Believed to promote good thoughts and rekindle desire
Gem of passion, of smoldering desire, ruby has been treasured for thousands of years. Because the ancients thought its glowing red color was due to an inextinguishable inner fire, ruby was also associated with courage and power.
Throughout most of recorded history, ruby has been the most valuable of gems. It was believed wearing a fine red ruby bestowed good fortune on its owner – although the owner must have already had good fortune enough to possess such a rare and beautiful gem!
Despite all the best efforts of gem merchants to use technology to enrich color, fine ruby is still exceptionally rare. After being extracted from the earth, rubies today are commonly heatad to high temperatures to maximize the purity and intensity of their red hue. Impurities may also dissolve or become less noticeable after heating. However, heating will only improve the color if the gem already contains the chemistry required. Occasionally rubies with small imperfections are permeated with a silicate byproduct of the heating process, which helps to make small fissures less visible. This enhancement, like heating, is permanent. Another enhancement in rubies is diffusion with beryllium, or a similar element, which artificially adds color to the stone. Whether enhanced or not, rubies remain among the most durable of gems.