JewelStruck Blog

GEMS December – Ruby Deposits and Types of Ruby

by JewelStruck on Dec.17, 2009, under GEMS

Continuing with Gemstone Each Month Series (GEMS) for December, we would be discussing about types of Ruby and places where ruby is mined. Just to remind you, we keep on including pics of Jewelry made using Ruby in each of our posts. So if you would like your Jewelry to be featured do mail us at Anyways, lets start with the places where ruby is mined.

Ruby Deposits

The Mogok Valley in Upper Myanmar (Burma) has produced some of the finest rubies ever mined. That region was for centuries the world’s main source for rubies. But very few good rubies have been found there in recent years. Blood red ruby with a hint of blue is sometimes described as “pigeon’s blood”.

The area of Mong Hsu (in central Myanmar) began producing rubies during the 1990s and rapidly became the world’s main ruby mining area.  Namya (Namyazeik) located in the northern state of Kachin is the most recently found ruby deposit in Myanmar.

Myanmar Ruby Rough

Historically rubies have been mined in Thailand, the Pailin and Samlout District of Cambodia, and in Afghanistan. They have been rarely found in Sri Lanka, where pink sapphires are more common.

Ruby deposits were found in Tanzania, Madagascar, Vietnam, Nepal, Tajikistan, and Pakistan after the Second World War.

In the U.S.  states of Montana, North Carolina, and South Carolina have some Ruby deposits. More recently, large ruby deposits have been found under the receding ice shelf of Greenland. In 2002 rubies were found in the Waseges River area of Kenya.

Ruby rough and polished state

Synthetic Rubies

Rubies were first synthesized in 1902. Frimy and Auguste Verneuil manufactured artificial ruby by fusing BaF2 and Al2O3 with a little Chromium at red heat. The process of creating synthetic rubies by flame fusion is known as the Verneuil process.  Many rubies on the market are synthetic. Only experts can distinguish between natural and synthetic rubies.

African Ruby Rough

Types of Ruby

  • Burmese or Burma Ruby – Ruby with exceptional color (generally but not necessarily from Burma)
  • Pigeon’s Blood Ruby – Blood-red ruby with a hint of blue
  • Star Ruby – Ruby displaying asterism – A star like effect caused by inclusions.
  • Cat’s Eye Ruby – Ruby exhibiting cat’s eye effect, i.e. concentrated narrow band of reflected light across the center.
  • Thai or siam Ruby – These come in darker shades and are only next to burmese ruby in quality.
  • Srilankan Ruby – These are lighter shades, mostly pink in color.
  • Madagascar RubyThe most recent discoveries of rubies have occurred in Madagascar at Andilamena and Vatomandry. The deposit in Vatomandry produces crystals of nice natural orange/red and pinkish color which do not require heating. The rough from Andilamena is more substantial and is generally somewhat violet and not very clean, but heat treatment improves the color substantially.
  • Vietnamese Ruby – Coming from mines in Vietnam – Luc Yen, north of Hanoi, and Quy Chau, to the south. Its as good as Burmese ruby and still unexploited.
  • Tanzanian or Longido RubyTanzanian rubies from the Songea deposit are darker and more garnet like in color than Burmese rubies and as a result are also much more affordable
  • Verneuil Ruby – Synthetic Ruby, made using Verneuil process described above.

Image credits : topofthailandgems, diamondvues

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1 Comment for this entry

  • Sebastian Semenick

    I wanted to say that it’s nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. This was the first place that told me the answer. Thanks.

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