Learn about the ‘rock star’ of gemstones.
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Red is the color of our most intense emotions—love and anger, passion and fury, power and desire.
Fascinated with their similarity to the redness of the blood, rubies often yielded to an intense and powerful imaginary: in Burma, inserting rubies in their flesh would make warriors invincible in battle. In ancient Rome, the glowing red of ruby was compared to an inextinguishable flame burning within the stone when for Ancient Hindus offering fine rubies to the god Krishna would grant rebirth as emperors.
Desire for ruby is just as great today as it always has been, as recent record-breaking at auctions shows (to know more click here).
Discover what luscious red dreams are made of.
- Name : In Sanskrit, ruby is ratnaraj, meaning the king of gems.
- Mineral: Corundum
- Colour: Intense red glow
- Mohs Hardness: 9, the hardest after diamond
- Symbol : health, wealth, wisdom, success in love
Formation: The most renowned rubies form with marble during the metamorphic (rock-altering) process, when heat and pressure from mountain formation act on existing limestone deposits. Marble has low iron content, so does the rubies that originate in marble displaying an intense red color. Higher iron content, as in basalt rocks, causes a darker and less intense colour.
Colour : In its purest form, the mineral corundum is colourless. Trace elements that become part of the mineral’s crystal structure cause variations in its colour. Iron makes it blue and create sapphires, Chromium is the trace element that causes ruby’s red. The strength of ruby’s red also depends on how much chromium is present: the more chromium, the stronger the red color.
Where it’s found: The most renowned rubies are those from Myanmar, the Himalayas, and northern Vietnam.
Quality factors : The 4Cs – Colour, Quality, Cut and Carats.
WHY WE LOVE THAT STONE
Pigeon Blood : The traditional descriptive term for the reddest ruby colour and our favourite colour
Chromium: Chromium causes ruby’s red. Gemologists consider it the “rock star” of trace elements.
First Laser : Chromium can also cause fluorescence,The first laser was created in1960 using the red fluorescence light emitted by ruby.
FAMOUS RUBY STORIES
Elisabeth Taylor’s Ruby and Diamond Necklace
Any ruby jewellery list cannot begin without mentioning the great Elizabeth Taylor’s ruby and diamond necklace. Taylor’s third husband Michael Todd presented her with a stunning Cartier diamond and ruby necklace with matching earrings and bracelet as she was coming out of the pool one sunny day. The young Elizabeth Taylor was thrilled with her gifts, and as there was no mirror in sight, used the refection of the blue pool to admire her new jewels.
In December 2011, Taylor’s necklace was auctioned at Christie’s for $115,932,000. It became the most valuable jewellery auction in history, and the proceeds went to charity.
Mrs. Wallis Simpson’s Ruby Collection
Also known as the Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Simpson, is famous for her scandalous marriage to the Duke of Windsor, Edward VII, as well as for her exquisite jewellery collection, particularly her rubies. The collection includes a Cartier emerald, ruby, and diamond brooch, a ruby cross pendant, a ruby ring, and this beautiful suite from Van Cleef and Arpels:
Queen Elizabeth II’s Boucheron Ruby & Diamond Necklace
Daughter of a Scottish brewer and philanthropist, Margaret McEwan was born in 1863. Hilariously, she would freely announce she’d “rather be a beeress than a peeress” and married the Hon. Ronald Greville in 1891. She quickly earned a reputation for her spirited personality and for throwing enormous parties.
Though she was quite a bit older than the Duke and Duchess of York, she became a good and loyal friend to both of them. When she passed away in 1942, she left her extensive collection of jewels to HM Queen Elizabeth “with my loving thoughts” in their entirety.
Among these pieces is the Boucheron ruby and diamond Necklace. The piece displays Edwardian style with a floral pattern and dense settings. The necklace contains rubies and diamonds and has only been slightly shortened for a more contemporary look.
The Queen Amelie of Portugal’s Ruby Necklace
The Royal necklace was famously worn several times by Barbara Hutton the granddaughter of Woolworth department store magnate and iconic jewellery collector. Here is a photograph taken by George Hoyningen-Huene on one of those occasions
Graff’s Cushion-Cut Ruby
Graff bought this exceptional gemstone through Christie’s auction in 2006. The gemstone is a cushion-cut Burmese ruby weighing 8.62 carats, and he paid $3.6 Million ($425,000 per carat), a world record at that time. He designed a new mounting, and renamed gemstone after himself. Now, it is known as the Graff Ruby.