Birthstone jewellery: Sumptuous rubies celebrate July

Known as the ‘King of Gems’, the ruby is one of the most revered and commonly known gemstones; in the ancient language of Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj, or “king of precious stones.”

Owing to the rarity of the perfect ruby tone - pigeon blood: a deep, rich red with the slightest hint of blue - the most sought after rubies are worth more per carat than diamonds. The standard for exceptional rubies is Burmese provenance, with no heat treatment - which would alter the saturation of colour in the gemstone. Beautiful rubies from other sources still command large sums if their colour and clarity is of high quality, but rubies mined in the Mogok valley tend to be considered as having the most supreme visual characteristics of all, with this country having been a ruby source since at least 600 AD.

Because of its popularity and widespread appeal of ruby through the ages, ruby is one of the most historically significant coloured gemstones - being mentioned four times in the Bible. Over centuries, numerous attributes have been attached to rubies: ancient Hindus believed offering rubies to the god Krishna meant that you were granted rebirth as an emperor; in India, people believed that rubies enabled their owners to live in peace with their enemies; in Burma (now Myanmar,) warriors believed rubies made them invincible in battle. Later in world history, ruby continued to be regarded by the Western world as important, becoming one of the most desirable gems for European royalty and those in high standing - with many medieval Europeans wearing rubies in an attempt to guarantee health, wealth, wisdom, and success in love.

Gübelin ‘Wings of a Dragonfly’ transformable necklace with 10.64ct Burmese ruby and 13 cushion cut diamonds, 43 fancy cut diamonds and 1788 round brilliant cut diamonds totalling 19.49ct

Ruby is one of the ‘big three’ traditionally recognised precious gemstones, alongside emerald and sapphire. The result of this is that almost every single fine jewellery house has created at least one - of not many ruby designs within the canon of collections. The most famous luxury maisons in particular - such as Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, Chopard, Dior, and Chanel - always include a ruby piece within their latest lines; especially the most glamorous, red carpet ready creations...

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