Updated: Jan 20
Facts About the Most Romantic and Expensive Coloured Gemstone
With less than a month to go until Valentine’s Day, we’re definitely starting to feel the crescendoing vibe of romance in the air. When it comes to the colour of romance, we instinctively look to reds and pinks – warm, vivid hues that convey the emotion of love. Today let’s look at the most renowned red gemstone of all – ruby ❤️.
Known as one of the “Big Three” gemstones alongside sapphire and emerald, ruby is regarded as one of the most important coloured gemstones in the market due to the fact that it can fetch the highest per-carat price amongst all coloured stones.
On the Mohs Hardness Scale, ruby is graded as 9, meaning that its hardness and durability is only second to diamond. Ruby is also the birthstone for July and the gem for the 15th and 40th anniversaries.
What gives rubies their red colour?
Ruby is a variety of the corundum family of gemstones, which also includes sapphire. The mineral species corundum itself is colourless, while variations in colour is caused by the trace elements incorporated as part of the mineral’s crystal structure.
The trace element which gives ruby its red colour is chromium, with the shades of red ranging from an orangy red, pinkish, to darker shades such as purplish or brownish reds. The amount of chromium present determines the strength of the ruby’s colour — the high level of chromium present, the more intense the red colour. Chromium can also cause fluorescence, which increases the intensity of the red hue.
Can rubies be treated to change their colour?
Rubies sometimes undergo a heating treatment which can remove purplish colouration, giving it a more pure red colour. This process also helps remove “silk”, which are minute needle-like inclusions that cause the gem to appear lighter in tone and be more opaque.
What is the highest priced ruby to date?
The most expensive ruby in history was the 25.59-carat Sunrise Ruby and Diamond Ring by Cartier, which fetched a record-breaking USD $30,335,698 at a Sotheby’s auction in May 2015. The price was equivalent to around USD $1.2 million per carat, which was the highest price per carat for a ruby in history. This Mogok Burmese ruby is of Burmese origin and “pigeon-blood” colour.
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