Known as the ‘king of gems’ by the ancients and with their rich red colouring and a natural hardness that is second only to diamonds, rubies are a birthstone to be coveted. They are said to guarantee health, wisdom, wealth and luck in love and their natural durability makes them perfect for everyday wear.
Thailand and Myanmar are the source of many of the world’s rubies and both countries regard it as their national stone. Much legend surrounds these glowing gems, with ancients believing that it was literally a drop of Mother Earth’s blood and in addition, was self-luminous. In the Middle Ages they were prized for their properties of good health as well as being a silent guard against untoward thoughts and disputes. Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragorn is said to have foreseen her downfall by the darkening of her ruby.
While ruby is usually thought of as being intensely red, their hue can vary from a bright orangey red to a more muted purple tone. Rubies are a type of corundum.
Corundum is a mineral that is colourless in its pure form and which turns red when chromium is introduced. The conditions needed to create a ruby are extremely rare. As a result, they are the world’s most expensive per-carat coloured gemstone.
Corundum is surpassed only by diamond in terms of hardness. A rating of 9.0 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, makes a ruby not only beautiful but also hard wearing and practical.
Wallis Simpson’s love of rubies was well known and her collection included a Cartier ruby necklace, pendant and brooch. Their durability, colour and sparkle have long made rubies a popular feature in royal jewellery collections with HRH Princess Mary of Denmark, Queen Amelie of Portugal and Queen Elizabeth II all the fortunate owners of impressive ruby encrusted pieces.
Celebrities Adoring Rubies
Rubies have proven popular with celebrities with a strong sense of style. The singer turned fashion designer Jessica Simpson received a 5.00ct ruby engagement ring, set with pear-shaped diamonds, from her husband, Eric Johnson. Eric chose the gem as it’s Jessica’s birthstone. Jessica’s younger sister Ashley also selected a ruby engagement ring. Her stunning Art Deco-inspired ring features a marquise cut diamond surrounded by rubies and smaller diamonds. A large round ruby is at the centre of actress Eva Longoria’s engagement ring. The stunning stone is in a platinum halo setting, surrounded by diamonds.
So give your July-born love the joy of wearing rubies every day.