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Spotlight on ruby birthstone jewellery for July

Spotlight on ruby birthstone jewellery for July


A guide to the passionately coloured ruby, one of the four most precious stones on earth and the birthstone for July babies.

What is a ruby?

Rubies are one of the four most precious stones, the others being diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. They are a red variety of the mineral corundum, the group that also contains sapphires. The higher the chromium content of the stone, the deeper the red will be. Considered the third hardest gemstone after diamond and moissanite, rubies have a Mohs rating of 9.

The history of rubies

Mentioned in the Bible, rubies have been favoured by royalty across the centuries. Named from the Latin ruber, meaning red, rubies are associated with love and passion, and were called the king of precious stones in ancient India. Today, rubies are used in the manufacture of lasers, medical instruments, and in watchmaking.

What colour are rubies?

As the colour of rubies is determined by the chromium content, they can be found in a range of hues, from pink and magenta through to the deepest red with purple hints.

Where do rubies come from?

Burma (now Myanmar) is one of the oldest sources of rubies and Burmese rubies are some of the most sought after in the world. More recent sources include Vietnam, Mozambique, Thailand and Cambodia. Other important sources include Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Kenya.

What is the meaning of rubies as a birthstone?

Considered the stone of courage and passion, the ruby is believed to have mystical powers, said to protect the wearer. Some believe it has the power to foretell danger while others believe it can calm anger. In Medieval times, it was believed to bring health and wisdom.

The world’s most expensive ruby

The previous record for the most valuable ruby was held by the Sunrise Ruby, a Burmese stone weighing 25.59 carats. Set as a ring, the piece achieved over $30 million in 2015. However, more recently in 2023, the Estrela de Fura, a Mozambique mined stoned with a cut weight of 55.22 carats achieved a hammer price of $34.8 million.

How to care for rubies

Store rubies separately from softer, less durable gemstones as they could damage them by scratching. Rubies should be cleaned with a warm soap solution using a soft brush, but they will also withstand ultrasonic and steam cleaners. Always dry and polish your rubies well after cleaning, with a soft cloth.

How to buy ruby jewellery

Good quality stones will have a vibrant colour and should be eye-clean.

They can have inclusions, like diamonds, but the number of visible inclusions will affect price.

When shopping in person, always view the piece under different types of light.

Fluorescent lights will make a ruby appear more purple while traditional light bulbs can make them look more red.

Wherever possible, view the ruby in natural daylight.

Ruby jewellery from Hemswell Antique Centres

When looking for vintage ruby jewellery or antique ruby jewellery, it is important to go to reputable and trustworthy suppliers, like our dealers at Hemswell. This will ensure you are buying a genuine piece of antique ruby jewellery and not a reproduction. We have a select choice of vintage ruby jewellery online but to experience the extensive range available from our specialist dealers, a visit to our centres should not be missed.

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