What is the Chemical Composition of Ruby and Sapphire?

Posted on April 26th, 2024 05:29 PM

Ruby and sapphire are the most popular gemstones from the corundum mineral family. Both of these stones originate beneath the earth’s surface and exhibit the same chemical formula, which is aluminum oxide. Though they have the same chemical composition, they differ in color, which makes them distinct gems. Understanding the chemical composition of these gems is important to highlight the fact that these two are different stones from a similar mineral family. Let's elaborate on them one by one: 

What is Ruby made up of?

Ruby chemical formula is Al2O3 and is known as manik ratna in Hindi. It is the crystalline form of aluminum oxide in which two aluminum atoms and three oxygen atoms are closely packed in a hexagonal crystal. The corundum mineral, along with these atoms, also contains trace elements like iron, titanium, vanadium, and chromium. These trace elements are responsible for giving color to the stone. The ruby color is due to the presence of chromium, which replaces the aluminum ions, giving the crystal red color.  

Formation of Ruby 

The formation of manik ratna involves geological conditions and specific chemical interactions. The chemical composition of ruby and sapphire takes place in the metamorphic environment under high pressure and temperature conditions. Generally, ruby rocks are schist and igneous rocks. The highest quality of this precious gemstone is marble. When high heat and pressure inside the earth's crust force these metamorphic rocks to come into contact with limestone deposits, the formation of the gemstone begins. Top-quality manikya stone contains low iron and high chromium, resulting in intense red-colored gems.  

formation of ruby

What is sapphire made of?

Like rubies, sapphires also have the same chemical formula, Al2O3. Obtained from the same mineral family, corundum, it is the hardest gemstone after diamond. Sapphires are distinguished from rubies in color, as the former is not found in red while the latter is only found in red. Trace elements like iron and titanium are responsible for giving sapphires the classic blue color. There are other elements that also play an important role in providing different shades of sapphire.  

Formation of Sapphire 

They are formed when limestone and metamorphic rocks containing less silica and more aluminum interact. During this process, if a trace element comes in, it gives color to the stone. For instance, if iron is present, yellow sapphire is formed, whereas if vanadium is found, it is purple sapphire. Blue sapphire stone is formed within the igneous rocks. The environmental conditions, such as changes in temperature and pressure, also contribute to the striking color of the stone. 

Gemological importance of the chemical composition of ruby and sapphire 

Knowing the chemical composition of gemstones is essential for gemologists as well as buyers. This is because the chemical makeup of the stones directly influences their color, clarity, and hardness. Analyzing factors such as the relationship between the presence of trace elements and color intensity gives gemologists an idea about the quality of the stone. Let's see what other factors highlight the importance of a gemstone's chemical composition.  

  • Differences between synthetic and natural stones 

Synthetic manik or sapphires are artificially created in laboratories. They mimic the chemical composition and color of the original gemstones. For instance, synthetic rubies are formed by the Verneuil method, where powdered aluminum and chromium oxide are mixed together. The addition of trace elements further in the process gives color to the stones. The formation of natural gems is a result of changes inside the earth's crust. Thus, by deep analysis of the chemical composition of ruby and sapphire, gemologists are able to find out the difference between real and fake stones. 

  • Astrological importance of original ratnas

Knowing the chemical composition of gems is important, as they work astrologically only when they are natural. In Vedic astrology, it is believed that only natural stones harness cosmic energy. The chemical makeup of these gems stresses the fact that they contain the energy of nature’s elements, such as air, water, fire, earth, and space. This energy is well transmitted to an individual who either uses it for meditation purposes or wears it as jewelry. For instance, wearing an original Manik stone stimulates the root chakra. This chakra is associated with the earth element and thus helps the person stay grounded. Thus, it can be said that understanding the chemical composition of stones is important to find out their relationship between energy and its effect on the human body. 

To conclude, knowing the chemical composition of ruby and sapphire is important to understand their identification and astrological value. Though they come from the same mineral family, the presence of different trace elements gives them different colors. Moreover, their composition entails their individuality, whether they are obtained from the earth's crust or created in the lab. 

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