Gemmologist’s Corner – Ruby

One of Nature's Treasures

09/06/2023     Jewellery & Gems

Ruby is a real beauty of nature, it’s hexagonal crystals are formed deep within the earth at high temperatures and pressure – it has been highly prized throughout history for its rich red colour that symbolised wealth, power and love – it is a variety of corundum which is the same mineral as sapphire, the only difference being in the impurities that colour the stone. The more ‘blood red’ the colour the better and the more transparent and inclusion free the stone, the more valuable it will be.

Burmese rubies are the most sought after as they provide the most intense red colour. They have been mined there since 600 AD, in these times warriors possessed rubies to make them invincible in battle, it wasn’t enough to just wear the rubies, they had to insert them into their flesh and make them part of their bodies! Thankfully nowadays you can just wear one in a ring or a pendant!

Though ruby has a long history, it wasn’t recognized as a variety of corundum until 1800. Prior to that, red spinel, tourmaline, and garnet were also believed to be ruby. Even the Black Ruby, one of the famed crown jewels of England, was considered one of the largest cut rubies until determined to be spinel. It can be imitated, synthesised and treated to improve its colour, here at O’Reilly’s our in – house gemmologist ensures the authenticity of every stone.

Ruby is the birth stone of July as well as the symbol for a 40th wedding anniversary so if a loved one has a birthday or anniversary coming up, now is the time to buy ….

We have a magnificent Burmese untreated ruby in our forthcoming auction – Lot 378, a 4.95 ct ruby, within a border of diamonds. Estimated to sell between €22,000 – 25,000

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