As one of the world’s most historically significant coloured stones, rubies are mentioned four times in the Bible and are associated with attributes such as beauty and wisdom. Their perfect red hue is the standard for the most prized and pure shades of red worldwide. Let’s take a closer look at the July birthstone and its uniquely special colour.
Long before Dorothy graced the silver screen in sequined ruby red slippers, rubies were prized for their beauty. With their deep red hue, few things catch the eye like these wonders. In addition to being one of the most coveted gems, they also represent one of the most important colours in the artistic world - “ruby red”. But what gives this gem its unique colour? As a variety of the mineral corundum, ruby is created when the element chromium plays a starring role in the crystal structure. Once this element is introduced to corundum, the translucent mineral becomes stained with a reddish hue, ranging from a light orangey-red to a darker purplish red. The equation is simple - the higher the chromium count, the darker the gem will appear and, therefore, the more valuable it is. The most sought-after shade of ruby is named “pigeon’s blood”. A deep red with a hint of purple, its name comes from Myanmar, the world’s original source of rubies, and is said to match the first two drops of blood from the nose of a killed pigeon.
Rubies started out as being adored for mystical reasons. Early civilisations treasured them for their likeness to the colour of human blood and believed that rubies held the power of life. Archaeologists point out that rubies were traded along the ancient Silk Road as early as 200 BC. In 600 AD, Burmese warriors would create a physical bond with the gem by inserting a ruby into their skin before battle, believing that becoming one with a ruby made you invincible against your enemies. Later in history, many medieval European royals wore rubies sewn into their garments and as talismanic jewels to guarantee health, wealth, wisdom, and success in love. One of the most historic pieces of ruby jewellery today dates to the mid-1570s - the Chequered Locket Ring. Owned by Queen Elizabeth I of England, this piece of ruby jewellery is one of her few surviving jewels.
Although the health benefits have not been scientifically proven (yet!), what we do know for sure is that rubies are an important marker of beauty the world over. Rubies are as desired today as they have ever been, with pigeon’s blood rubies commanding the highest price per carat than any other coloured stone in the world, including diamonds.
So how do you wear such an important stone this summer? Symbolising the power of life and passionate love, we say wear it loud and proud. A ruby jewel is the ideal romantic gift for a loved one, or better, even for yourself! From a simple solitaire pendant to a full-on statement jewellery piece of artistic craftsmanship, any ruby jewel will bring warmth, colour and energy to your wardrobe, no matter the outfit!
The selection of pieces below are but a few of the jaw-dropping ruby designs fine jewellery are offering today.