Throughout most of recorded history, rubies have been the world’s most valuable gemstones apart from colored diamonds. In the Sanskrit language, ruby is called "ratnaraj" meaning King of Gemstones. They are composed of aluminum oxide and minute quantities of chromium, which accounts for their distinctive hue and also their rarity. While chromium gives ruby its superb color, it also causes a multitude of cracks within the crystals. Only a tiny proportion of ruby crystals are able to grow intact into larger sizes and form perfect gemstones.
Unlike most of gems, color is almost the most important determining factor when evaluating a ruby. Since rubies are classified as almost always included, a pure one over 1.5 cts is impossible to find. Therefore, experienced buyers place more emphasis on the color, requesting a slightly included or an eye clean stone.
Van Cleef & Arpels chooses stones, which are as clean as possible and well cut. Heated stones are never accepted; instead Van Cleef & Arpels selects untreated rubies of remarkable color. The Maison mainly selects rubies from Burma, Mozambique and Tanzania.
With its color evoking passion and love, the ruby is said to make dreams come true. It is the gemstone for the 40th wedding anniversary.
Maintaining your ruby:
Ruby, like sapphire, is one of the most durable minerals and is also extremely hard. Van Cleef & Arpels recommends cleaning rubies with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.
Learn more about rubies through the School of Jewelry Arts' mini-film about Mogok, a place in Burma famous since the dawn of history for its exceptional rubies.