Happy birthday to all you jewelry lovin’ July people!!! We hope you are taking some time out for yourself, soaking up the sun in the summer time! Speaking of summer time, your birthstone is pretty HOT. That’s right! Your traditional and modern birthstone for this month is the fiery red ruby. Let’s talk about that!
So, the first thing you probably think of when rubies are mentioned is the fierce, fiery color that it is known for, right?! Well, when we talk about color of rubies, we are actually working with hues. There are primary and secondary, sometimes even tertiary, hues in one stone. Rubies are defined as red for the primary hue, and secondary hues can range from orange, purple, violet, and pink. Due to this stone being highly recognized by its color, rubies can command the highest per carat price of any colored stone on the market today.
As with diamonds, a ruby’s value is also graded using criteria known as the four Cs: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. Another factor relating to value is how the stone is treated. Most rubies are treated and it is considered acceptable in the world of gemstones. During the late 1990s, a large supply of low-cost materials caused a sudden surge in supply of heat-treated rubies, leading to a decrease on ruby prices. This heat treatment is used to improve color, remove blue patches, and remove inclusions. Another treatment used in more recent years is lead glass filling. Filling the fractures inside the ruby with lead glass dramatically improves the transparency of the stone, making previously unsuitable rubies fit for jewelry use.
So, how did people in the past view this gorgeous stone?! In ancient India, ruby was called the “king of precious stones: for its rarity, hardness (which is only second to diamonds), beauty and seemingly mystical powers. In fact, in Sanskrit (an ancient Indian language) ruby is “ratnaraaj,” meaning the king of gems. Long associated with the life force blood, ruby was a symbol of power and youthful energy in Indian jewelry. In past centuries, some believed this birthstone for July could predict misfortune or dange, and others claimed it would cure inflammatory diseases and soothe anger. Burmese warriors believed it made them invincible in battle. Medieval Europeans maintained that rubies bestowed health, wisdom, wealth, and success in love. Speaking of love, ruby is traditionally given for 15th and 40th wedding anniversary gifts.
Let’s talk about some amazingly beautiful and famous jewelry pieces with rubies, shall we? The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., has some of the world’s largest and fines rubies. The 23.1-carat Burmese ruby, set in a platinum ring with diamonds, was donated by businessman and philanthropist Peter Buck in memory of his late wife, Carmen Lucia. I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I could lift my hand with a ruby that big on my finger! But how magical would it be to try?! The Liberty Bell Ruby is the largest minded ruby in the world. It was stolen in a heist in 2011 and while four men were arrested and indicted for the heist in 2014, the location of the ruby remains a mystery. In December of 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s complete jewelry collection was auctioned by Christie’s. Several ruby-set pieces were included in the sale, notably a ring set with an 8.24 ct ruby that broke the “price-per-carat” record for rubies. You ready for this? It sold for $512,925 per carat, for a whopping total of $4.2 million. I’ll give you a minute to fan yourself before you faint.
No matter if you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or just life in general, we here at Key West Local Luxe have the rubies you will love to add to your collection!