The glowing ruby shall adorn,
Those who in July are born;
Then they’ll be exempt and free
From love’s doubts and anxiety.
Rubies are pink to blood-red coloured gemstones composed of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide). The red colour is caused mainly by the presence of chromium. Ruby gets its name from ruber, which is Latin for red. Rubies have a hardness of 9.0 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Among the natural gems only moissanite and diamond are harder. All natural rubies have imperfections in them, including colour impurities and inclusions of rutile needles known as silk. Gemologists use these needle inclusions found in natural rubies to distinguish them from synthetics, simulants, or substitutes. Some rubies show a three-point or six-point star. These rubies are cut into cabochons to display the effect. Furthermore, rubies can show colour changes (though this occurs very rarely) as well as chatoyancy or the cat’s eye effect.
The colour of a Ruby is the most important feature of the gemstone. Rubies are available in a range of red hues from purplish and bluish red to orange-red. The brightest and most valuable colour of Ruby is often that of the Burmese Ruby – a rich, passionate, hot, full red colour with a slight blue hue. This colour is often referred to as “pigeon blood” red, a Ruby colour only associated with the Mogok Valley mines in Myanmar. The colour Pigeon Blood Ruby red is not the colour of a pigeon’s blood but rather the colour of a white pigeon’s eye.
Clarity follows colour in the grading of a ruby. Like diamonds, a clear stone will command a premium, but a ruby without any needle-like rutile inclusions may indicate that the stone has been treated. Most, if not all, rubies at the lower end of the market are treated with heat to improve colour, remove purple tinge and blue patches. Lead glass filling, where fractures inside the ruby are filled with lead glass (or a similar material), dramatically improving the transparency of the stone, has also gained popularity in recent years.
Ruby is an earth stone, a perfect complement to the vagaries of the waxing and the waning moon that controls those born in July. It energizes and activates the mental and emotional body, enhances self-confidence and passion for life. It is a protective heart stone that eliminates feelings of hopelessness and defeat. Ruby provides the wearer with the energies of optimism and determination. It is a stone for courage, helping ease anxiety as it brings adventure and opportunities into life.