Rubies, a symbol of romance, wealth, and success, are July's birthstone. Rubies can command the highest price per carat for any colored stone, especially when it is untreated.
Ruby's are a type of corundum, a class of gemstones that includes sapphires as well. Corundum, in it's purest form, is colorless. Trace elements in it's crystal structure causes color variations. Ruby's are colored by Chromium; the more chromium, the stronger and more saturated the hue. There is a large difference in value between a pink sapphire and a red ruby, and not everyone agrees on which is which.
Almost all ruby's are heat treated and you should assume your ruby has gone under some sort of treatment, unless stated by a reputable gemological lab (GIA). Heat treatment dramatically improves ruby's appearance and subsequently increases it's value.
If you are interested in purchasing a ruby, the Gemological Institute of America suggests the following:
- Work with a jeweler you trust
- Don't confuse origin with quality - Not all "Burmese Ruby's" are beautiful, even the best mines produce low quality goods.
- Ask about treatment (!!!) - most ruby's are treated, so assume treatment unless otherwise noted, and lastly,
- When in doubt, ask for a report. A report will disclose all of the specifications of the stone you're purchasing; from treatment to natural, that is the only way to be sure.
Major Ruby Moments:
Gwyneth Paltrow in a Ruby Tassel Necklace by Cathy Waterman at the 2000 Academy Awards
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Naomi Watts in custom Lorraine Schwartz Purple Jade and Ruby Earrings at the 2013 Golden Globes.
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Timothée Chalamet wearing a ruby and diamond Cartier brooch at the 2020 Oscars.