About Rubies

Rubies are among the most precious gemstones in the world. They are formed naturally in the earth under specific conditions. They have a deep and vibrant red color with alluring sparkle.

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Origin & Formation

Rubies are made from the mineral corundum or aluminum oxide. When rubies are treated to extreme heat and pressure, they are formed under the earth’s surface. Corundum is made of densely packed oxygen and aluminum atoms. Typically, this results in a colorless substance. However, when some of the aluminum atoms are replaced by other minerals or substances, the stone can take on other colors. This is how the ruby is formed and gets it’s deep red hue. Specifically the presence of chromium creates the deep red color. Rare orange and pink shades of ruby are created by the presence of chromium and ferric iron. If 1% of the aluminum atoms are replaced by chromium atoms, the ruby forms a deep red color. Learn more about ruby color.

However, the presence of silica or iron, prevents the formation of ruby. Since this are both very commonly present in the earth’s crust, rubies are rare to find. To add to that, corundum is also a rare mineral.

The majority of ruby deposits are found in Asia in countries including Myanmar, Thailand, India, Pakistan and Nepal. Rubies are found along the stretch of land that borders the Himalayan mountain range. As the continents of Asia and the Indian subcontinent collided with each other, the immense pressure and presence of certain minerals created a deposit of rubies. The formation of rubies dates back to 50 million years ago. Additional ruby deposits can also be found in Madagascar, Macedonia and Montana.

The majority of rubies have imperfections that are formed naturally when the ruby is developing in the earth. These characteristics are commonly referred to as rutile needles, or silk. These rutile needles are a distinguishing factor between natural and lab-created rubies. Check out more information about ruby inclusions and clarity.


Types of Origins: Burmese Ruby

The ruby is one of the most precious gemstones in the world made alluring through its rarity and durability. July’s birthstone is naturally formed in a multitude of reds, but the most desirable hue is a dark blood red with a slight tint of blue. Although rubies can be found all over the world, the Burmese Ruby, characterized by this enticing rich red color, from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) continues to be the most sought after ruby of the collection. Second only to diamond, the Burmese Ruby’s hardness makes it ideal for jewelry of all kinds. However, certain varieties and originations of Rubies are more valued and prized than others.


Burmese Ruby Origin & Formation

Rubies are mined in Afghanistan, India, Mozambique, and Tajikistan. While rubies of all qualities can be found in all mines, there are certain mines that produce more visually appealing rubies. Origin greatly affects the worth of a ruby. Hailing from the southeast Asian country of Myanmar, the Burmese Ruby, also known as the Pigeon’s Blood Ruby, proves to be visually stunning through its blood red coloring, and therefore, the most valuable type of ruby. For 800 years of history, the Mogok Stone tract has been characterized as the most famous source for Burmese Rubies. The rubies found in this particular source can account their beauty to not only their vibrant red color, but also to a reaction to ultraviolet light, giving the gem an intense red glow when viewed in natural lighting. Rubies from this region are also known to have a lower iron content. When present in higher quantities, the iron can subdue the electric looking red fluorescence of the ruby. This ability to glow from within almost makes the Burmese rubies look like they have a flame glowing within them. Burmese rubies have a true red to pinkish, red color in natural lighting. This valuable combination sets Burmese rubies apart from all others. As they do not have other undertones, their value is higher than rubies from other sources. More recently, rubies from the Möng Hsu region of Myanmar have become more abundant in the gem market. The coloring is similar with its fluorescent-like effect, but stones found from this region can be easily identified by the darkness of their core. Although also found in Myanmar, debates have been raised about whether the rubies found in Möng Hsu should be classified separately from the Burmese Ruby. However, no conclusion has been made.


Burmese Ruby Value

For thousands of years, the brilliant coloring has made the Burmese Ruby practically irresistible. Its durability only increases the ruby’s worth. Rating at a 9 on the Mohs scale, it is closely related to sapphires and only slightly softer than diamonds. Constructed of the mineral corundum, the Burmese Rubies have attracted prices up to $100,000 per carat in the past, making them some of the most valuable gems in the world. However, it is more typical to find a ½ to 1 carat Burmese Ruby at a price of $300 to $3,000 per carat. Rubies from Myanmar that are above the 4 carat range, have exponentially higher prices as they are immensely rare. Overall, while rubies from other destinations can have high value, the look and value of a ruby is always judged against a Burma ruby. Burmese rubies are the standard in excellence. As with most rubies, rubies from Burma are also heat treated. This reduces inclusion visibility and brings out their fiery red color. Rubies that have not been heat treated and are still beautiful, are quite rare and valuable. Heat treatment is all natural and permanent. It forever enhances the beauty of a ruby and increases it’s value. Four Mine uses Burmese rubies that have been vetted for quality, sparkle and purity. We also ensure that all Burmese rubies comply and exceed standards for responsible mining and importing practices.

Types of Origins: Thai Ruby

Among other countries in Asia, Thailand is a prominent country in which rubies are mined and manufactured. Thailand has become a center of ruby cutting and trade. Thai rubies are synonymous with high quality, well-made rubies that are commonly used in jewelry pieces around the world. Bangkok, the capital of Thailand is known to be a center of ruby trade. Bangkok also benefits from being a hub of import and export within southeast Asia. Overtime, Thailand has become a known source of high quality rubies, recognized by jewelers around the world.


Thai Ruby Origin & Formation

Thailand became a major center for Ruby trade starting in the 15th century. Large ruby mines were found in the Trat, Chanthaburi, and Kanchanaburi provinces. Over time, Thailand has had the largest quantity of facetable and jewelry grade rubies anywhere in the world. Thai rubies have many distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from rubies mined in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Myanmar and other countries. Rubies from Thailand are high in clarity, but tend to be flatter crystal shapes. Therefore, the stones that can be cut from this region are a little bit more shallow than those from other regions. However, they are known for having a better clarity that rubies found in other mines. Thai rubies also have a bit more iron than their Burmese counterparts. This makes the color of the ruby look a bit darker, closer to the garnet gemstone.Thai rubies have a brownish red hue. They also have a fluorescent quality that can be seen under UV light. However, Thai rubies do not fluoresce as vividly as those that originate in Burma. However, with natural heat treatment, the fiery red color of the ruby shines through. Thai rubies do have value in that their roughs allow them to be cut in a variety of fancy shapes like marquise and emerald cuts that are difficult to craft with Burmese rubies. While Thai ruby deposits became majorly depleted by the 1980’s, Thailand had honed techniques to become an expert crafter of rubies. This means that a large number of rubies pass through Thailand to be cut and treated, to bring out their natural beauty. Thailand is now known as a center of ruby crafting, but not necessarily a mining source.


Thai Ruby Value

An experienced and skilled ruby cutter will keep many factors in mind to product a ruby of the highest quality and color. A ruby’s cutting or faceting determines how much light can pass through it and therefore how much sparkle is created. Another important consideration is to cut a ruby in a way through which the maximum amount of red color to show through. Thai rubies are commonly heat treated to unleash the maximum amount of red color and minimize the appearance of clarity inclusions. Natural heat treatment mimics the high heat and pressure that rubies undergo when being naturally formed in the earth. A good ruby cutter will either avoid or fully disclose other treatments like resin filling. Four Mine only utilizes rubies that have been heat treated. Heat treatment is natural and permanent. It does not introduce any foreign elements into the ruby. Rubies that do not undergo treatment are very rare and valuable. Well-crafted Thai rubies can carry a premium. Four Mine only works with trusted and vetted ruby cutters that craft the highest quality rubies.