All About Rubies
Ruby, The Stone of Love
Inspiring more emotion than almost any other gemstone, ruby is the stone of eternal love and passion. Just in time for Valentine's Day, this article is all about rubies.
All red gemstones were once considered to be rubies. Today we know that ruby, a red corundum has a completely different makeup from garnet, tourmaline, spinel and other red stones. The 170 carat “Black Prince’s Ruby” on the front of England’s Imperial State crown is actually a red spinel. It has a different chemical makeup, hardness and crystal structure from what we now know as a ruby.
Rubies are one of the hardest and most valuable gemstones. A ruby’s chemical makeup is aluminum oxide, but the red color of ruby comes from small amounts of chromium. The ruby’s hardness on the Mohs scale is 9 out of 10. Only Diamond and Moissanite are any harder. Rubies are also strong and durable.
Ruby crystals grow in the shape of hexagons. This distinguishes them from other gems, minerals and stones. Lab-created rubies, while much less expensive, are identical to natural rubies. The man-made version will usually have no flaws or inclusions as a natural ruby would.
Storing rubies and ruby jewelry properly is important. Rubies should be stored in a separate area of your jewelry box, or in a soft pouch by themselves. Although the only thing that will scratch a ruby is a diamond, rubies will scratch everything else, including silver and gold.
Clean your ruby jewelry with only mild soap and water. Natural rubies are often enhanced with wax and other fillers. Harsh chemicals and ultrasonic cleaners can remove the enhancements and damage these stones.
FUN FACTS ABOUT RUBIES:
- Some ancient cultures believed that rubies, as well as other gemstones, grew on trees, just like fruit.
- Ruby and Sapphire are the same gemstone (corundum), only different colors.
- The first working lazer was created using a synthetic ruby.
- Ruby is almost as hard as a diamond, the 3rd hardest stone that we know of.
- Lab-grown rubies are the real deal, identical to a natural ruby.
- The prominent large “ruby” in England’s Crown Jewels is really a red spinel.
- Store rubies separately, as they can scratch other pieces of jewelry
- Chemicals can damage most natural rubies, so use only mild soap and water.