The shining red birthstone of July is one of the most popular gemstones in the world. Rubies are counted among the original cardinal gemstones, the most highly valued gemstones in history. They’re joined by amethyst, diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires. Ruby is part of the Corundum family, along with Sapphires. The difference between the two is that Ruby get its red coloring from traces of chromium, whereas sapphire gets its color from titanium. Of all the corundum gemstones, rubies are the most valuable.
Like many gemstones, the clearest and most color saturated rubies are the most expensive. The most desirable shade of ruby is called “pigeon blood” for its blood red color. These are usually found in Burma. Because they are so similar to the color of blood, rubies are associated with life, strength, and passion. Throughout history, Asian cultures have adorned warriors’ weapons and armor with Rubies. While in Europe, they’ve come to symbolize life energy, vitality, and love, so they were more commonly used in jewelry and gifts.
There has always been a high demand for rubies. In order to meet this demand, rubies that have cracks or holes have been filled with lead-glass. Using lead-glass to fill those cracks gives the ruby an even greater clarity and shine than before, making it highly valuable. It’s easy to spot lead-glass filled rubies by tiny bubbles where the cracks and flaws used to be.