The ruby is one of the four precious stones, together with sapphire, emerald and diamond. It is not widespread, hence its value, but has been used since earliest times as a precious stone. Along with the sapphire, the ruby is the best-known variety of the mineral corundum, a colourless stone. It is the presence of chromium that gives the ruby its red colour. While its colour can vary from pink to blood-red, it is the ‘pigeon-blood red’ that is the most prized. All natural rubies contain imperfections, known as silk, and these are often exploited during the cutting process to reflect the light.
Did you know?
- Ruby is the birthstone for July.
- Records reveal the trading of rubies on the North Silk Road of China in 200BC.
- In Asia, rubies were laid beneath the foundations of buildings to protect them with good fortune.
- Ruby jewellery is traditionally given to celebrate a 40th wedding anniversary.
- Rubies are thought to transfer energy, passion and vitality to the wearer.