Ruby - The birthstone for July
What colour are rubies?
Rubies are the traditional birthstone for July and are known for their eye-catching colours, which usually range from pinks to deep blood-reds.
The colour of the gemstone can often vary depending on where the ruby was formed. For example, rubies found in Africa are often more pink in hue, whereas Asian rubies are often a darker reddish pink.
But in general, they are a lot pinker than people think!
Occasionally people order a birthtone ruby ring from me expecting a deep red stone and are suprised when it's a lot pinker - "Ruby Red" is a common phrase, so we expect rubies, to be...well, red.
Do have a look at the pictures on the listings, or get in touch if you'd like a photo of your ruby before you purchase.
Natural vs lab made rubies
Both natural rubies and artificial rubies are used in jewellery, as the stone can easily be produced in labs and without any noticeable differences from natural rubies.
The first synthetic ruby was created in 1837, using the very complex process of fusing potassium aluminium sulfate with chronium as a pigment. In 1903, a man called Verneuil began to create artificial rubies at a commercial scale, using a flame fusion process. By 1910, Verneuil had a 30 furnace facility that he used to mass produce his rubies, primarily to be used in jewellery. In my own work I use both natural and lab-made rubies - most of the cabochon stones, and rose cuts are natural, and I use lab made for the faceted stones. I can source facet cut natural rubies, but they are much, much more expensive!
A little bit of ruby history.
The history behind rubies dates back to ancient times, with rubies being mentioned in historical texts such as the Old Testament of the Bible and having been very popular in Ancient China and other areas of Asia.
Both India and China are known to have used rubies to decorate armor for their noblemen and rubies were even used in the structure of buildings, in order to bless that particular building with good fortune.
Impressive and expensive collections include rubies, such as the collection at The Louvre and the British Crown Jewels, particularly in the Coronation rings.
One of the most famous rubies is the Liberty Bell Ruby, which is a sculpture carved from the largest ruby mined. The ruby itself was found in East Africa in the 1950s and later turned into the sculpture in 1976. Unfortunately, the stone was stolen from a jewellery store during a 2011 heist and, although the thieves were prosecuted, police suspect that there is little hope that the stone will ever be recovered.
It seems as if everybody wants to possess a ruby, as many other famous rubies have also been taken in heists.
In 1964, the Delong Star Ruby was also stolen, this time from a museum. Luckily, the stones were quickly recovered and are now on display at New York City’s Natural History Museum.