Ruby is derived from the Latin word “ruber,” meaning red – the color of passion. Ruby gemstones have been esteemed since ancient times and are mentioned in the Bible as one of the gems used to represent one of the 12 tribes of Israel, during Exodus. Kings and Queens have long enjoyed this rare gem, and rubies are amply represented in royal regalia. Rubies remain one of the most popular gemstones in history.

Ruby is the July birthstone, but those born in other months also take pleasure from its beauty.

Ruby Facts

  • Ruby is a variety of the mineral species corundum and is related to sapphire, another variety of corundum.
  • Ruby sources include Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Madagascar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Vietnam. Burma (Myanmar) is known to produce some of the world’s finest quality rubies.
  • Ruby is a durable gemstone with a hardness of 9.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
  • Ruby gemstones are cut into round, pear, oval, cushion, emerald-cut and other shapes. Rubies may also be carved or cut as cabochons or beads.

Ruby Treatment

  • Ruby gems are often heat treated to increase transparency, clarity and color.  Other treatments such as use of leaded glass to fill pits and cracks in the stones or oils and dyes may also be used, but these treatments are not considered durable. Any treatments should be disclosed to the buyer.

Synthetic Ruby

  • Ruby can be man-made, meaning it is manufactured in a lab rather than mined, and this should be understood by the seller and clearly disclosed to the buyer.

Ruby Care & Cleaning

  • To minimize scratching and wear, store each piece of fine jewelry separately in a soft cloth or padded container.
  • Ruby jewelry is best cleaned with warm, sudsy water and a tightly woven microfiber or other soft cloth.
  • Do not use ultrasonic or steam cleaners on fractured or filled gemstones.
  • Take all your fine jewelry to a professional jeweler at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and inspection.
  • See our full guide to jewelry care and cleaning.

Content © GIA. Image © Robert Weldon/GIA

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