Introducing Naktamunda Rhodolite Garnet
The gem of love, Ruby is the red member of the Corundum family and is often given as a gift to show the strength of oneâ€™s relationship. Its rich, vivid red colors are due to the presenceÂ of chromium and its almost identical twin sister, the Sapphire, is similar in all but colour.
UntilÂ theÂ earlyÂ 1800â€™sÂ manyÂ otherÂ gemstones,Â includingÂ SpinelÂ and Garnets, were often misidentified as Ruby. Most Rubies show purplish red to orangey red hues; however, the overall colour (colour beingÂ aÂ combinationÂ ofÂ hue,Â shadeÂ andÂ saturation) can provide gem dealers with an indication ofÂ the stoneâ€™s original geographic origin. Burmese Rubies tending to be purplish red in colour, while Thai stones tend to be brownish red.
Ruby shows pleochroism,Â whichÂ meansÂ thatÂ theÂ colourÂ variesÂ whenÂ viewingÂ theÂ gemstoneÂ inÂ differentÂ directionsÂ andÂ manyÂ canÂ appearÂ incredibly bright when exposed to the sun (seeÂ fluorescence).Â InclusionsÂ inÂ RubiesÂ areÂ calledÂ â€œsilkâ€, and if sufficiently abundant and preciselyÂ arrangedÂ thisÂ canÂ leadÂ toÂ wonderfulÂ asterism;Â with the correct cutting, Star Rubies can oftenÂ be created.
Ruby has been a popular gemstone for centuriesÂ and has been set in many famous historic pieces of jewellery. Ruby mining can be traced back overÂ 2500 years ago in Sri Lanka. The famous minesÂ in Mogok, Burma were first explored as early asÂ the 6th century AD. Historically, the gem has had many different names around the globe, which highlights how popular it has been with manyÂ different civilizations. In Sanskrit, the Ruby wasÂ known as â€œratnarajâ€ which stood for â€œthe king ofÂ precious gemsâ€, and later â€œratnanayakaâ€; â€œleaderÂ of all precious stonesâ€. The gem was referred to in the Bible as a Carbuncle, although todayÂ research has shown that this name was also usedÂ for several other red gemstones. Its more recentÂ name,Â Ruby,Â isÂ derivedÂ fromÂ theÂ LatinÂ wordÂ â€œrubersâ€ simply meaning â€œredâ€.
As can be imagined, the gem is surrounded by aÂ great deal of folklore and legends. In the ancient world people believed that Rubies couldÂ helpÂ them predict the future and they have been wornÂ as talismans to protect from illness or misfortuneÂ ever since. It has also been said that the wearer ofÂ aÂ RubyÂ wouldÂ enjoyÂ romance,Â friendship,Â energy, courage and peace.
Pliny the Elder, influenced by the writings of theÂ ancient Greek philosopher Theophrastus (371 â€“Â 287BC), wrote â€œIn each variety of Ruby there areÂ so called â€œmaleâ€ and â€œfemaleâ€ stones, of whichÂ the former are the more brilliant, while the latterÂ have a weaker lustreâ€. Considering Plinyâ€™s work took place almost 2000 years ago, this remainsÂ one of the few theories relating to gemstones thatÂ he misinterpreted!
In Burma and Thailand one legend tells of the ancient Burmese dragon who laid three magicalÂ eggs. From the first egg came forth Pyusawti,Â kingÂ ofÂ Burma,Â fromÂ theÂ secondÂ emergedÂ theÂ Chinese Emperor and the third egg provided allÂ of the vivid Rubies in Burma, many of whichÂ localÂ gemÂ tradersÂ willÂ tellÂ youÂ areÂ yetÂ toÂ beÂ discovered.
Shortly after Marco Polo documented his travels (in which he recited how Ruby was used by people of the Kahn to protect themselves in battle), Sir John Mandeville wrote a book of his own global experiences (compiled circa 1365). Mandeville believed that â€œonce a man had touched the four corners of his land with his Ruby, then his house,Â vineyard and orchard would be protected fromÂ lightning, tempests and poor harvestâ€.
For many centuries, Ruby has been thought toÂ remove sadness, prevent nightmares and protectÂ against many illnesses. With its likeness in colourÂ toÂ blood,Â itÂ hasÂ oftenÂ beenÂ saidÂ toÂ helpÂ stemÂ haemorrhages and cure inflammatory diseases.
It is said that over 95% of Rubies on the market today have been heat-treated, therefore wheneverÂ buying a Ruby it is best to assume that the gemâ€™sÂ colour has been enhanced. Large, natural Rubies of good colour and clarity are so valuable thatÂ they often demand a higher price per carat thanÂ even the most flawless Diamonds. For example,Â inÂ 1988Â Sothebyâ€™sÂ auctionedÂ aÂ 15.97ctÂ RubyÂ whichÂ soldÂ forÂ moreÂ thanÂ 3.6Â millionÂ dollarsÂ under the hammer!
Some of the finest Rubies are from Burma, where their colour is said to be comparable to that ofÂ â€œpigeon bloodâ€. Other sources include Thailand, Vietnam, SriÂ Lanka,Â Kenya,Â Madagascar,Â Tanzania, Cambodia, Afghanistan, and India.
Ruby is the birthstone for July and is also theÂ anniversary gemstone for both the 15th and 40thÂ year of marriage. As it has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, it is a tough and durable gemstone,Â and when set in precious metal should continueÂ to shine for thousands of years to come. BesidesÂ beingÂ usedÂ inÂ jewellery,Â RubiesÂ areÂ alsoÂ used extensively in laser technology.
Edward Meeks is the Online Marketing Executive at The Genuine Gemstones Company
The Genuine Gemstone Company is winner of the Sunday Times Fast Track 100.