Ruby is considered one of the most popular gemstone in the world. It has been commonly used in jewellery for hundreds of years. When looking for a ruby, here's what you need to look out for.
Is it natural?
Ruby is highly synthesized due it to its hefty price tag, and high demand. When purchasing a ruby, be sure to look out for things like "Lab created ruby" or "man-made ruby". Jewellery stores may use deceptive terminology when selling synthetic or imitation gemstones. A general rule of thumb, if its a perfect colour, a large size, with a tiny price tag, it may very well be lab made. Rubies over one carat are rare, and command high prices.
Ruby belongs to the mineral group corundum, which also includes all sapphires. Sapphires are available in a number of colours, these are referred to as fancy sapphire. When a sapphire is red, this is then named a ruby.
Look out for an even colour without any eye visible inclusions. The ruby should be transparent or slightly translucent. Fine quality ruby are red to slightly purplish red in colour.
Is it Durable?
Absolutely, ruby is one of the most durable gemstones available after Diamonds. It measures 9 on the Mohs scale, so its extremely tough, and has no cleavages which is its weakness points that may cause it to break when struck.
Natural untreated ruby is very durable. Today it is common to find a number of treatments available that may enhance the ruby colour or clarity. Treatments such a heat treatment, lattice diffusion & lead glass filling are seen on the market. Heat treatment is irreversible, and does not affect the durability of the stone. Lattice diffusion is a surface penetrating treatment that adjusts the colour of the gemstone. It varies in degree of penetration between stones, where the treatment is only shallow, this can be removed by recutting the stone or surface damage. Glass filling is a temporary and may be removed by standard house hold products such as lemon or bleach.