Anniversary stone: 40th year of marriage
Rarer than diamonds, rubies are only found in a handful of mines around the world. The majority come from South East Asia, with Burma and Thailand producing the highest quality gemstones. Rubies, like sapphires, belong to the corundum family. They are identical in many ways except for their colour. Rubies are available in a wide range of tones varying from warm pinks and oranges to deep brownish reds. Deriving its name from the Latin "rufus" meaning "red" and the Sanskrit word "ratnaraj" which means "king of the gemstones", the ruby red colour has long been associated with love, passion and power.
For many years the ruby has been considered to be the most valuable gemstone on Earth. Its stunning colour, hardness, brilliance and relative rarity have made this gemstone particularly popular. It has been said that the ruby's colour is its most important feature, so the inclusions that natural rubies carry, called "silk", do not have any effect on the stones quality. These natural 'fingerprints' are seen as a statement of individuality and proof of its natural origins.
The Mohs' scale measures a gems relative hardness on a scale of 1 to 10 based on the stones "scratchability". Diamond is the hardest at 10, sapphire and rubies measure 9, with pearl at around 3 ½ and amber at 2 ½. Rubies are very hard at 9 on the Mohs' scale.
Care and Cleaning
Rubies are fairly easy to care for due to their hardness and require no more care than usual by the wearer. It is however recommended that ruby jewellery be removed when doing heavy work to protect the gemstone from damage. Rubies can be cleaned using specialist equipment found in jewellery stores, such as ultrasonic cleaners. They can also be cleaned at home using warm soapy water and a soft toothbrush to remove any dirt or dust from behind the stone.
Legend and Lore
The intense colour of the ruby has lead to there being many myths and legends associated with this gemstone. Symbolising fire and blood, implying warmth and life, the ruby-red is a hot, passionate, powerful colour which makes the ruby the perfect way to express intense feelings. A gift of a ruby ring is said to symbolise the deep passionate love that people feel for each other.
Throughout history many people believed that the ruby held mystical powers. Some civilisations believed that the brilliant red colour of the ruby was due to an inextinguishable fire that burned inside the stone, bringing long life to the wearer.