Every gemstone has qualities that are fascinating. Among them, there is one precious stone though, that talks to one’s heart – the ruby, rightly known as the queen of gemstones. As vivid as our own blood, the ruby speaks the universal language of passion, vitality and warmth.
Gem facts and history
The name ‘ruby’ comes from the Latin rubens (‘red’). Derived from corundum – a mineral termed in Sanskrit as “kuruvinda” – the ruby is extremely durable, docking an impressive 9.0 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, second only to diamonds and moissanite. Corundum ranges from pink to deep crimson, depending on the amount of chromium present in it; only red corundum however, is considered a genuine ruby while stones of other shades belong to the sapphire family.
History records that rubies were traded from circa 200 B.C., on the North Silk Road, transported westwards from China. For centuries, the stone has played a seminal role in Asian cultures. Chinese and Indian noblemen wore ruby studded armour and scabbards. Rubies were placed under building foundations as talismans of good fortune.
In southern India, the affluent Chettiar community once traded in rubies from Burma, often getting them crafted into jewellery for temple deities, a tradition leading to the evolution of a range of ornaments known as “temple jewellery”.
Colour, clarity, cuts and more
Colour is the pre-eminent factor determining a ruby’s value. Rubies with a medium to dark red tone – experts term this hue “pigeon blood” – top the price scale, surpassing even diamonds.
As with the diamond, a ruby’s clarity hugely enhances its value. A flawless, transparent ruby commands stratospheric prices, but is exceedingly rare. Paradoxically, a ruby with no rutiles whatsoever (naturally occurring needle shaped inclusions) could indicate chemical treatment.
The cut of a ruby brings to the fore, its vitality and beauty. “Kuchal” or sliver cuts were historically popular in India. Today, the internationally popular cuts that prevail are cabochon, marquise and facets to name a few.
Much like an intelligent, sensual woman with multiple sides to her personality, a ruby displays tantalizingly varied appearances when set with other stones.
In traditional temple jewellery, cabochon rubies are typically combined with pearls to create an impression of warm femininity.
We at Rasvihar love using cabochon rubies to create jewels that have a timeless appeal.
Rubies and emeralds play off each other to create a stunning contrast. While the yellow toned gold enhances their deep shades, the channel settings give these earrings a smart, contemporary look.
Ruby and diamond – a royal jugalbandhi! This combination has been used for centuries by craftsmen to produce beautiful, enduring designs. At Rasvihar, we love putting these two gorgeous stones together as you can see in this paisley motif that uses the best of both stones to create a very attractive pair of earrings.
If you prefer to wear jewellery that’s cool and has a very modern look, blue sapphires with rubies will give you the desired effect.
Given the ruby’s numerous shades, the challenge for the designer is to create the perfect mix-and-match ensemble with other gems, a task that we, at Rasvihar, happily take on with love and enthusiasm!
A hard, versatile stone, the ruby adapts beautifully to diverse cuts, settings and finishes.
Red, white and green complement each other refreshingly. Here a single, large, faceted ruby rightfully queens over diamonds and emeralds that act as contrasting accents.
Where small cabochon rubies are used as accents, a brushed, matte effect used for the metal does not detract from the glow of the stones.
Conversely, where large rubies dominate, small, polished gold accents highlight the facet, colour and depth of the stones.
Cabochon cuts, with their smooth, rounded surfaces impart the appearance of blood drops to rubies and are universally popular.
The deep reds of rubies allow for stunning contrasts. Along with black enamel, the smooth bezel settings and eye-shaped marquise cut stones used here, make for jewellery that’s exotic and dressy. Pear cut rubies are perfect for floral motifs, their petal shapes and glistening deep rose hues imparting a pretty, ultra feminine look.
Geometric cuts like the square are a great way to match ruby jewellery with both traditional and modern attire. Prong settings with minimal use of metal, show off to superb effect, the wondrous glow of these oval-shaped faceted rubies.