Chemical Composition: Aluminum Oxide and Chromium
Hardness: 9 (only Diamond and Moissanite are harder)
Specific Gravity: 4.0 (+.03)
Refractive Index: 1.76-1.78
Color: Varies from pink to blood red (the redder the stone, the higher the price and value)
Where Found: Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, India, few in North Carolina and Montana
Rubies In Folklore
In Southeast Asia, the ruby was known as the king of all gemstones. It was worn as a protector in battle and to ward off evil, it was commonly placed in armor, brooches, and rings. They are still used to lay underneath foundations of buildings to provide good fortune.
When the occasion calls for true Red, there are few stones that answer back with such pure hue and great fire as Ruby. Ruby is a Corundum, and while all other colors including pink wear the sapphire name, the red ones are called “ruby”. They are rare and expensive in larger sizes and fine qualities and subject to frequent political storms, such as the Burmese Ruby Embargo. The rubies I use in my multicolor sapphire “Rhapsody in Color” ring and in my stacking ring collection, are from Madagascar and sometimes Vietnam or Thailand. Like sapphire varieties of corundum, ruby is durable, and has a higher refractive index for good sparkle and light return. It’s a good choice for rings, but a fine Ruby over 3 carats is typically more expensive than a comparable diamond. The other red stones that I favor are Red Spinel, which is almost indistinguishable from Ruby even at the mine site, and while it is less expensive due to lower demand, it is not easy to source due to its rarity; and I like Rubellite Tourmaline, my favorite stone actually, but it rarely comes in true red color- usually more magenta or fuchsia. So, if it needs to be red, it’s Ruby!