Everything You Need to Know About Ruby

| 3 min read

Often referred to as the 'king of gems', Ruby is a stone that needs little introduction. It's amassed a remarkable history over thousands of years, and what we know of it barely scratches the surface.  Here, we explore the captivating world of one of the planet's most-loved treasures. 


Ruby is part of the Corundum family of gemstones, alongside Sapphire, and it is the only form of Corundum that doesn't fall within the Sapphire name. Ruby is a magnificent stone in its own right and, as a result of its definitive red colour, is probably the most iconic coloured gem in the world.


Ruby is one of only four precious gemstones, alongside Sapphire, Emerald, and Diamond. At 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, it is one of the strongest and most durable gems ever discovered. With the proper care and attention, it has the potential to last for thousands of years. 

Ruby is July's primary birthstone and is the gem for both the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries. According to records, it was first discovered over 2,500 years ago and has captured the hearts of the globe ever since.  



Crystal System Trigonal 

Specific Gravity 3.97 - 4.05

Refractive Index 1.768 - 1.772

Chemical Formula Al2O3 

Composition Aluminium Oxide 


Historically, Ruby has earned itself many names from different civilisations, which only highlights how universally desired this gemstone is. 

'Ruby' hails from the Latin word 'ruber', which means 'red'. However, in Sanskrit, the stone is called 'ratnaraj', which translates to 'the king of gems'. 



Until fairly recently, strong supplies of Ruby were sourced from just three countries: Thailand, Sri Lanka and Burma (now Myanmar).

Sri Lanka remains one of the world's finest locations for high-quality Rubies and Sapphires, and Burmese Rubies are renowned for their distinctive red hue, known in the industry as 'pigeon blood red'. This phrase originated in Burma and is generally reserved for the finest Rubies from the country. 

Other notable Ruby sources include:

  • Kenya

  • Mozambique

  • Tanzania 

  • Madagascar

  • Afghanistan 

  • Cambodia 

  • India 

  • China 

  • Australia 


Ruby Crystals

Currently, no scientific evidence suggests the validity of a gemstone's metaphysical properties. However, it is a fascinating concept that is worthy of further exploration.  

Unsurprisingly, no other gemstone has stronger links to love and passion than Ruby. Early civilisations believed it held all of life's power, and it has also been associated with wisdom and beauty.  

Ruby is mentioned in many historical scriptures, and is referred to as Carbuncle in the Holy Bible. But, its popularity remained strong even as centuries passed; Ruby continues to be a desired stone within noble and royal families, and many would wear the gem to try and garner good health, abundant wealth and success in love. 


Loose Ruby

Due to its strength, a Ruby can be safely cleaned using lukewarm water, a mild dish soap and a soft cloth. There is little reason to use any other method, but always do your research before using harsher cleaning methods, as some Rubies are treated to enhance their appearance.

For storage, always keep gemstones separate from each other, particularly tough ones like Ruby that have the potential to scratch your other gems. Finally, if you choose to have your Ruby set into jewellery, always remove it before cleaning, gardening, showering or exercising. 

A gemstone collection is only complete with a Ruby. If you are yet to add one to your collection, you can shop our Ruby selection to find your next gem.

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