Ravishing Ruby, July’s Birthstone of Passion, is the King of Gems
The intense red of the ruby, July’s birthstone, evokes strong emotions: passion, love, and fury. In fact, early civilizations equated its color with blood. In medieval times, they were believed to bring health, wisdom, wealth and success in love—and also thought to provide protection (cue the ruby red slippers!).
Fun facts about the King of Gems
- Rubies can actually glow in sunlight due to chromium. Under UV lights, deep red rubies, especially Burmese rubies, seem to fluoresce (glow) from inside the stone.
- They’re made of corundum; other stones with corundum and trace minerals can appear in shades of blue or pink; they’re classified as sapphires.
- The stone was called “Ratnaraj” in Sanskrit, meaning “King of Gems.”
- Rubies of more than 10 karats can sell for more than similar-sized diamonds—and can be the most expensive of all the colored gemstones.
- The most prized color? “Pigeon’s blood,” deep red, with a hint of blue. For centuries, this has described the most exceptional Burmese rubies.
- They’re mentioned 4 times in the bible, including: “the price of wisdom is above rubies.” (Job 28:18)
- In 2011, an 8.24-carat ruby ring belonging to Elizabeth Taylor and made by Van Cleef & Arpels sold at auction for $4.2 million—approximately $500,000 per carat!
Buying and caring for your ruby jewelry
- With a hardness rating of 9 on the Mohs scale, rubies match sapphires and are surpassed only by diamonds. This strength makes them appropriate for any type of jewelry.
- As opposed to diamonds, small inclusions can actually increase a ruby’s value and can offer a velvety look. Inclusions also result in “star” rubies. No inclusions? The stone is probably heat-treated or synthetic.
- According to the GIA, heat treatment is generally accepted since it doesn’t weaken the stone. However, if it’s been dyed and/or fracture-filled (which can make the stone look more transparent) they may be weakened and more vulnerable to damage during regular wear. The FTC requires that sellers disclose whether gemstones have been treated, and by which methods—including whether the stone is synthetic vs natural.
- Color’s the most important factor when buying ruby jewelry. The most desirable is deep red; as it gets more orange or purple in tone, the value decreases.
- Clean your ruby jewelry with warm soapy water and a soft brush.
Remember to keep your rubies, sapphires, diamonds, silver, and heirloom pieces safe by protecting them with insurance. Before you call your agent, you’ll need an up-to-date appraisal. First step? Call me at 617-304-0174 or by email at email@example.com.
So, click your heels, head down to your jeweler’s, and put some passion in your life with a piece of radiant ruby jewelry.