Sunday, July 4, 2010

Queen of Gemstones

Ruby crystal - photo by Rob Lavinsky of

The Ancient Romans considered this to be the stone of the war god Mars. This gemstone has adorned the crowns and sceptres of royals for centuries. It is ruby, one of the most precious and most rare gemstones.

Ruby is a red variety of corundum, a mineral with a value of 9 on Moh’s scale of hardness. Pure corundum is colourless, but traces of chromium give ruby its legendary colour.

Ruby crystal - photo by Rob Lavinsky of

High quality rubies are mined in limited places. The most famous rubies are Burmese rubies, mined in Myanmar (formerly Burma). These stones are often of the highly sought after and expensive “pigeon’s blood” colour. This is a pure red colour with a hint of blue.

The colour of rubies is what most highly influences the stone’s price. Inclusions are acceptable and don’t affect the quality of the stone as long as they don’t affect the stone’s transparency. Transparency is the secondary factor affecting the price of rubies.

Cut ruby with inclusions - photo by Humanfeather

Today most rubies are treated in some way. Heat treatment to improve colour is the most common. Synthetic rubies are also readily available. Treated and synthetic stones have lower prices than natural stones of the same quality. Because of their rarity, untreated rubies of excellent quality command premium prices.

Ruby, the “queen of the gemstones” is the birthstone for July.

Featuring artisan handmade creations by the Etsy Starving Artists jewelry team. SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current Etsy shop owner members can be found at


Cat said...

Great read, thanks!

mcstoneworks said...

Beautiful ruby pieces and great info.

BeadSire said...

It is a beautiful stone, love the pics and great post.