What is natural ruby?

This post, based on something I wrote for Helium back in 2011, was first blogged here in 2013. However, it’s a natural tie-in to yesterday’s post about chromium.

The loose gemstone that Alfred the butler described to Master Bruce in The Dark Knight as “a ruby the size of a tangerine” would have been much less interesting had he been talking about “a lump of aluminum oxide with some chromium in it.”

English: Ruby and Kyanite Locality: Winza, Mpw...

Ruby and Kyanite Locality: Winza, Mpwapwa, Mpwapwa District, Dodoma region, Tanzania Exquisite, lustrous and gemmy ruby crystals in matrix, measuring up to 2 cm, together with small, blue crystals of kyanite. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Guest Video: Natural vs. Imitation New Mexican Turquoise

Turquoise made headlines recently when researchers discovered that Mesoamericans had more than one source for this gem that they valued highly. Not all of it came from the Southwest!

However, visitors to New Mexico and other parts of the American Southwest today do see a lot of turquoise. If you’re heading there on vacation, here is a video that shows you what to look for in a turquoise shop.

Featured image: Mr.TinDC, CC BY-ND 2.0