Queens have been pampered with them. Empresses enticed by them. Lovers enamored of them.
Across the centuries, the ruby has been held in highest reverence and prized above all other colored gemstones for its deep, blood-red, glorious color. Rubies were worn by royalty and they have many associations with power, good luck and wealth. They feature prominently in the Crown Jewels of England and have been seen in royal jewelry owned by Kings, Queens, and rulers of all types for hundreds of years. The ruby speaks of nobility, passion, and love – perhaps more than any other precious gemstone.
Most notably though, the ruby speaks to the language of the heart.
What are rubies?
In fact, rubies and sapphires are both types of a mineral called corundum and are practically identical in terms of chemical composition, but only red gems are called rubies, while sapphires comprise all other colors. Rubies can have fluorescent properties, which gives them brilliant, glowing shades of red when placed in direct sunlight. They can only be found in very limited quantities in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Kenya, Myanmar, and Thailand, so it is little wonder that rubies command the highest per carat price of any precious, colored gemstone. The finest and most prized of all rubies are a bright, vibrant red to slightly purple with a hint of blue. This is known as “pigeon’s blood” or “blood red.” Rubies are subject to heat-treatment to bring out a more vivid hue, so if you find a natural one it will likely be more highly prized.
Authenticity & Durability
Inclusions or blemishes within rubies are common and are tolerated to a certain extent, although if they mar the clarity and transparency of the stone to the point that the inclusions are visible, their value will decrease. If you have a clear, or almost clear ruby, it will be extremely valuable, so you will want to be sure that it is not a fake. In fact, many jewelers claim that they have never seen a truly perfect real ruby. Synthetic rubies contain non natural gas inclusions, wispy white veils, or strain cracks, plus you can tell if it is an artificial ruby if the color looks too good or the stone is too perfect.
You can test the authenticity of your ruby by scratching it with a knife, a piece of glass or another sharp object. If it leaves a mark, you will know it is not a real ruby. Rubies score a 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, so they can easily withstand scratches and everyday wear, and will last a lifetime. To put that in perspective, a diamond – which is the hardest precious gemstone of all – scores a 10 and is virtually indestructible.
It is the combination of the rarity, unequaled beauty and durability of the ruby that make it one of the most prized gemstones throughout human history.
Carat Weight & Cut
Rubies over one carat are rare, so their value increases at a higher rate than in conjunction with their carat weight. A 2-carat ruby will sell for much more than twice the cost of a 1-carat stone. Also, for example, if you have an exceptional quality ruby of over 10 carats, it will sell for considerably more than a diamond of similar carat weight. The largest ruby ever found, to date, is the 125West. It weighs about 18,696 carats. The Neelanjali ruby is another monster weighing in at 1370 carats. Both are valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Emerald cuts generally add the most value to a ruby and are priced the highest because they can show depth of color and brilliance across its entire surface, displaying the stone to its best advantage. If the ruby has visible flaws it will often be cut en cabochon. The next most popular cuts for vintage rubies include the round, oval, cushion and marquis. A well-cut ruby must be fiery, sparkling and give off a high degree of brilliance.
With its deep red coloration, rubies date back centuries as the stone symbolizing enduring love. Rubies have long been chosen for engagement and special celebration rings, particularly on Valentine’s Day. In Victorian times, rubies were combined with other precious stones to spell out a loved one’s name. For example, the letter “D” would be a diamond, the letter ‘E” an emerald, “A” for amethyst and an “R” for ruby, spelling out the word “DEAR.”
Valentine’s Day Gift or Engagement Ring
With Valentine’s Day close at hand, there is no better expression of love than a ruby. Whether chosen as an out-of-the-ordinary engagement ring, special gift for someone, or simply to pamper yourself, rubies represent the color of love, passion, and desire. Dover Jewelry offers a rare selection of estate and vintage ruby jewelry on our website in advance of Valentine’s Day, many pieces with special promotional pricing. Perhaps you are looking for that unique, statement cocktail ring, engagement ring or simply an investment piece. The exclusive, one-of-a-kind collection of estate ruby jewelry we offer is unmatched.
How to wear rubies
Vintage ruby jewelry holds a special association with the past, valued particularly for its colorful history, but also for an enduring beauty that reflects your distinctive, on-trend style today. Rubies tend to be better enhanced by warmer skin tones, but anyone can wear them. Wear your vintage ruby chandelier earrings with a simple black cocktail or evening dress for a special occasion or choose neutral tones to allow the vibrant fiery color of the ruby jewelry to stand out. Pick colors like an all-white, gold, or tan outfit such as a simple, chic pant suit to bring out the glamor of the red rubies, and try to avoid multi-colored clothing in complicated styles, unless red is one of the dominant colors. Remember, a simple, yet elegant black outfit always makes a statement – and black is the perfect backdrop color for breathtaking vintage ruby jewelry.
At Dover Jewelry, our most dazzling pieces contain rubies, often enhanced by diamonds. Our jewelry is unique, rare, and highly collectible. We invite you to add to your collection this Valentine’s Day.