Reasons to buy a ruby (as if you need one): 1. It’s your birthstone. 2. It’s the birthstone of your child or spouse. 3. Your wedding was held in July and you want an unusual way to commemorate an anniversary. 4. Perhaps red is just your color! Whatever helps you decide to wear a ruby, know that this valuable variety of the corundum mineral species is an excellent choice for fine jewelry. It’s second only to diamonds in hardness and is stunning when set in either gold or white metals.
Color is the most significant element that factors into a ruby’s value. In its purest form, the mineral corundum is colorless. Trace amounts of the element chromium give rubies their characteristic red. The finest ruby has a pure, vibrant red to slightly purplish red color. As the color becomes too orangey or more purplish, the ruby moves down the quality scale.
The Burmese “Sunrise Ruby,” named for a 13th century poem of the same name, shows a combination of outstanding ruby characteristics from a saturated natural “pigeon blood red” color to a high clarity and brilliance. This 25.59-carat gem recently became a world record setter for rubies at auction in May 2015 when it was sold for a whopping $30.3 million. It also holds the title for the most expensive colored gemstone sold at auction, showing the dramatic price increase for colored gemstones at recent public auctions. Some even rival the prices of much-sought-after colored diamonds!
Did you know?
A red-colored artificial ruby may be achieved by doping chromium into artificial corundum crystals. Such a synthetic ruby crystal was the basis for the first laser, produced in 1960, which relied on stimulated emission of light from the chromium atoms.