19 Mar 2011
Ruby is one of the more well known coloured gemstones and is often used in dress rings and occasionally in engagement rings.
Ruby is the red variety of corundum and the purest form of red seen in any gemstone. It is said that all other shades of red are compared to that of fine ruby. Fine quality ruby above three carats is rare and more valuable than all other coloured gemstones, with the exception of some alexandrites. It can often be more valuable than the equivalent white diamond. The most important source of the best quality ruby is Myanmar (Burma), mined in the legendary areas of Mogok and Mong Hsu. Other sources of good quality ruby are Thailand (Siam), Madagascar, Tanzania and Sri Lanka. Most rubies are routinely and traditionally heat-treated to improve clarity and drive out undesirable brown tones; this is an assumed and accepted process. Fine quality ruby that is proven to be untreated will command very high prices. Less than 5% of fine stones would fall into this category.
In recent years a treatment known as ‘fracture filling’ has appeared on the market. The process involves taking low grade stones with surface reaching fractures and filling the tiny voids with lead glass during the heating process. This transforms the stone into something more visually appealing, even though the fractures in the stone remain. Applying heat to a fracture filled ruby or placing it in a ‘jeweller’s ‘pickle' can often result in a frosty, white coating on the stone that cannot be reversed. This treatment is totally unacceptable and must be disclosed along all points of sale. If you see a ruby that appears to be of reasonable quality at unbelievably low prices – beware. As the old saying goes, “If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.”
At Larsen Jewellery, our jewellers can show you a range of rubies to choose from and can custom make your ring or other piece of fine jewellery. Please click here for more information about our custom made engagement rings which can be made with the ruby of your choice. Our studios are based in Sydney and Melbourne.