The word ruby comes from the Latin word "ruber" which means red. The ruby is a red variety of the mineral Corundum, which is one of the hardest minerals known to us and is found in metamorphic rock. Unless the gem is the color red, which it gets from traces of chromium, it is considered a sapphire. The ruby stands for heat and power and was often used as bullets for blowguns, to heat water or as a cure for indigestion. The ruby, which in Sanskrit is called "ratnaraj" meaning "King of Gemstones", was in ancient Indian thought to protect against misfortune and bad health, especially against back pain and toenail problems. This valuable gem's color is often said to come from an internal flame which represents everlasting love. According to ancient myth, the stone will bring good fortune to its wearer if worn on the left hand, which is why it is a perfect alternative to a diamond for an engagement ring.
The ruby, which has been assigned to the planets Mars and Pluto is also often used to celebrate a couple's 15th and 40th anniversary. Rubies can come in a variety of colors, ranging from a pinkish-red to a purplish or even brownish red. The color depends on the chromium and iron content of the stone, but the most desirable color is called "pigeon's blood", a pure red with a hint of blue. A common practice used to increase a ruby's color and clarity is heat treatment. Another method, used on less valuable stones with surface cracks, is filling the stone with lead glass, which can improve the stone tremendously and make them salable at a more affordable price. Rubies are found mostly in Southeast Asia, in particular Burma and Thailand are known for their ruby deposits. The rubies found in Burma tend to be the desired "pigeon's blood" color and often fluoresce so strongly that they seem to glow, the Thai rubies tend to lack that quality and have a more violet or brown tint to them. Although Burma is known for providing the most beautiful rubies, it is important to consider HOW they are found and under what conditions. Burma has been known to use slave & child labor to get the precious gems, which fund the Burmese military. If you are interested in this issue, click here to read a very informative article about the issue. RZJewelry only uses conflict-free rubies, in an effort to improve the environment and enhance human rights.
Credits: Flickr.com - Orbital Joe