Bitterroot Gem & Mineral Club

Bitterroot Gem & Mineral Society of Montana

Bitterroot Gem & Mineral Society of Montana

Bitterroot Gem & Mineral Society of MontanaBitterroot Gem & Mineral Society of Montana

hope ruby


Queen's burmese ruby Tiara


Ruby - By Wayne farley

 The Hope Ruby – The most expensive cushion-shaped ruby ring weighing 32.08 carats and had a recorded auction price of $6.74 million. The auctioned price was the highest ever price for a ruby sold at auction.  

 Burmese Ruby Tiara – Queen Elizabeth commissioned this tiara from Garrard & Co in 1973 using the rubies and diamonds in her private collection. A total of 96 rubies are set into the  tiara. The rubies were a wedding present by the Burmese people, after whom the tiara was named.    

“Ruby:Known as "Ratnaraj" in Sanskrit, the Ruby is known as the "King of Gemstones". It is associated with strong emotions like passion, love, power and anger in human beings.” (Reveti, Ref-1) Ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, and a variety of the mineral Corundum (Al2O3).The red color is caused mainly due to the presence of the element Chromium. Ruby has a hardness of 9, a specific gravity (SG) of 3.97-4.05, and a hexagonal (trigonal) crystal system. Ruby gets its name from ‘ruber and rubin', meaning Latin for red. It has a similar origin like the Sapphire. The Ruby is considered one of the four precious stones, together with sapphire, emerald. (Reveti, Ref-1) Ruby is one of the most historically significant colored stones and mentioned four times in the Bible, in association with attributes like beauty and wisdom. In the first century AD, the Roman scholar Pliny included rubies in his Natural History, describing their hardness and density. Ruby retained its importance with the birth of the western world and became one of the most sought after gems of European royalty and the upper classes. Many medieval Europeans wore rubies to guarantee health, wealth, wisdom, and success in love. (Reveti, Ref-1) Early cultures treasured rubies for their similarity to the redness of the blood that flowed through their veins, and believed that rubies held the power of life. Blood is symbolized with a Ruby's color and compared to the "blood from the right ventricle" or the first two drops of blood from a freshly killed pigeon. Hence the term "pigeon's blood" this describes the red to slightly purplish or pinkish red color of rubies with a soft, glowing, red fluorescence. (Reveti, Ref-1) Ruby is considered as a 'Hot' gemstone unlike sapphire which is considered as a 'Cold' gemstone even though both are types of Corundum. Ruby is the birthstone for July. It represents the 40th anniversary and ought to be worn by individuals with Leo as their zodiac sign, or if the sun`s position is weak in their horoscope. It is helpful for highly ambitious people to enjoy immense wealth, political fame and power. Rubies should be worn on the left side of the physique as rings, a bracelets, or brooches for maximum effect. (Reveti, Ref-1)
 Rubies have always been held in high esteem in Asian countries. It is considered as one of the most precious of the 12 stones created by God and supposed to represent the Sun and our soul. The gemstones were used to ornament armor, scabbards, and harnesses of noblemen in India and China. Rubies were laid beneath the foundation of buildings to secure good fortune to the structure. Ancient Hindus believed that those who offered fine rubies to Lord Krishna were granted rebirth as emperors. Indians believed that rubies enabled their owners to live in peace with their enemies. In Burma (a ruby source since at least 600 AD-now called Myanmar), warriors possessed rubies to make them invincible in battle. They had to insert them into their flesh and make them part of their bodies. During the Qing dynasty, the highest rank achievable by a 'Mandarin', the governor of a Chinese province, was signified by wearing a hat-pin made of ruby. The lower ranks were signified by hat-pins made of coral, sapphire, lapis lazuli, white jade, gold, and silver. (Reveti, Ref-1) A red Ruby (Manimya / Manik) helps to cure peptic ulcer, fever, rheumatism, and gout. Ladies should wear Ruby set in Gold to enhance body luster. (Reveti, Ref-1) Reveti also has the following sections:  

1.  How to Choose A Ruby?  

2.  Ruby Shapes and Varieties 

3.  Ruby Characteristics 

4.  Famous Ruby Gemstones   

                                            Where are Natural Rubies Found:   

The MogokValley in Upper Myanmar(Burma) was for centuries the world's main source for rubies. That region has produced some very fine rubies, but in recent years few good rubies have been found there. In central Myanmar, the area of Mong Hsu began producing rubies during the 1990s and rapidly became the world's main ruby mining area. The most recently found ruby deposit in Myanmar is in Namya (Namyazeik) located in the northern state of Kachin. Historically, rubies have also been mined in Thailand, in the Pailinand Samlout District of Cambodia, as well as in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, India, Namibia, Japan, and Scotland; after the Second World War ruby deposits were found in Madagascar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Vietnam.[10]In Sri Lanka, lighter shades of rubies (often "pink sapphires") are more commonly found. Republic of Macedonia is the only country in mainland Europe to have naturally occurring rubies. They can mainly be found around the city of Prilep. Macedonian ruby has a unique raspberry color. The ruby is also included on the Macedonian Coat of Arms.  A few rubies have been found in the U.S. states of MT, NC, SCand WY. (Wikipedia, Ref-8) 

                                      Ruby Mineralogy, Geology, and Mining:  

 Geological Engineer, Rafal Swiecki, has extensive coverage on his web-site covering ruby mineralogy, geology, and mining from sites around the world. There is a final section on ruby simulates/synthetics.(Swiecki, Ref-9)  

                                       Synthetic, Imitation & Treated Rubies  

The titled subjects are also covered extensively in the Michael O’Donoghue book “Synthetic, Imitation & Treated Gemstones” (O’Donoghue, Ref-10) 

                                    Latest Book on Ruby Standards & Quality 

“Secrets of the Gem Trade” (Wise, Ref-11) states why Burma Ruby is still the standard for world class rubies, and explains the qualities of those rubies that make it the best. 

                                                              Montana Rubies:  

Rubies are occasionally found in the sapphire beds of Montana. In the book “Gems & Precious Stones of North America” by George Frederick Kunz,1968, page 49; Kunz mentions two unusual gem corundum's from early mining on the Eldorado Bar that are now in the Amherst College Collection, one a true ruby-red and the other a sapphire-blue. Poor qualities colored pictures of the faceted stones are show on Plate-1 of the Kunz book. (Kunz, Ref-3) 

In the book “Rockhounding Montana” by Montana Hodges, 2016, (Ref-4) Ruby is indicated to occur at: 

1. Gem Mountain Sapphires on Rock Creek 

2. Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine on the Missouri River NE of Helena,and   

3. Red Rock Mine Garnets between Alder and Virginia City. The ruby crystals found at Red Rock Mine Garnets are called ruby-corundum, and are opaque. 

Opaque ruby-corundum also occurs on the Sweetwater Road, along with garnets, several miles west of the abandoned Anderson Ranch buildings, where a small stream crosses the road. Ruby-corundum has been found in the Sweetwater roadbed and in the stream bed. The land north of the Sweetwater Road, where the ruby-corundum crystals are found, is private ranch land, and collecting there is not permitted. The 511 page book “ruby & sapphire” by Richard Hughes, covers every aspect of the mineral corundum (ruby & sapphire). On page 50; Hughes shows an excellent colored picture of a ruby crystal found in the sapphire deposits along the Missouri River NE of Helena. (Hughes, Ref-5)   


1.    Reveti:   


3.   Kunz, George Frederick: “Gems & Precious Stones of North America”, 1969  

4.   Hodges, Montana: “Rockhounding Montana”, 2016   

5.   Hughes, Richard: “ruby & sapphire”, 1997    

6.   Ward, Fred: “Rubies & Sapphires”, 1995   

7.   O’Donoghue, Michael: “Gems”, 2016   

8.   Wikipedia: June 2017  

9.   Swiecki, Rafal, 2011:   

10.  O’Donoghue, Michael: “Synthetic, Imitation & Treated Gemstones”, 1997 

11.  Wise, Richard W., “Secrets of the Gem Trade”, second edition, 1916 

Montana rubies