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Ruby Jewelry

Do you have a deep red ruby pendant, ruby ring or even a ruby tennis bracelet ? When you are getting dressed up or feeling sexy, do you reach for your rubies to accessorize? There is a good reason for this- rubies are spicy, the cayenne pepper of the gemstones. Their deep red color evokes passion and heat and a woman draped in rubies exudes confidence.

What is a ruby?

A ruby is actually the mineral called corundum, which is a crystallized aluminum oxide. It is created by heat and pressure deep in the earth. Physically, the ruby and the sapphire are the same except for the color. Inside the mineral, particles like iron and chrome give the stone color. For the ruby, chrome is what makes it red. The ruby is also the only member of the corundum family. All other colors- blue or otherwise- are called sapphires.

Like other gemstones, the ruby comes in varying shades of red. The most desired is the Burmese red, which is a deep blood-red color. But, there are lighter shades that tend more toward a hot pink shade of red. Inclusions called rutiles give two characteristics to the ruby. One gives the appearance of a star that radiates from the center of the ruby out. When this occurs, which is rare, the stone is typically cut into a cabochon, which is a smooth dome-shape. A cabochon star ruby ring is unique and a conversation piece as light hits is and the star slides over the smooth dome. The second quality the rutile needles give to a ruby is a silky appearance. Literally, it looks like a layer of silk material is trapped inside the stone, giving it texture and depth.

Where do rubies come from?

Rubies mostly come from various parts of Asia and most recently, East Africa where they were discovered in the 60s. The finest rubies are called Burmese rubies from Myanmar, formerly called Burma. A Burmese ruby refers to the mine location as well as the color of the stone because of its deep bluish-red color. These stones, when found, come from a beautiful mountainous valley in Mogok in the northern part of Myanmar. This is a very famous ruby mine location and is known as the "valley of the rubies." If you can find a Burmese ruby necklace from this area, you will definitely have something special and you'll pay well for it too. But, what a magnificent piece of art you'll have to wear around your neck.

Another important area in Myanmar is the Mong Hsu mines. When this deposit of gemstones was found, they were originally dismissed because of their dark, almost black, center and red around the edges. But, much like the colors of the topaz are brought out, it was discovered that heating the stone would bring out a deep lustrous red. Once the stones became usable, a Mong Hsu became a major supplier of rubies. Other areas include Thailand, Vietnam, Afghanistan and India.

Rubies and Special Occasions

Ah, the lucky July babies' they get to claim the ruby as their very own. For July, ruby ring mania takes over and birthday girls everywhere open tiny boxes with showcasing this popular birthstone. But, a July birthday is not the only reason to purchase ruby jewelry. Valentine's Day is all about red- hearts, love, romance and yes, the ruby. In jewelry cases everywhere, you can find heart-shaped ruby diamond earrings and a heart-shaped ruby pendant to match. The stone itself can be cut into a heart or several stones can form the heart shape. However it is done, hearts, rubies and love go together.

Another special occasion deserving of the ruby is the 40th wedding anniversary. This is a huge mile-stone and celebrating it with a diamond and ruby necklace or ruby tennis bracelet illustrates the deep and abiding love that it took to get there.

How to care for your Ruby Jewelry

Rubies are loved not just for their beautiful vibrant color, but also for their durability. A ring probably takes the hardest beating of all the jewelry pieces, but a ruby ring is strong enough for daily wear. The ruby, along with other corundum, is one of the hardest minerals in the world, second only to the diamond on the Mohs scale.

Because of its durability, the ruby is easy to care for. It can be steam cleaned, put in an ultra-sonic machine or soaked in warm soapy water. That does not mean that you can go around banging your ruby ring into things, because they will crack if hit in the right spot.

Ruby is royalty in the world of gemstones. It is the spice that can heat up the everyday humdrum of life. Wear it and enjoy the power a ruby transfers to its wearer.