Ruby is one of the highest valued colored gemstones; in fact, large rubies can fetch higher prices than equivalently sized diamonds. Ruby has been prized for centuries because of its excellent Mohs scale hardness of 9, along with its treasured rich red hue and vitreous lustre.
Rubies are Favorited gems among royalty and the rich and famous. Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Marlene Dietrich have all been known to purchase and wear exceptional ruby pieces. Rubies are estimated at 50 times rarer than diamonds but cost only a few times more for similar size and quality. Rubies can command the highest per-carat price of any colored stone. This makes ruby one of the most important gems in the colored stone market. Ruby is the most valuable variety of the corundum mineral species, which also includes sapphire. Chromium is the trace element that causes rubies’ red, which ranges from an orangey-red to a purplish-red. The strength of ruby’s red depends on how much chromium is present—the more chromium, the stronger the red color. Gemologists consider Ruby - the "rock star" of trace elements. Rubies also have a famous scientific use - the first lasers were made from artificial ruby crystals.
Fine ruby glows with intense red in sunlight thanks to red fluorescence, which intensifies its red color. Today the prices of fine-quality rubies have been breaking auction records. Countries mining Ruby include Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Other sources are Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, India, Cambodia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Tajikistan, the USA, and Vietnam.
Photos Courtesy of GIA