How to Mine Rubies

By Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor
Ruby is the birthstone for July.

Rubies are mined all over the world, yet the most prized specimens come from India where they have been mined for thousands of years. Considered the king of gems, rubies inspire love and affection with their deep red to burgundy color. Today, many rubies are lab created and not considered as prized as earth-mined gems.

Locate an area that has known ruby deposits. Ruby deposits are common in India, Thailand and Vietnam. In the United States, star rubies can be mined in and around North Carolina.

Prepare for a dirty job. Wear old clothes to the mine, as most of the time will be spent sifting through mound after mound of dirt. Gloves are recommended.

Bring along an immersion tray. This is a simple box with low sides.

Place a sufficient amount of dirt into the tray and cover the soil with water. Swirl this solution around to separate the loose dirt from the solid rocks and rubies. Scrub the dirt deposits from any of the larger rocks found. Rinse carefully in running water to wash away remaining dirt. Continue this process until all of the dirt has been washed away and only rock remains in the tray.

Inspect the remaining rocks. Look at each cleaned rock carefully. Identify any areas of the rocks that exhibit a reddish, purple color. Have a gemologist examine the specimens to determine their exact composition.

Tip

Be patient. Mining rubies takes some time. Be prepared to devote an entire day to sloshing around in gritty mud. Look more closely at the rocks. Often where there are rubies, there are sapphires as well.

Warning

Never try to remove the suspected ruby from the rock it is in. Mined rubies can be fragile and must be removed carefully.