Gem FAQS > Corundum > Ruby

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Ruby is considered the queen of gemstones and has been coveted throughout the ages by every culture. The name ruby comes from the Latin word rubeus which means red. 

Ruby is the medium light to dark orangey red to purplish red variety of corundum. Corundum, aluminum oxide (Al2O3), is an allochromatic gemstone or in plain English colorless. The color in ruby comes from chromium and or iron replacing aluminum in the crystal. The finest rubies have up a 4% content of chromium and almost no iron. Iron makes a ruby look orange and too much chromium will render the ruby too dark.

Rubies are found in many locations around the world. The finest ruby is from Mogok, Myanmar (Burma). The United States presently has banned all products from Myanmar including ruby, sapphire and jadeite, so supplies are limited to what is on hand.

Last updated on July 19, 2009 by Francis M Lynch