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What is Ruby?

Ruby is the red variety of corundum, its name derived from the Latin 'ruber' for red and it is the birthstone for July. It was once deemed to be the most valuable gemstone but today diamonds have surpassed it in that respect. However, an excellent ruby of great size is an exceptional stone and those with rich colour can fetch very high prices.


You may have heard the phrase 'pigeon's blood' being used for rubies of the most highly prized shade of red. Today this old descriptive colour term is a hotly debated topic in terms of defining the colour itself, since 'pigeon's blood' stones are deemed the most highly prized and thus more valuable and desirable.


Ruby is pleochroic and will show red and orange-red through a dichroscope. Many rubies display a strong red fluorescence, and this effect often contributes to its bright colour when a ruby is viewed in daylight.

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