Ruby is the red variety of corundum and it is the second hardest gem known to the world, preceded only by the diamond and it owes its characteristic color from traces of chromium. The most desirable color gradient on the global market is defined, with a commercial term, “pigeon blood”, consisting of a highly saturated red, but the presence of traces of other chemical elements, such as iron and magnesium, may generate very strong purple colors from red to red-orange with varying degrees of hue and saturation. Until the 90s of the last century, stones having an orange hue were not considered ruby, but just fancy corundum, however the discovery and exploitation of mining in Africa allow the market to open in this direction.
Traditionally, ruby represents values such as love, passion, romance and success and has always been the hero of myths and legends: the ancient Indians believed that it possessed an inner fire that would have the power to ensure a long life, while in the Middle Ages it was believed it had divine powers and that its color could dim according to misfortunes.
The most famous mining are in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tanzania, Madagascar, China and Vietnam, however, those deemed of highest quality comes from the mines of Mogok, Myanmar (Burma).
One of the most important examples is the Carmen Lúcia Ruby, the largest faceted Burmese ruby, now preserved at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The gem extracted from the mines of Mogok in 1930 weighs 23.10 carats and has a combination of outstanding characteristics: a homogeneous and very saturated red color and an extraordinary level of transparency.