The Ancient Romans considered this to be the stone of the war-god Mars. It has adorned the crowns and sceptres of royals for centuries. It is ruby, one of the most rare and precious gemstones.
High quality rubies are mined in limited places. The most famous rubies are Burmese rubies, mined in Myanmar (formerly Burma). These stones are often of the highly sought after and expensive “pigeon’s blood” colour. This is a pure red colour with a hint of blue.
The colour of rubies is what most highly influences the stone’s price. Inclusions are acceptable and don’t affect the quality of the stone as long as they don’t affect the stone’s transparency. Transparency is the secondary factor affecting the price of rubies.
Today most rubies are treated in some way. Heat treatment, to improve colour, is the most common. Synthetic rubies are also readily available. Treated and synthetic stones have lower prices than natural stones of the same quality. Because of their rarity, untreated rubies of excellent quality command premium prices.
Ruby, the “queen of the gemstones” is the birthstone for July.