Discovering Ruby

Of the 3 precious colored gemstones, which include ruby, sapphire and emerald, ruby and sapphire are actually considered to be the same material and are part of a gemstone family called corundum.  Of all of the varieties of color in sapphire, which can be found as colorless, pink, purple, green, orange, yellow, padparadscha (orangy pink) and most popularly, blue sapphire, the  red variation of sapphire is called Ruby.

Rubies can be found in a number of locations around the world, and the country of origin can play a large role in the value of a ruby. Today most people consider Burmese rubies  to be the most desirable, while rubies are also found around the world in places such as Thailand, Tanzania, Sri Lank, Madagascar, the United States, Brazil and Pakistan.

Ruby is a very hard material and ranks at a number 9 on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness, where diamond ranks as the hardest gemstone at 10 on the scale.

Ruby colors incorporate many hues of secondary colors as well including, purple, pink, orange and brown, while the more pure the red, the more valuable the ruby.

When buying a ruby, one should take into consideration the color as the most important factor.  Clarity is secondary to color in rubies to a certain degree, but if the ruby is full of unsightly inclusions it can drastically take away from the value and desirability.

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A new source of high-quality blue sapphires has been unearthed in Thammannawa, a small village located in south eastern Sri Lanka. This new source has led to an increase mining and exploration in the surrounding area and all of the country.  The source is producing well-formed sapphire crystals that have good transparency and a pure blue color that is characteristic of sapphires of the highest quality, such as Kashmir.  Of the several pounds of rough material that have been produced so far, there have been some crystals weighing over 200 grams! The resulting gems are sapphires of fine blue color with a few weighing 20 plus carats.

The first to discover the sapphires was a truck driver working on a local road reconstruction, when he noticed certain shiny pebbles glittering in the gravel while working in the area. After stopping the truck to see what the pebbles were he thought they may have some value, filled 2 sacs full and abandoned his truck.  Word quickly spread and thousands of people rushed to the site and began hauling away bags full of the newly laid gravel and soil.

Primitive mining lasted only a day or two until the area was secured by the local authorities, police and the National Gem & Jewellery Authority (or NGJA, the agency responsible for protecting sources of gems found on federal lands.)

The NGJA and laboratories soon verified the gems to be fine quality sapphires and available in commercial quantities, which has revived exploration and gem mining activities in this southeast region of Sri Lanka, which was previously know to contain only garnet. Mining in the auctioned lands is progressing quickly, and the collected gravel is still being washed.  So far only a limited amount of sapphire material has been mounted into jewelry, but with the amounts and qualities being produced, we should expect to see more to come soon.

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Welcome to Jewelry Appraisers of America!

Welcome to Jewelry Appraisers of America Blog!

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