Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby! Nah nah nah nahnahna…. Roooooby, Don’t take your love to town…. Goodbye Ruby Tuesday, who could hang a name on you, when you smile with every new day….
Hang on a minute! It’s even the name for computer programming language. However, it’s the corundum gemstone I’m interested in. If, like me you have a July birthday, you’re lucky enough to have ruby as your birthstone & it really is one the most gorgeous!
Ruby is one of the cardinal gemstones, that is, one of the five, along with Amethyst, Diamond, Sapphire & Emerald, that have been considered the most precious, dating back into the mists of time and used ceremonially or for religious purposes. There are records of trading rubies along the North Silk Road westwards from China, dating back to 200 BC. The cardinal gemstones range across the colour spectrum, with ruby varying from pink to a blood red colour, which comes from the chromium content in the aluminium oxide or corundum. The most valuable rubies are the deep red or ‘pigeon blood’ coloured ones. (Really? Pigeon blood?…the things you discover!)
Having just googled ‘pigeon blood ruby’ I’ve discovered a lovely birthday gift for me! A £72,000.00 2 carat 1935 pigeon blood Burmese ruby ring! CRIKEY!!! Perhaps if I click the heels together on my ruby slippers and utter ‘there’s no place like home’ I’ll get lucky like Dorothy! (UNLIKELY)
The world’s most expensive ruby, the ‘Sunrise Ruby’, also the world’s most expensive coloured gemstone and most expensive gemstone other than a diamond sold at an auction in Switzerland to an anonymous buyer in 2015 for $30 million US! OUCH!
The world’s largest mined ruby, the ‘Liberty Bell Ruby’, so called as it was sculpted into a miniature of the Liberty Bell, weighed in 4lbs & was eight and a half thousand carats and worth $2 million US. I say ‘was’ as it was stolen in 2011 and police have little hope of tracing it, in spite of arresting four for the heist.
Factors considered in valuing rubies include geographic origin as well as the four Cs – colour, clarity, cut & carat weight. Some of the world’s finest stones originate from Myanamar (previously Burma.) Rubies are pretty tough – second only to diamond at 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness but you need to be aware they are brittle. Whilst untreated high quality stones command a very high price, most stones are now colour treated in some way. All rubies have naturally occurring imperfections, inclusions and rutiles, known as ‘silk’ and gemologists use these to distinguish between real and fabricated/man-made gemstones.
Ruby does seem to have infiltrated our culture in so many ways, from a girl’s name to Pop songs and associated with love & celebrating the 40th Wedding anniversary. Purported to have a goodly number of beneficial effects on wearers, Indians call ruby the Ratnanayaka or Lord of the gemstones & Hindus traditionally classified rubies with a caste system. We do have a small selection of ruby jewellery which you can find int shop & online and it won’t set you back thousands of pounds.
Happy July Birthdays! :))