Celebrated in the Bible and in ancient Sanskrit writings as the most precious of all gemstones, rubies have been the prized possession of emperors and kings throughout the ages. Ruby's inner fire has been the inspiration for innumerable legends and myths, and to this day, no red gemstone can compare to its fiery, rich hues. It was believed wearing a fine red ruby bestowed good fortune on its owner.
Many people associate its brilliant crimson colors with passion and love, making ruby an ideal choice for an engagement ring. Ruby is the red variety of the corundum mineral species, while all other colors of corundum are called sapphire.
This most sought after gemstone is available in a range of red hues, from purplish and bluish red to orange red. Ruby is readily available in sizes up to 2 carats, but larger sizes can be obtained.
Ruby is mined throughout Southeast Asia. While Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) produce exquisite examples of this gemstone that the ancient Sinhalese people called "Ratnaraj," the King of Gemstones.
After being extracted from the earth, rubies today are commonly heated to high temperatures to maximize the purity and intensity of their red hue. Impurities may also dissolve or become less noticeable after heating.