Tuesday, April 29, 2008

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?


  1. Best baiting blog title I've seen in a long time. ;-)

    Also, as the creator of the RubyForge logo, let me set the record straight: it's just a shiny, pretty red hexagon. No brilliant-cut faux pas intended, I promise.

  2. Let me say first of all I find it kind of gay that you even know the names of the gem cuts. Second, I believe that you can cut a ruby however you like, who the hell cares if it is typical or not.

  3. justin mullins:

    Let me tell you that the fact that you do not know brilliant cuts is a sure sign that you never had a girlfriend ;)

  4. Man, cut it out! (pun sorta intended) It is kinda funny in a sorta lame way you can get bugged by this. But I guess we all geeks kinda have our funny pet peeves. Besides that there is prove already in the comments of rubies cut like that I must say that even if it was a ruby in the shape of a diamond it would still make sense to me since Ruby borrows so much from other languages. In any case, leave it be! It's so preeety! ;-)

  5. I designed the ruby-doc logo because I saw a way to merge the gem-shape with with the near-universal menu icon for "document".

    Not a proper ruby shape?

    Too bad! I think it's clever, so it wins.


    Actually, I had noticed that most Ruby logos used the diamond style cut, but when designing my logo I figured I should use a shape that, for better or worse, had acquired some iconic meaning to Rubyists.

    Observer that we are hackers, not gem cutters.

  6. amnit man, another great entry - i never thought about this!

    But now that you mentioned this... are pearls ever cut?

  7. Hmmn? Don't you peeps have something better to be doing?

    I kinda like the O'Reilly approach...ignore logos...assign meaningless critters.

  8. Don't have anything better to do?

  9. eh, you're just grumpy because your java got cold and bitter before you could drink it all.

  10. But isn't the language really called after a certain lady whose name one Ricky Wilson likes to repeat...?

  11. Seriously, get some sleep.

  12. The headline got me here because I thought someone was finally going to put into concise words why USING Ruby is wrong.

    How disappointing.

    Who really cares about the logo? lol

  13. Charles: I care. I'm really sorry the philistines above don't, but I do. As such, the Ruby Inside logo is now redesigned. It's not exactly a Ruby but I'm on your side here.

  14. Funny... you got me! I thought you were actually going to talk about the Ruby language. Nice, well laid out post though.

  15. You do know that the word 'ruby' also refers to a color.

  16. Ha, ha, ha, nice honey pot post :-D Anyway rubyst are not that wrong, I haven't ever seen a Camel shaped Perl, and lets not start talking a bout Duke ;-)

  17. Yep. It is truly fascinating how many things in our lives are based on incorrect 'knowledge'. It may not seem significant, but this stuff peculates up, and occasionally rears its head in the strangest of all places. You have to ask yourself: how much of what I 'know' is really correct? If you knew, you'd be surprised I think :-)