An expensive and prized gemstone mesmerizing many over the ages, the ruby is a preferred choice of royalty. The name "ruby" stems from the Latin ruber, meaning "red."
Highly treasured, rubies are generally smaller in size than other gemstones, adding to their rarity. Amongst the toughest gemstones, rubies rate 9th on the Moh hardness scale, second only to diamonds. While Burma is the world's premier supplier of the finest rubies, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Kampuchea and Africa are also leading suppliers. Owing to their varied geographical sources, rubies have different colors and qualities.
Burmese rubies are clear red, while Thai rubies range from dark to brownish-red in hue. Light-toned rubies originate from Sri Lanka, while African rubies display a reddish-purple color. Synthetic rubies are almost identical to their original counterparts, making them extremely difficult to detect. Synthetic rubies, however, are often devoid of any inclusions, while natural rubies always exhibit flaws. Although large rubies can be very rare and expensive, their prices reflect their color, clarity and brilliance.