Rubies, which get their name from the Latin ruber or rubrum, come from the mineral corundum, which is available in several countries across the world. This mineral, which is also the source of sapphires, is mined in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Madagascar, Thailand, Australia and in a few states of the US. There is little doubt that the rubies precious stones have been treasured for centuries.
Even in the Bible there are several references to ruby which shows that this was a popular gemstone in Biblical times too. The rubies are also an important birthstone and are associated with the month of July.
The wearer of this birthstone is said to get wisdom, and do well in love. Besides this, rubies are also believed to protect the wearer against all kinds of misfortunes. No wonder rubies have been prized possessions since the time they were found.
The rubies have a very high hardness level; in fact, they are the hardest gem known to man after diamonds. The value of a ruby depends upon its size, color, clarity and cut. The most prized rubies are those that are clear and have no imperfections.
The color of the ruby comes from chromium, and can range from bright red to red-violet or brownish-red. It is extremely rare to come across a ruby that has no imperfections. In fact, most gem dealers reject rubies that are perfect. This is because rubies are also manufactured artificially. Some of these artificial rubies called created rubies are perfect. But such rubies command little price.
Rubies occasionally show asterism. Such rubies are known as star rubies, and are much more valuable than normal rubies. The world's biggest ruby is the Rajaratna Ruby, which weighs 2,475 carats (495 g). Incidentally, this is the world’s largest star ruby too.