Burma Ruby Gemstone Information



 
Burma Ruby is the rarest and most valuable member of the corundum family. Colors range from pink red ruby to a vivid pigeon blood red that is regarded as the finest color for ruby.

Prized for their beauty, durability, and rarity, it is the quality of the color which most determines the value of rubies. The pigeon blood red color is that of a red traffic light, a fluorescent red of high intensity. Demand for gem quality Burma Ruby has always been strong with mining records from Burma dating back almost 500 years. Officially, ruby, jade, and other  gems are Burma’s (Myanmar's) fifth-largest export, but government statistics are notoriously unreliable. Official ruby gem and jade sales are sold at Myanmar’s gem auctions, but hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gems leak across borders to China, Thailand, and India every year, selling at open market prices.

 
Ruby CrystalBurmese Rubies are considered the best, for one simple reason - their color. The most famous localities for Burma Rubies are in the districts around Mogok in northern Burma and at Mong Hsu about 250km east of Mandalay. Rubies tend to have significant inclusions, so eye clean specimens are rare.

The prices and value of Burma Ruby can vary tremendously, depending on the size and quality of the gemstone.  AJS Gems is one of the leading dealers in high quality Burmese Ruby and we supply collectors and jewelers around the world.

 
Why Buy Loose Gemstones Instead of Pre-Set Jewelry? 
 
There are many reasons, but basically it comes down to value and choice...

When buying your gemstone loose instead of a pre-set stone, you can be sure you are getting the best value for your money.  Loose gemstones are less expensive, a better value, and you can really see what you are paying for.  The most important part of getting the right price and finding the best value is to first see what you're getting.  A jewelry setting will hide the inclusions inside a gem, and can deepen or brighten its color.  With a loose stone you can much more easily inspect the gem and see it for what it really is.  In this way you can get a better idea of its true worth and be sure you are paying a fair price.

The second advantage of buying a loose gemstone is choice.  You are free to pick the exact color, cut, shape and variety of the stone for the setting of your dreams, be it yellow gold, white gold, platinum or silver; prong set or bezel set.  You can experience the joy of creating your very own, one-of-a-kind jewelry design. Choose from a variety of jewelry settings and styles to create a completely original presentation that will perfectly suit your individual gemstone and will be as unique as you are!
 Burma Ruby Earring                                                  Burma Ruby Ring                  

Burmese rubies are the best rubies in the world and the most sought after. Burmese ruby is the standard by which all other rubies are judged.  AJS Gems specializes in Burma ruby and carry an selection of these fine gems. 

 

Attributes


Origin Burma (Myanmar)
Color red, blood red, vivid red, pigeon blood red, pinkish red, orangey red, purplish red
Refractive Index 1.759-1.778
Chemical Composition AL2O3
Hardness 9
Density 4
Crystal Structure Trigonal
Zodiac Sign Leo
Planet Sun
Month July
Anniversary 5th and 45th
 
 
Sapphire and Ruby are both corundum, Sapphire is used for all colors of corundum except for red. Red corundum is called ruby. Pure corundum is colorless, and the various colors are result from trace elements. For example, blue sapphire results from a combination of titanium and iron oxides. Sapphire colors include blue, pink, yellow, green, purple, orange, padparadscha, blue green, lemon yellow, color change, and black.   With a hardness of 9 on the Moh's scale, sapphires and rubies are extremely hard and durable, and are suitable for use in any kind of jewelry. 

Most gems have a crystalline structure. Crystals have planes of symmetry and are divided into seven symmetry systems. The number of axes, their length, and their angle to each other determine the system to which a crystal belongs.  Ruby and Sapphire have the same trigonal crystalline structure because they have three planes of symmetry and four axes. Three axes are at 60 degrees to each other in the same plane. The fourth axis is perpendicular and unequal in length to the other three. The form of a ruby's crystals depends on the variety and locality. Rubies may have an uneven or a conchoidal fracture but no real cleavage. The amount of light reflected at the surface of a gemstone is its luster, and Burma rubies have a glassy (vitreous) luster as opposed to the waxy, greasy, or resinous luster of other stones.

The basic chemical formula of corundum is AL2O3 (aluminum oxide). It is the presence of trace elements like chromium, iron, vanadium and titanium which are responsible for the wide range of colors in which the mineral occurs. The red color in Burma Ruby is primarily a result of the presence of chromium.  

Burma ruby's passionate color is just one reason for this gemstone's popularity. As with all corundum, it's also extremely durable, having a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale. Burmese ruby has a specific gravity of 4.00, a refractive index of 1.76 - 1.78, and birefringence of 0.008.  The refractive index (RI), measured using a refractometer, is an indication of the amount light rays are bent by a mineral. Birefringence is the difference between the minimum and maximum RI. When birefringence is high, light rays reflect off different parts of the back of a stone causing an apparent doubling of the back facets when viewed through the front facet.

Gem quality Burmese rubies are rare and  clean stones over 1 carat are extremely rare and garner the highest prices in the gemstone world.

 

Color       

Color is the single most important factor in determining the value of a Burma ruby.  Indeed, the color of a ruby is more important than its clarity. Burmese rubies are rarely clean and even very expensive stones can be slightly included. But subtle differences in color can make correspond to significant differences in value. Highly saturated medium or medium dark red tones are best, rubies which are too dark or too light are worth considerably less.

Although Burmese, African, Thai and Cambodian rubies have the same chemical and physical properties, they differ noticeably in color and hue, with Burma ruby being the top of the line gemstones…  Burma ruby displays a true red to pinkish red color in most kinds of light. Thai and Cambodian rubies are usually darker and browner in color, similar to garnet. Recently some fine African ruby has come on the market, from Tanzania and Mozambique. Though selling at high prices, they rarely exhibit the same fluorescent quality as the best Burmese rubies.


Cut
 
Ovals, rounds, cushions and emerald cuts are the most common cuts for Burmese ruby, due to the typical shape of corundum rough. Other popular shapes include pears, briolettes, hearts and  marquises.  Star rubies are cut into the cabochon shape in order to develop and properly display the star effect.  Inclusions of fine rutile within a star ruby reflect the light which causes a star to appear within the stone. A six-ray star ruby has three sets of parallel fibers. Skilled cutters can sometimes create a 12-ray star ruby but they are rare.

Treatments

Heat treatment of corundum is is quite common and an accepted enhancement process (when no other color enhancing elements are added). Heat treatment can improve the transparency and the color of the stones. Techniques range from simply throwing gems into a fire to be cooked to employing sophisticated electric or gas furnaces at specific pressures and atmospheric conditions. The treatment of Burma ruby is permanent and heated stones do not require special care. Low-grade rubies are often fracture-filled with lead glass to improve their color and clarity. This treatment is not stable and AJS Gems does not deal in fracture-filled ruby. We recommend that consumers avoid these low-grade stones. AJS gems deals only in top grade ruby.

New treatments which are used to produce blue, pink, orange and yellow sapphire stones are more controversial. This new treatment is a heat-diffusion process which is stable and may or may not completely penetrate the stone. The color is achieved through a process which includes the addition of foreign elements to achieve the desired color alteration. AJS Gems will always disclose any gem treated in this way.
 
To find a fine red ruby from Burma that has not undergone high temperature enhancement is to find a truly rare and prized gem indeed.
 
AJS Gems fully discloses any and all treatments to our gemstones.


Sources
 
The most famous source of top quality rubies is the Mogok Stone tract of Burma (Myanmar). This has remained the world’s premier source of gem grade rubies for over 800 years. While fine examples can be found in Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and a few other sources, none can compare with the purity and intensity of the finest “pigeon blood” rubies of Burma.

About 650 kilometers north of the Burmese capital Rangoon (Yangoon) in the Katha district of Northern Burma, lies a 180 square kilometer zone consisting of heavily jungled hills, several ethnic groups, and what is arguably one of the most picturesque regions in the entire country. 

Rubies from Mogok owe their intense beauty to two different optical effects. First is the purity and saturation of the red color common to these rare gems. Second is the often strong flourescent reaction to ultraviolet light which adds a red glow to the gems when viewed in natural light. Put the two together and you have an unbeatable combination of color sources resulting in a glowing red not found elsewhere in nature.



Mythology

The myths, legends, beliefs, superstitions, traditions and symbolism associated with ruby and sapphire have been numerous.

Legend has it that the first person to wear Sapphire was Prometheus, the rival of Zeus, who took the gemstone from Cacaus, where he also stole fire from heaven for man.

Known as the "Gem of Heaven", the ancient Persians believed Sapphires were a chip from the pedestal that supported the earth, and that its reflections gave the sky its colors.

Tradition holds that Moses was given the Ten Commandments on tablets of sapphire, making it the most sacred gemstone. Because blue sapphires represent divine favor, they were the gemstone of choice for kings and high priests. The British Crown Jewels are full of large blue sapphires, the symbol of pure and wise rulers.

The guardians of innocence, Sapphires symbolize truth, sincerity and faithfulness, and are thought to bring peace, joy and wisdom to their owners. In ancient times it was believed that when the wearer of a Sapphire faced challenging obstacles, the gem's power enabled them to find the correct solution.

In India it was believed that a Sapphire immersed in water formed an elixir that could cure the bite of scorpions and snakes. Alternatively, if it were worn as a talisman pendant, it would protect the wearer against evil spirits.

The following legend is Burmese in origin and highlights Sapphires‘ connection with faithfulness: “Eons ago Tsun-Kyan-Kse, a golden haired goddess with Sapphire blue eyes, presided lovingly over the temple of Lao-Tsun. Everyday, the temple‘s chief monk Mun-Ha, meditated before the golden goddess accompanied by his devoted companion, a green-eyed cat named Sinh. One day the temple was besieged by a group of terrible outlaws. When they threw Mun-Ha to the floor, Sinh leapt fiercely at the bandits, jumping up on his master‘s chest to protect him. The wrong doers fled screaming in fear, never to return and in gratitude for his courage, the golden goddess awarded Sinh with her Sapphire blue eyes. To this day, Sinh‘s ancestors guard over the temple.” The temple still stands and is populated by Siamese cat‘s with striking blue eyes (typically this breed has green eyes).

For hundreds of years Blue Sapphires were the popular choice for engagement and wedding rings.

Burma Ruby has been the world's most valued gemstone for thousands of years. It was said to be the most precious of the twelve stones God created when he created all things and this "Lord of Gems" was placed on Aaron's neck by God's command. 

 

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