The origin of a ruby can have a big impact on its appraisal.
In general, though, the rule is simple: there’s Burma ruby and there’s everything else.
Although fine ruby can occur in any corundum mine, rubies from Myanmar (formerly Burma) are famous for their top-color traffic-light-red hues.
Since these rubies form with little iron in them to suppress their fluorescence, they appear to glow.
For Burmese rubies, be sure to have a reputable laboratory confirm their origin.
In sizes under two carats, unenhanced stones from Myanmar can command prices two to three times that of a heat-treated stone from other sources.
Larger unenhanced rubies can command much higher prices, up to ten times more than heat-treated rubies of similar size.
Heat-treated material from Myanmar commands a more modest price bump of about 25% above material from other sources.
However, rubies from novel sources like Montana can sell for somewhat higher prices due to their rarity.
Myanmar (Burma) Ruby historically comes from the Mogok stone tract.
The history of the mines here is long, complex, and turbulent. Gems occur in a gravel layer called byon at a depth of 20 to 100 feet.
Miners recover them by washing and screening with broad screens, then handpicking promising pebbles. Corundum originates in metamorphic marbles that have largely weathered away. This is the source of the world’s finest rubies.
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