From the beginning of time, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds have been mentioned in our history books adorning royalty, providing protection, and legends of promoting rebirth. The appearance of these stones dates back to 2500BC in China. These 3 stones have been the rarest, the most coveted, and are some of the rarest gemstones in the world.
Let’s take a look at each gemstone so that when you buy it, you will know which one is right for you.
Ruby dates back to 50 million years ago. It was mentioned four times in the Bible in association with characteristics like beauty and wisdom. Ruby belongs to the corundum family. The color of ruby was compared to “pigeon’s blood” meaning it should be a rich, bold, pure red color. It can also come in an orangey-red or a purply red. The color plays a huge part in the price of the stone. Being rare and with the best color, rubies command the highest price per carat of any gemstone, especially if they are over 10 carats. Cut, carat weight, and clarity also affect the price but not as much as color does.
The hardness of a ruby is a 9 on the Mohs scale (which goes from 1 to 10 with 10 being the hardest) making it a very durable stone.
Rubies come from a variety of places with Asia having the best rubies – Myanmar (Burma), the Himalayas, Vietnam, Madagascar, Macedonia, and Thailand are all places where you can find rubies.
Ruby is the birthstone for the month of July. It is also the anniversary stone for the 15th and 40th anniversaries. Ruby is associated with love, power and peace, and anger and passion.
Sapphires date back 150 million years ago after intense heat and pressure at depths of 6 – 18 miles underneath the earth’s surface produced this gemstone. Sapphire was mentioned 12 times in the Holy Bible. For centuries sapphire has been associated with royalty and romance, consequently the term, “royal blue.”
Sapphires come in every color of the rainbow except the color red, which is ruby. Sapphire ranges from a very light blue to a very dark blue color but the most desirable color is the intense, rich blue to violet color, called “cornflower blue.” Sapphires are generally clearer than rubies and are found in larger carat weights.
Sapphire also belongs to the corundum family, and is a 9 on the Mohs scale, making it a hard, strong stone that has endured the ages.
The best sapphires come from Kashmir (the area that borders northern India and Pakistan), Myanmar (Burma), and Sri Lanka (Ceylon) although they can be found in other areas around the world.
Sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September. It is the gemstone for the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries. Sapphire symbolizes a pledge of loyalty and trust.
Emeralds have been prized for thousands of years. It is the gemstone that is the “green of greens” in color. There is evidence that emeralds were sold in Babylonian markets over 5000 years ago. It was an emerald that was one of the four precious stones given to King Solomon by God. Egypt was home to the first emerald mine and owned by one of the most famous ancient Egyptian queens, Cleopatra, over 2000 years ago. Cleopatra loved emeralds so much that when nobility would visit her, she would give each person an emerald ambulate that was etched with a picture of her face on it so that when they returned home, they would look at this stone and she would be immortalized forever.
It takes between 15-100 million years for an emerald crystal to form. Most all emeralds will have black spots or a “Jardin” or “garden” inside. If the stone does not have a “Jardin” then it might not be a real emerald. When cutting or setting a stone, care must be taken because if you accidentally hit the “Jardin” the wrong way, add heat to it, etc., then that one stone may now become several stones.
Depending on where emeralds come from, they can have a yellow-green cast or a bluish-green cast. Columbia produces 50-95% of the worlds’ emeralds. These emeralds will have more of the yellow-green cast compared to emeralds from Zambia which will have more of the bluish-green cast. Emeralds have also been mined in Brazil and North Carolina.
Emerald belongs to the beryl family as do morganite and aquamarine. It is a 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs scale so you need to be a little careful with emeralds.
Emerald is the birthstone for May and is the anniversary stone for the 20th, 35th, and 55th wedding anniversaries.
Expert Tips For Shopping For Precious Gemstones
In any of these 3 gemstones, color should be the first thing you look for. Then look for transparency and clarity. It has become the norm for gemstones to be subjected to “treatments” to enhance their color, sparkle, and shine. IF they have been treated, that should be noted in your certificate that comes with the piece. Just make sure you buy from a reputable source and use the above tips to help make your purchase.
Wear these gemstones in good health and enjoy them!