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Ruby's name comes from the Latin word rubinus, red. Both ruby and sapphire come from the species corundum, but the stone is called ruby only if its color is one of four hues: orangey red, red, slightly purplish red, or purplish red. Otherwise it is a sapphire. For certain shades, only a trained expert can distinguish ruby from sapphire. In general, ruby is far more valuable than sapphire.


In the corundum Rainbow Bracelet, the red stones are rubies.
All the others are sapphires.

Many of the so-called rubies throughout history were actually spinel. Modern technology has revealed that "The Mogul Ruby," listed in science books as one of the greatest rubies, is spinel. Many other common gemstones, among them garnet, tourmaline and red beryl, have also been mistakenly labeled rubies.

Rubies typically range from .01 to 5.00 carats, but stones of several hundred carats also occur. Large flawless rubies are scarce and costly. Smaller stones may be purchased at moderate prices. Rubies are very resistant to breakage. Burma ruby is considered the rarest and most costly of fine gem quality ruby.

Ruby Treatments

Rubies are usually heated to improve their color and appearance. The enhancement is quite stable and no special care is needed with the stone.

Other treatments are common practice in dealing with rubies and they should be specifically disclosed.

Treatments That Should Be Disclosed

See also Gemstone Treatments.

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