Corundum RubyRubies

Ruby is a red gemstone. Rubies can vary from a light pink to a blood red, a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide). The colour is caused mainly by chromium. Its name comes from ruber, Latin for red. Natural rubies are exceptionally rare, but synthetic rubies (sometimes called created ruby) can be manufactured fairly cheaply. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires. It is considered one of the four precious gems together with the sapphire, the emerald and the diamond.

Rubies are mined in Africa, Asia, Australia, Greenland, Madagascar and North Carolina. They are most often found in Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Kenya, Madagascar, and Cambodia, but they have also been found in the U.S. states of Montana, North Carolina and South Carolina. The Mogok Valley in Upper Myanmar has produced some of the finest rubies but in recent years very few good rubies have been found there. The unique colour in Myanmar (Burmese) rubies is described as "pigeon’s blood". They are known in the trade as “Mogok” rubies. In central Myanmar the area of Mong Hsu also produces rubies. The latest ruby deposit to be found in Myanmar is situated in Nam Ya. In 2002 rubies were found in the Waseges River area of Kenya. Sometimes spinels are found along with rubies in the same rocks and are mistaken for rubies. However, fine red spinels may approach the average ruby in value.

Rubies have a hardness of 9.0 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Among the natural gems only diamond is harder.