The Rubyists are Wrong

There's something that's been bugging me for a long time that I need to get off my chest. Some of you may hate me for it, but perhaps there are others out there with the same complaint, silently in agony, wishing for death to take the pain away. It's time to set the record straight, and prove once and for all that the Rubyists are wrong.

Rubies are almost NEVER cut like this:

The cut shown here is what's called a "brilliant" cut (though it's not faceted enough...artistic license), or more specifically a "round brilliant". Brilliant is typically a diamond cut, and something like 75% of the world's diamonds are cut this way. The shape and angles of the facets are all mathematically designed to refract as much light as possible out the top of the diamond, resulting in the "brilliant" sparkling you see. This is possible because the most popular diamonds are CLEAR. Get it? It's clear so light passes through it. It's not RED. So it's cut in a way that takes advantage of it being CLEAR.

Rubies, on the other hand, are generally cut into ovals or "cushions" but also into some other cuts like "emeralds" (the most common cut for emeralds, in case it wasn't obvious), rectangles, or hearts (ugh). If they show an asterism (a "star" of four or six points due to the ruby's crystal structure) they're usually cut into cabochons, which are shaped but not faceted. Rubies are NOT typically cut into "brilliant" shapes.

See that one in the JRuby logo? That was a public-domain SVG graphic of a diamond that Tom Enebo colored red. A DIAMOND. Oh yeah, and we're wrong too. BTW, here's the Wikipedia article on ruby (the gemstone). Search for "brilliant". Yeah, I didn't think so.

Even the Ruby Association (of whose board Matz himself is chairman) has made the mistake of choosing this brilliant-shaped logo.

We can't really tell how the ruby in the RubyForge logo is cut, since it seems to just be a red hexagon. But I bet it's a hexagonal BRILLIANT cut again.

I don't even know what that is. It's like a brilliant cut with a dome on top of it. Maybe it was designed that way so you could fit "Ruby Inside" inside it. But it's definitely not something you're going to see in a jewelry store.

And there are lots more examples. Check your favorite Ruby project. If they have a ruby in the logo, it's probably a "brilliant" cut. And I think that proves once and for all that we Rubyists aren't as brilliant as we think.

Update: It turns out the Pythonistas are wrong too. Is there no sanity left in the world?
Written on April 29, 2008