Ruby comes from the latin word ruber meaning red
Rubies are probably the rarest of the four main precious stones and are red in colour. They belong to the gem species called corundum which has only one other group, sapphire. They occur in mines and alluvial deposits in conjunction with various semi-precious stones.
Rubies have always has a superstition attached to them because they are a the colour of blood, and in Far East where they are mainly found they are considered to enhance the wearer's divinity and protect him/her aginst force and illness. Ruby gemstones are valued according to size colour cut and clarity. Unlike most gemstones, rubies do not occur in large sizes and stones of the finest colour and clarity seldom weigh more than a few carats. A 5ct stone of top quality is considered of importance, and over 10ct, a great rarity.
The finest stones come from the mines in the Mogok area of Burma where they have been mined for centuries. These stones are of a beautiful bright red, often referred to as 'pigeons blood' red. Although Thailand is next door to Burma, tthe rubies of that country are not the same colour and quality, tending to be darker, often with a brownish tinge, and commonly reffered to as Siam rubies, to differentiate quality. Rubies are found all over the Indian subcontinent, and Sri Lanka (ceylon) in particular produces a large quantity from the Ratnapura area. However, they tend to be pale and pinkish, and are not used a great deal in western jewellery. Although are the main sources, reports have appeared of gem quality being found in Africa, but not of significance size.