Introduction to Ruby
Ruby, also known as the “Royal gemstone,” is one of the most popular gemstones in the world. Next only to diamonds in terms of importance, popularity, and majesty, ruby is also known as the king of all gemstones. It has a characteristic red color which creates an ambience abundant with “power” and “passion”.
Ruby is a member of the corundum gemstone family. All the gemstones that have a chemical composition of Aluminum and Oxygen atoms spatially bonded in the ratio of Al2O3 which constitutes the Corundum family. The gemstones belonging to this family are available in varieties of colors. Gemstones with a prevalent red color are classified as ruby whereas all the other color variants are classified as sapphires.
Characteristics of Ruby
Ruby, like any other gemstone, is characterized and classified on the basis of cut, durability, transparency, brilliance, hardness, color, rarity etc. Characteristics such as transparence, brilliance and value are imbibed by the inclusions within the gemstone. A different array of inclusions occupying the spatial molecular structure results in varied characteristics of ruby.
Ruby is considered to be a very disproportionate gemstone as far as gem cutting is considered. This is primarily due to the dearth of the rough material and its shape. Ruby is cut using antique cushion, oval, cabochons, beads, and mixed-cut methodologies. Where beads and cabochons methodologies are used for opaque stones, mixed-cut, oval, and antique cushion are used for transparent ones
The durability of a gemstone is determined by its hardness, inclusions, fractures, and heat treatments. Rubies belong to the category of durable and stable gemstones. The hardness and toughness of ruby is usually excellent on the Moh’s scale. However, presence of large fractures can drastically reduce the durability. So, we can say that a ruby stone with fewer fractures and impurities would require no additional care or precautions and would exhibit a considerably longer and more lustrous life.
However, contact with strong and pungent chemicals should always be avoided as far as rubies are concerned. Potent chemical compounds are known to have adverse effects on gemstones.
How to clean Ruby gemstone beads?
Since it is not a good idea to expose gemstones to strong chemical compounds, the perfect cleaning method for ruby would be to use a soft brush dipped in warm soap water.
One should make sure not to use very strong soaps for cleaning purposes.
Treatment of Ruby
Treatment of ruby is yet another important factor towards the characteristics imbibed by the gemstone. It is a very common and widely used phenomenon. All the rubies that come to the market have been treated. The degree of treatment, however, can vary widely and has a huge impact on the price of the stone.
The most common treatment that a ruby gemstone goes through is the heat treatment. The immaculate deep red color that a ruby gemstone echoes is a result of the heat treatment that it has undergone. This deep red distinct color of ruby is commonly known as Pigeon’s blood. Other prevalent treatments include surface diffusion, irradiation treatment, waxing, dying, oil impregnation and fracture filling. All these treatments are individually and specifically targeted towards improving the color, improving the clarity, reducing imperfections, reducing the fracture visibility and enhancing the surface luster.
Where is Ruby found?
Ruby, like most of the other gemstones, is found under the earth’s crust and is mined for retrieval. They are mined worldwide. Places like Sri Lanka, China, Australia, Madagascar, United States, Kenya, Tanzania, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Pakistan are known to have rich and abundant reserves of ruby. Mining is yet another price controlling factor for rubies. The complexities of the technology and the ease of mining are the major factors that affect the market pricing for rubies.
The mining costs and the scarcity of the gemstones have led to the invention of synthetic rubies which are cost effective, readily available (man-made) and are available in varieties.
Are synthetic Rubies better than natural Rubies?
Synthetic rubies have been made in laboratories for quite some time now. However, they have become readily available in the market only recently. The advantages of the synthetic stones are that they are available in abundance and come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. It is easier to procure a large sized synthetic ruby as compared to a natural one. Synthetic rubies are much cheaper as well. Hence the invention has definitely made ruby gemstone available for the common people and in wide varieties. However, there is no rarity quotient attached to the synthetic variant, which deprives gemstones of its most basic and fundamental attribute and not to mention, the charm that comes along with it.
Several laboratory methodologies have been designed to imbibe inclusions within the gemstones so as to replicate the real versions but rarity, purity, charm and antiquity of natural ruby is still unparalleled.
No synthetic ruby would ever be able to gauge to the excellence of a natural, deep, pure livid-red ruby.