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Ruby-red, Ruby slippers, passion, love… these words and more are associated with one of the most popular gemstones: rubies. A member of the corundum family, a ruby’s hardness is second only to the diamond and shares a hardness scale of 9 with its brother, the sapphire. As a matter of fact, anything not red in the corundum family is known as a sapphire, unless it is a rare colorless form of corundum.
Known in Sanskrit as "ratnaraj" or “King of Gems”, the ruby is an impressive, brilliant stone that reflects the passions and desires of its wearer. Occurring in places like Myanmar, and neighboring countries of Vietnam on the Chinese border, the more precious rubies are known as Burmese rubies. They are named not because they have Burmese origin, but rather because the rubies have a similar color (a deep red with a slightly blue hue) to the famous occurrences in Burma, or modern day Myanmar. Also dubbed "dove-blood-red," the more accurate term for a description of such rare rubies is "Burma-colored."
Another area that produces rubies is Thailand. However, where other places produce vibrantly red stones, Thai rubies are dark red on the verge of brown, and are said to have a "Siamese color." Other places that mine rubies are East Africa, Laos, Nepal, and Afghanistan. Where other gemstones are examined and judged based on a variety of qualifications, the measure of a ruby is placed primarily on its color.
Normally other materials such as liquids, gases, or solids appearing in a gemstone would decrease the value of the stone. In rubies the opposite is true; unless these inclusions interfere with the clarity of the stones, rubies will possibly become even more valuable, seeing that these incursions act as a sort of proof of authenticity for the gems. A gift of passion, love, and desire, the ruby is not only perfect for those with July birthdays, but for anyone towards whom a carnal desire is felt.
Generally, ruby is quite durable. Still, rubies are subject to chipping and fracture if handled roughly.