Ruby is the most valuable variety of the gem species corundum. A practical reason for ruby’s popularity is its hardness. At 9 on the Mohs scale, this makes ruby second only to diamond. Not only that, there are many more factors giving ruby’s reason to becoming one of the most important gems in colored stone market. Ruby is valued for its intense red color as well as a strong history.




As a symbol of passion, ruby makes an ideal romantic gift. Rubies adorn love-inspired jewelry like heart-shaped pendants and anniversary rings. Consumers are drawn to the lush color because it also signifies wealth and success.

Historians believe that the link between man and ruby stretches back more than thousands of years. In the Bible, rubies are mentioned four times, in association with attributes like beauty and wisdom. In the first century AD, Pliny did also include rubies in hisNatural History, describing their hardness and density. Ancient Hindus believed that those who offered fine rubies to the god Krishna were granted rebirth as emperors. Ruby retained its importance with the birth of the western world and became one of the most sought-after gems of European royalty and the upper classes. In the ancient language of Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj, or “king of precious stones.”

Key factors to consider when buying ruby

Like any other gemstones, color is the most significant factor affecting ruby’s value. Ruby types range from orangy red to purplish red. The finest is pure, vibrant red to slightly purplish red hue. As the hue becomes orangy or more purplish, the ruby moves down the quality scale into good and commercial ranges.Other than color, cut, clarity, size, and how much it’s treated determine which market range it falls into which are:

·         Commercial—mass market

·         Good—high-end line of jewelry

·         Fine quality—a prestigious spot in a fine jewelry salon

Qualities associated with source names

Burmese Ruby

The finest “Burmese” rubies possess a red to slightly purplish red hue, with vivid saturation and medium dark tone. They often display red fluorescence and have minute inclusions that give the color a characteristic softness. Rubies with these qualities are often described as “pigeon’s blood” rubies.The source name “Burmese” originally referred to rubies from the Mogok region in what is now Myanmar.

Thai Ruby

“Thai” rubies can be pure red in color, but they generally have a brownish red to purplish red hue, with medium dark to very dark tone. They lack the red fluorescence that gives the best rubies their impact. They also tend to have many black extinction areas, making them appear darker than “Burmese” stones. The lowest-quality Thai stones are sometimes called mud rubies.


Mozambique Ruby

Mozambique has recently been producing a number of both commercial and fine quality ruby which similar to legendary Burmese origin. This origin has become one of the most important sources of ruby.

Ceylon or Sri Lankan

·         “Thai” and “Pailin” describe rubies that look similar to stones from sources straddling the border between Thailand and Cambodia.

·         “Ceylon” and “Sri Lankan” rubies range from purplish red to pinkish red and are medium to very light in tone. The light tone means they absorb less light. As a result, they tend to be brighter than darker-toned rubies like those from Thailand. Many of these stones actually look more like pink sapphires than rubies.

Rubies from Tanzania

There are four major ruby producing areas in Tanzania

Longido: A German officer stationed on the Kenyan border at Mt. Longidowas the first to find rubies in this area. Longido rubies are quite unique in their appearance and are associated with the mineral zoisite. Most of the material is very heavily included and is unfit for cutting and polishing into faceted stones. However, due to their exceptionally good color, most of them are cut and polished into carvings, sculptures and cabochons.

Umba: Rubies and Fancy Sapphires found in Umba valley in North

Eastern Tanzania are among the most famous gemstones in the world. The Rubies and Sapphires of Umba occur in various colors and shades including red, orange, blues, greens, and mixtures of these colors which defy all conventional descriptions. Parti-color (Bi-Color) Sapphires and extremely rare color-change sapphires also come from this area.

Lossongoi: Some of the most beautiful rubies are found in the

Southern slopes of Lossongoi Mountains, near the village of Lossongoi Springs (south of Arusha) .These rubies are both of facetable and cabochon grade material.

Morogoro:  Ruby deposits were discovered in the 1970s in the western Ulugurumountains near Morogoro. These mines are spread over a large area including Motombo, Kitonga, Epanko, Ruaha, Lukande, Mayote, and Kitwaro. These mines yield mostly cabochon grade and star ruby material. 


Rubies from Kenya

In the year 1973, American geologists Tim Miller and John Saul discovered ruby in Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park, in the area of Mangari. Although material clean enough to facet was rare, the color of the material was excellent. In the scandal reaching to the highest levels, Kenyan government illegally took control of the mines. The mines were eventually restored to their rightful owner, and today the so called John Saul mine continues to produce good cabochon-grade material, along with some faceted stones.

Rubies from Nigeria

Nigerian Rubies are extremely dark purple, so dark-colored that they almost appear black in daylight. Heat treatments have been attempted on Nigerian Rubies to reduce the color, with little success. The mines are located in the Kaduna District.

Rubies from Malawi

Rubies have been found in Chimwadzulu hill in southern Malawi (formerly Nyasaland). Malawi rubies have a rather pale color.

Rubies from Madagascar

Large quantities of rubies and sapphires have been recently found in Madagascar. Although the rubies are pinkish in color and resemble pink sapphires, the transparency is excellent and they are suitable for faceted stones. Ilakaka is one of the major areas yielding corundum. Red crystals are also found in Gogogogo, east of Transvaal.

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