quite difficult to distinguish these stones from natural rubies. Synthetic rubies are named according to the name of the person who invented them. eg: Kashan rubies, Chakravorty rubies.

Faceted Natural Ruby



Faceted Ruby



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Dr Shihaan Larif
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