Corundum is a durable mineral of aluminum oxide. There are two classifications of gemstones within this family. The sapphire encompasses every color but red, which leaves that for the ruby. It may be surprising to learn that these two seemingly different stones are actually the same. The difference is the trace amounts of chrome which account for the shades of red.
Where are they found?
For historical purposes, India is well known for its rubies as well as its adoration of the gemstone. An exceptionally beautiful stone was received with all the pomp and circumstance of royalty as it was brought into the city and to the ruler.
However, that was then. Today, the most significant deposits come from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Other parts of Asia also contribute to the world’s supply such as Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
A classic expression of love and affection is a red ruby heart pendant and Ruby chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Accompanied with a box of chocolates, a red rose or two and a card, it is a slam dunk gift.
But, Valentine’s Day is not the only occasion where a ruby necklace makes a great gift. The rich red gemstone is also the birthstone for July and the designated gem for commemorating the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.
A bit of Valentine’s Day history
February 14th was declared Valentine’s Day by Pope Gelasius in 498 A.D. Of the various legends surrounding the evolution of the holiday, there is one that really stands out. Around 270 A.D., the Roman Emperor Claudius II banned the marriage of soldiers because he believed that family distracted them from the duties.
Valentine was a priest who secretly continued to marry couples until he was caught and imprisoned for defying the Emperor. He died in prison and February 14th was possibly the date of his burial.
The first recorded Valentine card was sent by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife from his cell in the Tower of London in 1415. This card is now held in the British Library. Over the years, the holiday progressed from sending love notes to tokens of affection. Jewelry became a popular token of affection and in particular the decadent red ruby pendant.
Caring for the jewelry
All members of the corundum family rank 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness which means it is a very strong mineral. As a result, the ruby gemstone is easy to care for and can be worn every day in any kind of setting.
For cleaning, soak the ruby pendant or other piece in warm soapy water and scrub with a toothbrush if necessary. It is also safe to clean in an ultrasonic or use a steamer. But, because some stones have been heat-treated to bring out a richer color, so limit the exposure to extreme heat.
Whether on Valentine’s Day, birthday or wedding anniversary, a ruby heart pendant is always a beautiful expression of love and adoration. Like true love, this gemstone can withstand the test of time.