Blog / Gemstones

Birthstone ruby: Guide to ruby

Thursday July 7, 2022
Stephen
Stephen Sutton

The deep, rich red of a beautiful ruby is a sight few can resist, so it’s no wonder that we’ve been creating jewellery from this particular gem for centuries. Rubies have a vibrant colour that demands attention and it’s also the birthstone for people with birthdays in July. As the “King of Precious Gems”, it’s a stone that has a keen following around the world for its breath-taking beauty and elegance.

Rubies have a specific crystal structure that means that oval and cushion cuts, in particular, show it off to its full potential. But they can also be cut beautifully in other shapes, such as round, antique square, emerald, marquise, heart and pear-shaped rubies. It’s a gem that works in a variety of ways for stunning ruby jewellery.

Ruby Jewellery

Ruby Jewellery

From just £390

Where are rubies found?

Rubies were originally found in Myanmar, and it’s one of the main sources for rubies to this day. But they are also mined elsewhere around the world, including Thailand, Cambodia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Mozambique. Rubies from Myanmar, previously known as Burma, are considered to be the highest standard of rubies, in part because this area is historically the main producer of rubies. Mozambique rubies have a different appearance and tend to be darker and clearer. Other sources can produce gems that have overlapping colour and quality, and more inclusions, though there are region-specific characteristics among them.

A symbol for love, courage and devotion

The striking ruby is the perfect gemstone for a gift for your partner, as it’s long been a symbol of love, courage and devotion, as well as power and passion. Wealthy people throughout the ages have used rubies for their rarity and prestige, and admired for their beauty. Ancient warriors would set rubies beneath their skin with the belief that it would impart invincibility and courage, while others believed it to bestow safety and integrity, and even cure illnesses. Today, we use rubies as a way of symbolising love and romance, and it’s commonly used as an alternative for engagement rings for this reason.

The perfect hue

The first rubies were mined around 3000BCE in an ancient region around Mogok, where the finest rubies had a deep, vibrant red colour with purple hues that were referred to as ‘pigeon’s blood’. These purple elements to the ruby are very important – set in gold because of its intense yellow colour, the surrounding metal cancelled out the purple hue in the ruby to produce a purely red gemstone.

Today, it’s this particular shade of red that is the most desirable and valuable. In fact, it’s so in demand that large transparent rubies command even higher prices per carat than the same weight of diamonds. Since large rubies are so rare, gem cutters aim to preserve as much of the weight as possible, which results in a broad array of innovative and artistic techniques to remove as little weight from the stone through strategic cutting that will still maximise the colour and sparkle.

0.25ct Round Cut Ruby & Round Brilliant Cut Diamond Half Eternity Ring Ruby & Diamond Cluster Earrings Ruby and Diamond bar Brooch
0.25ct Round Cut Ruby & Round Brilliant Cut Diamond Half Eternity Ring Ruby & Diamond Cluster Earrings Ruby and Diamond bar Brooch
 £1,225  £3,165  £475

 

The rarest ruby

The Pigeon Blood Sunrise Ruby is named after a poem by Rumi – a 13th century Sufi poet – and is an incredibly rare 25.596-carat gem which is of the highest possible purity. It set a record in 2015 for a coloured gemstone when it was sold to an anonymous buyer for $30m USD. This figure was three times the previous record for a ruby and remains the most expensive one sold to date.

The value of colour

In a similar way to sapphires, rubies are found in a wide range of red shades, from light rose pink all the way to deep reds that are almost burgundy. This is because of trace elements of chromium which change how rich the red tone is – the more chromium, the deeper the shade. In Asia, the lighter reds are still considered rubies, whereas in North America and Europe, they’re referred to as Pink Sapphires.

The reason for this change in label is that medium-red rubies are still the preferred colour and the most valuable, which resulted in lighter coloured rubies being less valuable. However, they’re still a very beautiful stone and by changing the name, jewellers are able to sell them on their own merit without them being compared to rubies.

Ruby Diamond Cluster Ring 18ct White Gold, Oval Shaped Ruby & Diamond Cluster Earrings Petite Ruby & Diamond Cluster Earrings
Ruby Diamond Cluster Ring 18ct White Gold, Oval Shaped Ruby & Diamond Cluster Earrings Petite Ruby & Diamond Cluster Earrings
 £3,450  £4,035  £905

 

When to buy ruby jewellery

As the birthstone for July, it’s a wonderful gemstone for a gift during this month but it can also be bought for other special occasions. For example, it’s the gemstone associated with 40th wedding anniversaries, serving as a symbol for strength and happiness.

It makes for a memorable present for someone’s birthday during the month of July, whether you buy a unique christening gift to commemorate the birth of a July baby or as a special gift for a milestone birthday, such as a loved one’s 18th or 30th.

Rubies make for an elegant choice for a less traditional engagement ring or wedding band too. The bright colour is a lovely reminder of love and romance, and the durability of this gem makes it a great representation of commitment and devotion. Rubies pair beautifully with diamonds, and can be set in gold for a traditional look, or white gold or platinum for something more contemporary.

A sophisticated choice

Of all the coloured gemstones, rubies are certainly one of the most desirable and the most expensive when it comes to price-per-carat. The elegance and vibrancy they bring to any outfit makes them a wonderful choice for jewellery, whether you choose a traditional ruby ring, a pendant or earrings. It’s no wonder that rubies have been used in jewellery for so many years, and why their symbolism is something that remains to this day.

At Cry for the Moon, we stock the highest quality ruby jewellery, including engagement rings, wedding jewellery and vintage pieces. Browse online or stop by our store, or get in touch with us for more information.

Stephen

Stephen SuttonManager

Stephen has managed Cry for the Moon since 2011, and in his own words has ‘One of the best jobs going’. With over 30 years’ experience in the industry, having started at H Samuel and later Goldsmith Group, AE Halfhides in Wimbledon and GC Collins & Sons – Stephen had managed four different jewellery shops before Cry for the Moon. Stephen has multiple industry-qualifications including a Retail Jewellers’ Diploma and a Certificate of Gemmology from the Gemmological Society of Great Britain.