Corundum Gemstones..

Ruby & Sapphire Gemstones.

The Corundum Gemstone.

About elegant corundum gemstones where ruby and sapphire are 2 variants of they have been mined in India and elsewhere for hundreds of years. Corundum gemstones are better known to everyone under the name of sapphire and ruby.

Sapphire Ruby Corundum Gemstone Bracelet.

Sapphire Ruby Corundum Gemstone Bracelet.

Sapphire & Ruby Cabochon.

Pink Sapphire

Pink Sapphire Cabochon polished.

Ruby Rings traditional Myanmar style.

Physically the mineral is an oxide of aluminum which is next to diamond in terms of hardness and is one of the reasons to be mined for abrasive purposes too.

Corundum family: which are sapphire & rubies plus jadeite jade.

The ruby & sapphire stones consist of aluminum oxide and other elements that make the different colors. The more chrome a gem contains the more vivid it is, rubies contain plenty of chrome and that is what produces their blood-red color. Pink sapphires do have not so much chrome so the red is different. Iron is the trace element producing that true blue color that sapphires are famous for but as with most other raw jade & gemstones it comes from "mother earth".

The name ruby is used for red corundum gemstone gems and for all other colors the name sapphire is used and from that side the intense blue and pink have the highest value all others such as purple green yellow colorless and in between as sapphire.

Colors Of Corundum Gemstones:

When the diverse range of colors to be found among the corundum gems is considered it is remarkable and surely must have seemed so to the ancients that they are all one and the same mineral. In fact no other gemstone except perhaps tourmaline (which is actually a group of related mineral species) displays such a high range of colors. From pigeon's-blood red (ruby definition) to cornflower blue almost the only color not found is true emerald green although a less intense olive green is often encountered. But who knows possibly someday a lucky miner will unearth this 'missing link' too! The reason for the broad range of colors in corundum concerns its chemistry. Corundum is composed of aluminum oxide (Al203) which in its pure state is completely colorless. However pure corundum is rarely encountered in nature. Instead, a small number of impurity metals may individually or together replace aluminum atoms in the crystal structure thus imparting color.

Beryl and tourmaline are also colored by impurities a state termed `chromaticity'. In contrast, idiochromatic' minerals are those that are colored by essential elements in their chemical make-up and so occur only in one basic color. Turquoise is an example of the latter always being found in the blue-green hue for which it is famous. In synthetic corundum a number of different dopants have been found to be useful in producing different colors but with natural corundum the number is rather limited. There is still much to be learned regarding the true causes of color in corundum, but in many cases a fairly clear picture has emerged. Most varieties of corundum appear to be colored by a peculiar group of elements termed 'transition elements', which are responsible for the color of a number of different creations of nature besides minerals. These elements lie at the center of the periodic table and are peculiar because their electron structure contains inner unpaired 'free' electrons which can be excited, or elevated to higher energy levels by absorbing this is different from raw jadeite.

Ruby Deposits

Ruby Deposits.

Myanmar Ruby Jewelry.

Myanmar Ruby Jewelry.

Ruby Deposits Collected.

Ruby Deposits Collected.

The deposits have rubies and blue sapphires pink yellow green white plus the famous padparadscha version in attractive qualities and sizes. In recent years Thai businesses have invested heavily especially because of the situation in Myanmar which was the main source before but because of political reasons become less attractive.

Responsible trace elements for the colors are:

Among the responsible elements for the colors of sapphire & all other corundum gems are chromium iron titanium vanadium manganese and copper. These are the major elements of gemstone coloration and are responsible for the colors of ruby sapphire emerald alexandrite tanzanite tsavorite and a plethora of other important gem materials such as jadeite.

Why Colors?

To look into the interactions of these elements with corundum we must first examine the mechanism of color itself. White light or sunlight is made up of a balanced mixture of all the different spectral colors such as violet indigo blue green yellow orange and red. An object or material does not really possess color itself; green the color is merely a perception based upon a complex interaction between the light source of the object and our eyes. White and black are not spoken of as colors in the true sense of the word. Instead, the sensation of white is created by equal amounts of all the wavelengths of colored light, from 400 to 700 nm striking the eye. Black is simply a lack of any visible light reaching the eye. An object appears colored because of its selective absorption of visible light. This is the manner by which it absorbs some wavelengths or color while freely transmitting or reflecting others. The actual color we see depends on our eyes' interaction with the wavelengths which strike the eye and is often the complementary color of the light absorbed. In the simplest terms, grass appears green because, when white light falls upon it all colors are absorbed except green; or, of the colors not absorbed, a green sensation is produced when they strike the eye together. If the grass was illuminated with a red light it would appear black because the red light is absorbed by it; thus, no visible light reaches the eye. To someone who is color blind, the grass would appear red when illuminated by white light because of a lack of green-sensitive optical components, or cones, in the eye. From these examples we can see that the grass appears green not just because of the way it absorbs light but also because of the physiology of our eyes and of equal importance the spectral composition of the light source by which it is illuminated. With this in mind we will now look at specific situations in corundum

Other main deposits are Sri Lanka and a rather new source is Madagascar with large sources of high quality corundum were discovered in 1998. The result was a kind of stampede as thousands of people started to try their luck.

Even considering the fact that the major gem mining areas in Burma (Mogok and Mong Hsu) are not far off from the border and this business is mainly done by smuggling anyway.

Currently the run is after pink sapphire (corundum) and no wonder because this gemstones is exactly what the ladies are after.

When pink diamonds surfaced via some celebrities such as Madonna and Jenifer Lopez many women wanted the same sparkler from the Argyle Mine in Australia. But they are very expensive so the ship went to pink sapphires in the lower price segment. That for sure made sense because nobody (besides of some specialists) can really find out the optical difference between these two gemstones.

The hardness of corundum gemstones is 9 on the "moh's scale" which brings them very close to diamonds. This was very visible in recent years when women were very excited about pink diamonds and many actually bought excellent pink sapphire sold as diamonds. The fact is if one is not a gem specialist he / she hardly will see the difference.

On top of it, most high end jewelry shops have special lights installed which visually enhance the “pretty things”. This is one of the reason why when buying gemstones always have a look at them outside in the natural daylight. This similarities also made them very popular and raised prices.

Also the facts are that this are finally all fashion items the women wear them a while and after they change them for something new. That's a good idea anyway because this way money get into circulation and some jewelry shops earn a fortune. Keep in mind in this business the most money the seller are making.

Corundum is a "Sanskrit "word.

Corundum is a "Sanskrit "word while sapphire is derived from the ancient Greek word for blue, lapis-lazuli seems to have some significance in this. It needs to consider that most of this colored stones got realignment in the 19th Century when people were able to determine the real nature of the minerals after analyzing instruments got invented to figure out “what is what’. A typical example is that was defined spinel as rubies and changed at that time.

A Ruby got its name from the Latin word rubber meaning "red" it was also applied to any similar colored gemstone and was attached to corundum in the 19th Century when the gems were introduced from India to Europe during the medieval times the exact identity was unknown and they were frequently confused with the mineral species spinel actually even the British Crown has several spinel attached which were fixed as rubies.

The corundum group of precious stones has probably the widest spectrum of colors. From the white transparent variants which look a bit like diamonds to vibrant red rubies and brilliant blue of the sapphires sapphire, in between are pink, yellow and orange colored stones. Perfect Rubies can achieve the highest values which were categorized as “pigeon blood” color in old Burma. Since there are not so many pigeon around to check their blood color it would be enough to think about simple human blood. Actually beside of the color the other top values are the clarity and size.

On the other hand inclusions and impurities have amazing effects inside sapphire stones and ruby such as star effects. It needs a lot of expertise to get the star in the right position in the center. Another effect is the cat's eye where only one line is displayed on the cabochons.

Clarity is very important because one of the main problems with the red stone is the inclusions which make an ugly shine. Most of them have heavy inclusions which make the gems not looking good. This is an old phenomenon already known since ancient times when miners took the pretty stones into an oven and heated them up.

The effect was and is that from a certain temperature on the inclusions melt away this is called “heat treatment” and is the subject of heated discussions since some people call it a cheat and others a necessity. Actually it won’t be a matter of concern but many crooks take substandard rubies and manipulate them into new heights making a 1000 $ stone out of a 20 $ one as long as this process is told to the buyer and considered in the price there is no problem but most dealers won’t do that and sell it as natural ruby which is not the case.

Today the stones are also synthetically manufactured, they are effectively corundum, although they don’t have crystal form the physical properties are similar to the natural stone. The easiest to find out what is natural and what is lab-created is to have a look with a magnifying lens, that means are these inclusions? If yes, the stone is probably natural. Is it perfectly clear it comes from the oven they call it heats treated.

Since people always have new ideas, today (2021) they have no problem to including the impurities artificially to make it perfect it shows gemstone business is not easy there are many traps to fall into and it could cost a lot of money.


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