Ruby - Not Just A Birthstone
July 10th, 2018
Posted In: Know Your Jewelry
The Ruby is best known for being the birthstone of July and anniversary gift for 15 and 40 years of marriage, but that isn’t where it ends. Rubies have been revered throughout history for thousands of years and are valued for their healing powers as well as pristine natural beauty and color.
RUBY – gem species corundum
The term “Ruby” comes from the Latin word ruber meaning “red”. It is a 9.0 on the Moh’s Scale, which gauges the scratch resistance of various minerals with diamonds being the hardest at 10. Like most gemstones, the Ruby is valued based on the four C’s: color, cut, clarity and carat weight, with the color section being broken down into hue, saturation and tone. Only stones with a true red hue are considered rubies. Other hues including orange, purple, violet and pink are defined as sapphires.
Rubies are well-regarded as the most historically significant colored gemstone. Rubies are mentioned in the bible four times including Proverbs 31:10, “a wife of noble character is worth more than rubies”, as well as in ancient Indian Sankskrit writings. The word for ruby is “ratnaraj” which translates into “King of precious stones”. While being referenced in historical symbology, the ruby was also used in day to day life. Soldiers in Burma (now Myanmar) wore rubies and even inserted them into their skin to make them invincible in battle. The fiery gemstones were lain before buildings to secure good fortune and carried around in pockets so the holder would incur the powers to guarantee good health and success in love.
Liberty Bell Ruby – This ruby was carved by Alfonso de Vivanco into the shape of the Liberty Bell topped with an eagle for the United States 1976 Bicentennial celebration. Adorned with 50 diamonds to celebrate the 50 states, this creation was 8,500 carats and weighed 4 pounds. Unfortunately this work of art was stolen from a jewelry store in Delaware in 2011 and has yet to be recovered.
Sunrise Ruby – This is the world’s most expensive colored gemstone and wieghs 25.59 carats. After being set into a Cartier ring and flanked by diamonds, the ring was sold at auction in 2015 for $30.42 million. The price comes from the untreated, pristine color of the ruby which professionals call “pigeon blood” red, a rare quality. The term pigeon blood came from Burma where they say the perfect ruby looks like the same color as the first 2 drops of blood from the nose of a killed pigeon.
The ruby is a timeless classic with many references throughout history, not just for the stone, but also the brilliant color. The most memorable reference being The Wizard of OZ. Just before filming the director changed Dorothy’s shoes from silver to Ruby red to take full advantage of the invention of Technicolor. How could he have known that one simple costume change would create the most iconic symbol for the movie next to the yellow brick road?
Are you inspired to wear rubies now? If so, shop Rebecca Lankford Design’s collection of handmade ruby jewelry!
“A Few Famous Fine Rubies – Rosser Reeves, Sunrise and DeLong Rubies: GemSelect.” Buy Gemstones: Semi Precious & Precious Stones, Natural Gems at Wholesale; GemSelect, www.gemselect.com/other-info/a-few-famous-fine-rubies.php.
“Ruby Gemstone | Ruby Stone – GIA.” Gemological Institute Of America, www.gia.edu/ruby.
“Ruby.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 July 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby.
Photograph from: Asia magazine, October, 1930, Vol. 30, No. 10, pp. 722–725, 733