Hello, Ruby Sunday!
- With apologies to Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones
"Good-bye Ruby Tuesday" - 1966
In Sanskrit, it’s
sometimes called ‘ratanakaya’ – leader of the precious stones. Other times, it’s
referred to as ‘padmaraga’ – red as the lotus. We know the ruby as ‘King of the
Gemstones’. Viewed by many, for thousands of years, as the most valuable of the
gems, the ruby is an extremely rare precious stone.
Our word ‘ruby’ is based on the Latin ‘rubens’, which means ‘red’. This fact
alone should provide a hint that as far as a ruby is concerned, color is the
most important thing. Ruby red is absolute. That said, we know that a ruby is
simply red corundum. The presence of aluminum oxide and chrome are what give the
ruby its distinct, fiery color. All other corundums are sapphires. Oddly enough,
it’s the color-determining chrome that also causes fissures in the ruby. It’s
mainly for this reason that a perfect ruby any larger than 3 carats is one of
the most rare of all the brilliant or light-deflecting gemstones. Sometimes, an
impurity such as the mineral ‘rutile’ is the determining factor in the creation
of an even rarer ruby. The ‘Star ruby’ is named such because of a light effect
called an ‘asterism’. This causes the appearance of a six-pointed star , the
appearance of which is directly attributable to the presence of rutile.
At a 9 on Moh’s scale, the ruby is exceptionally hard. According to the National
Jewelers Association, Sunday is the ruby’s day of the week, and July is ruby’s
month. December, however, makes a claim for the ruby as an alternate birthstone.
The ruby is the gemstone of choice for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries,
while the star ruby has the 55th all to itself.
History of the Ruby
Ruby Myth and Significance