Star Ruby shows asterism, a six-rayed star that shimmers over the surface of the stone when it is moved. Ruby is red corundum, all other color varieties of corundum being referred to as sapphire. Corundum is the second hardest substance on the Mohs scale, with a rating of nine. Diamond tops that scale with a ten. That hardness combined with the rich color and silky shine make fine rubies so valuable and secure them a place in the group of four so-called "precious" stones, along with diamond, emerald and sapphire.
Ruby is named after the Latin word "ruber" for red.
Rubies range in color from pinkish to orangey and purplish and brownish red, depending on the chromium and iron content of the stone. The most desirable color is the so-called "pigeon’s blood," a pure red with a hint of blue, only found in the mines of Myanmar.
Ruby is one of the most expensive gems, large rubies being rarer than comparable diamonds. Ruby is the birthstone for those who are born in July. Ruby is also used to celebrate a couple's 15th and 40th anniversaries.
Star Ruby colors
Many rubies will fluoresce in long or short wave UV and this property can often be used to help identify a stone's geographic origin. Burmese rubies often fluoresce so strongly that the effect is noticeable even in sunlight, such stones seem literally to glow, and are greatly admired. Thai stones generally lack this property.
Ruby location and deposits
Thailand: Rubies found in Thailand (Chanthaburi district) often have a brown or violet tint. The Thai ruby production unfortunately is declining.
Sri Lanka: The deposits are located in the southwest of the island in the Ratnapura district. Rubies from that deposits are usually light red to raspberry red.
Tanzania: On the upper Umba River in northwest Tanzania are deposits for gemstone quality rubies that are violet to brown-red. A few opaque rubies are mined as well.
Other deposits of importance are found in: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Kenya, Madagascar and Vietnam. Less important deposits are found in Australia, Brazil, India, Malawi, Nepal, Pakistan, United States and Zimbabwe.
Common Star Ruby treatments
Famous stones of outstanding beauty and color are the "Rosser Reeves Star Ruby," of 138.7 ct, to be seen at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and the "De Long Star Ruby," weighing 100 ct, in the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
In ancient times one of the chief attractions of ruby has been its protection from misfortune and bad health. Ruby is the birthstone for those who are born in July. In the Zodiac scheme, ruby is sometimes is associated with Capricorn.
Ruby is also used to celebrate a couple’s 15th and 40th anniversaries.
In Antiquity, as well as in the Middle Ages, people believed that the cosmos is reflected in gemstones. Ruby is assigned to the planets Mars and Pluto. The esoteric movement revived the ancient belief and the gem industry made it another marketing tool to promote certain gems.
The healing powers of gems remain a controversial issue, but are mentioned for centuries by healers, shamans and medicine men. Whether it's a fact or a placebo effect doesn't matter, if it helps. The safest approach is to wear the gemstone in skin contact to the troubled part of the body. Ruby is said to be a general health protector and, in particular, to be good for backache and toenail problems.
- First Published: November-27-2006
- Last Updated: October-06-2010
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