Ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral Corundum. The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. Its name comes from ruber, which is Latin for red. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called Sapphires. The ruby is considered one of the four Precious Stones; the Sapphire, the Emerald, the Ruby and the Diamond. Rubies are essentially just the name for a red Sapphire.The price of a ruby is mostly attributed to its color. The brightest red, called, “pigeon blood,” are the most valuable. Pink, orange, and purple are the normal secondary hues in ruby. A rich purple undertone reinforces the red making it appear richer. Like diamonds, clarity, cut, and carat are also contributing factors. Some rubies have either a 3-point, or 6-point asterism called a “star.” They were originally mined only in Burma, Thailand, and Sri Lanka, although in the past century, deposits have been found in Tanzania, Madagascar, Vietnam, and Pakistan.Very recently, large amounts of rubies were found in Greenland. An early record of the transport and trading of rubies is seen in the literature on the North Silk Road of China, where rubies were carried along this ancient trade route moving westward from China as early as 200 BC.
Rubies have always been held in high esteem in Asian countries have always been considered a stone of nobility. Rubies were used to ornament armor, scabbards, and harnesses of noblemen in India and China. Rubies were laid beneath the foundation of buildings for the wealthy to secure good fortune to the structure.