Ruby: Internally Illuminated Pigeon Blood


The highly prized rubies from Burma are mainly colored by chromium (with no tangible iron) giving them the distinctive blood-red hue, from which derives the term ‘pigeon’s blood’, describing the most sought-after and valuable stones. The presence of chromium as the sole coloring agent in a gemstone often gives rise to a strong fluorescence. In the case of Burmese rubies this fluorescence exhibits itself even in artificial light, which, being strong in the red end of the spectrum causes the stone to ‘sing’ with the appearance of internal illumination.

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