The Dynamic Earth View Multimedia Version

Main Menu >  GeoGallery >  Gems >  Ruby
TITLE: GeoGallery

Choose one of the following Gems for more details:

Corundum (variety: Ruby)

Corundum (variety: Ruby)

Rubies are still one of the most popular and valuable gemstones today. The most important source of fine rubies sine the late 15th century has been Burma. Burmese rubies are generally considered to be the finest color and are often referred to as "pigeon's blood." Another major source of rubies today is Thailand, near the Cambodian border. The stones are typically brownish-red and darker than those from Burma and are commonly heat-treated to produce a purer red color. The 3.89-carat ruby in the ring pictured here is from Thailand.

Corundum (variety: Star Ruby)

Corundum (variety: Star Ruby)

With its rich color and well-defined star, the 138.72-carat Rosser Reeves Star Ruby might be the largest and finest star ruby in the world. It is from Sri Lanka, but its early history is not known. When it was purchased by a gem dealer in London in the late 1950s, the ruby weighed 140 carats, but it was subsequently recut to center the star. Rosser Reeves, whose name it now bears, carried it around as a lucky stone, referring to it as his baby. He donated it to the Smithsonian in 1965.

Ruby and Diamond Bracelet

Ruby and Diamond Bracelet

Thirty-one antique-cut Burmese rubies (totaling 60 carats) possessing the deep, highly-valued color called pigeon's blood were set into this platinum bracelet designed by Harry Winston, Inc., in 1950. The accompanying 107 diamonds total 27 carats. Burma, particularly the region around Mogok, has been a main source for rubies since the late fifteenth century. Rubies from this region are known for their rich and vibrant color, which is why the term "Burmese Ruby" is synonymous with the finest color rubies. A red to slightly purplish-red color, that is medium-dark in tone, with the vibrancy of the color enhanced by a red fluorescence is called pigeon's blood.


bottom navigation bar Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Mineral Sciences website Credits