The gem ruby is probably the most popular and best known gem. With it's stunning red colour it promotes love and passion and captures the imagination. Ruby comes in different shades of red; some can be pinkish, purplish or orangey red. The best rubies are produced in Burma (Myanmar). Rubies have many legends attached to them, one being that they attract wealth, wisdom, and happiness in love.
A note from Paul Brereton, gemologist: Rubies from Myanmar are still in high demand. Especially stones that are vivid red in colour (referred to as "pigeon blood red"). Stones of this quality are difficult to find in stones of 3ct or larger. Most of the stones are cut in an oval or cushion shape. Other shapes of ruby, such as round or emerald cut command a premium. Mozambique has recently become a producer of fine red colour rubies but also produces large amounts of heavily included material. Sri Lanka and Madagascar produce a large proportion of the worlds rubies, while the production from Thailand has dried up.
Please be aware that in recent years lower grade material from Mozambique and Madagascar is being treated by inserting a glass filling into the stone. This hides the natural inclusions (marks) within the stone and gives it the appearance of a much higher quality gem. As the treatment is not long term the filling will eventually come out leaving the owner with a visibly marked stone.
Ruby is of the corundum family. Sapphire is also part of this family of gems. Red corundum is called ruby but corundum of any other colour is under the name of sapphire e.g. yellow sapphire, pink sapphire. What determines if something is ruby is if the overriding colour of the stone is red. Thus a pinkish-red stone will be ruby but a gem that is reddish-pink states that the stone is predominately pink and is therefore a pink sapphire. It is important to clarify this before you purchase a stone as ruby commands a large premium to pink sapphire.
Sources: Burma (Myanmar), Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Kenya.
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