Ruby is the name given to the red gem quality variety of corundum and happens to be one of the most popular stones on the gemstone market. It is known for its deep red, pinkish red, purplish red and brownish red colours. Although rubies are found in many places, the finest specimens have been reported to come from Myanmar. These are that famous "Burmese Rubies". Corundum is a gem variety that has very famous family members that come in different colours (Sapphire) and it is usually found growing in metamorphic as well as volcanic rock. The beautiful red colour is caused by the presence of chromium in its makeup. In very rare cases stones can show an optical phenomenon called "Asterism" when cut into a cabochon. These are caused by rutile inclusions known as silk. These stones will exhibit a milky or opalescent 3 or 6 six-rayed star that is seen when light is reflected from its surface. These are called "Star Rubies". Some stones can show a Cat's eye effect (chatoyancy) which is caused by these same inclusions. Rubies are often heat treated to improve their colour as well as get rid of the inclusions. This is quite common on the gemstone market as untreated rubies with bright natural colour are very rare and valuable. There is also a process called "glass filling" where molten lead glass, which has a similar refractive index to rubies, is put into the fractures of the stone. These glass filled rubies are significantly cheaper than their more authentic counterparts.
The English term "Ruby" comes from the Latin word "Rubeus", which means red. Rubies are mined primarily in Southeast Asia and have been sourced in Sri Lanka since the eight Century BC. They can be seen used throughout history, given as great gifts of love and power. Known as "the king of gems" among the ancients, Ruby was used as a representation of the sun and to others it also represented happiness, healing, prosperity, romance and generosity. Due to its colour association with blood, it was often used when preparing medicines and was said to help staunch bleeding. Legend has it that the Burmese believed implanting a ruby into the skin would bring protection and invulnerability to its owner. In the thirteenth century, Sanskrit medical literature said than an elixir made of rubies could cure flatulence and ill humor. In England, Ruby has been used for coronation rings and to this day enjoys immense popularity among royalty. The Black Prince's Ruby, now in the imperial state crown of England, and part of the crown jewels since the 1300's, was discovered to be a spinel. Due to Red Spinel's resemblance to Ruby, this wasn't discovered until the 19th century.
Unique patters, Brightness, Colour and body tone are what is used to grade opal. There is a brightness chart that ranges from 1 (brightest) to 7 (dull). The body tone is graded by a letter (N) and a subsequent number, which ranges from 1 to 7. N1 is the darkest and N7 the lightest. Opals with unique patterns that are bright and have a dark body tone are considered the most valuable when looking for a black opal. White opalsl and crystal opals are valued upon their fieriness. A rich variation of iridescent colours is always sought after in any opal.
Indian Name: Surya (Sun)
Colour: Red, may be brownish, purplish, or pinkish