Sizzling red hot ruby!!! Could there be any better gemstone for a July birthday?
Rubies arouse the senses, stir the imagination, and are said to guarantee health, wisdom, wealth and success in love. It is harder than any natural gemstone except diamond, which means a ruby is a perfect stone for everyday wear.
Ruby is the most valuable variety of the corundum mineral species, which also includes sapphire. Rubies can command the highest per carat price of any colored stone. This makes ruby one of the most important gems in the colored stone market.
In its purest form, the mineral corundum is colorless. Trace elements that become part of the mineral’s crystal structure cause variations in its color. Chromium is the trace element that causes ruby’s red, which ranges from an orangy red to a purplish red. The strength of ruby’s red depends on how much chromium is present, the more chromium, the stronger the red color. Chromium can also cause fluorescence, which adds to the intensity of the red color.
The most renowned rubies, like those from Myanmar, the Himalayas, and northern Vietnam, typically form in marble. They’re found in layers that are distributed irregularly within the surrounding marble.
The color red exists deep in our psyche and triggers our most intense emotions like love and anger, passion and fury. It is often associated with objects of power and desire,like fast cars and red roses. Early cultures treasured rubies for their similarity to the redness of the blood that flowed through their veins, and believed that rubies held the power of life.
In the ancient language of Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj, or “king of precious stones.” In the Bible, only wisdom and virtuous women are “more precious than rubies.”
In the first century AD, the Roman scholar Pliny included rubies in his Natural History, describing their hardness and density. Ancient Hindus believed that those who offered fine rubies to the god Krishna were granted rebirth as emperors.
Hindus divided ruby into four castes, calling the true Oriental ruby a Brahmin. Someone in possession of a Brahmin was believed to have the advantage of perfect safety.
Ruby has accumulated a host of legends over the centuries. People in India believed that rubies enabled their owners to live in peace with their enemies. In Burma (a ruby source since at least 600 AD, now called Myanmar), warriors possessed rubies to make them invincible in battle. However, it wasn’t enough to just wear the rubies. They had to insert them into their flesh and make them part of their bodies.
The name ruby comes from the Latin word ruber, which means “red.” The glowing red of ruby suggested an inextinguishable flame burning in the stone, even shining through clothing and able to boil water.
Ruby retained its importance with the birth of the western world and became one of the most sought-after gems of European royalty and the upper classes. Many medieval Europeans wore rubies to guarantee health, wealth, wisdom, and success in love.
Templier Art deco ruby and diamond platinum ring, circa 1920, photo courtesy of 1st dibs.
An 18 karat gold rock crystal, ruby and diamond orchid brooch, circa 1970, photo courtesy of 1st dibs.
Retro ruby and diamond, tricolor gold bracelet, photo courtesy of 1st dibs.
Taffin ruby and diamond spider brooch, photo courtesy of Taffin.
Deakin & Francis sterling silver ruby and enamel cufflinks, photo courtesy of 1st dibs.
Art deco carved ruby ring, circa 1925, photo courtesy of Simon Teakle.
David Webb 18 karat gold, carved ivory and ruby cuff bracelet, circa 1960, photo courtesy of 1st dibs.
Van Cleef & Arpels invisibly set ruby and diamond “pavot” earrings, photo courtesy of Simon Teakle.
Ruby bead and gold necklaces, photo courtesy of Simon Teakle.
Polished bead strands are a jewelry essential. Truly. Decide on the best color for you (sapphire, emerald, tourmaline, citrine etc.) and you will find they are like pearls, you can wear them everyday. Truly.