Ruby is famous for its intense red color. Its hardness (9 on Mohs scale) and durability make it the perfect choice for all kinds of jewelry, even the ones typically prone to damage from everyday wear, such as rings or bracelets. The only gemstone harder than ruby is diamond.
It's one of the gem varieties of the mineral corundum, sapphire being another one. The two differ by the impurities present in the mineral, and, as a result, by their color.
Ruby's value is dependent on its quality, color and carat weight. Big, high-quality specimens can be extremely expensive - their price can go up to several thousand USD per carat. Large, transparent rubies are particularly rare. Synthetic rubies also exist, and are sometimes used as a substitute for naturally occurring gemstones; of course, natural ruby's price is much higher, compared to synthetic versions.
Some rubies that have inclusions display a quality called asterism when polished, where a star-like reflection of light can be observed. Clear, transparent rubies that display asterism are very highly valued.
Some of the countries that produce rubies are Thailand, Myanmar, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, India, and others.
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