Friday, July 1, 2011

Ruby: July's Birthstone

Not all red stones are rubies, but all rubies are red stones.

Ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of corundum that gets its red color from the presence of chromium in the stone.  (Other non-red varieties of gem-quality corundum are sapphires.) The brightest and most valuable rubies are called pigeon blood rubies, which command a huge premium over other rubies of similar quality.

Ruby red is such a regal color that rubies have always been a centerpiece of royal jewelry. From moghuls to French monarchs and aristocracy to movie stars, rubies hold a place of reverence in the world of gemstones. The Crown Jewels of England have some stunning rubies in their collection ... crowns and tiaras, scepters and necklaces. The most famous of these is in the Imperial State Crown, the Black Prince's Ruby.

QEI & QEII wearing the Imperial Crown.
Beautiful ruby and diamond studded tiara.
Rubies and sapphires were favorites of art deco designers like Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.
Van Cleef & Arpels from the Set in Style exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in NYC.
Van Cleef & Arpels, also from the Set in Style exhibit.
Fabulous art deco pin from the early 1900s.
Corundum gems, both ruby and sapphire, contain inclusions called silk, which are caused by needle-like crystals in the gemstone. If these line up just right, the famed star-ruby is displayed. These cabochon cut star rubies are highly prized.
Star ruby ring.
We have several lovely pieces of ruby jewelry at Vintages. Here is a gallery of a selection of these jewels. 
Victorian 10K gold and ruby bar pin ($195)
Whimsical bug pin of jade, pearl and 14K gold with ruby eyes ($395)
Antique 22K gold earrings with rubies and onyx ($595)
Heart pendant of 18K gold with rubies, sapphires and topaz ($195)

Ruby and diamond ring set in 10K gold ($495)
Ruby and diamond ring set in 18K gold ($895)

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