Ruby - the gem of love, passion, life, fortune, and power! One of the rarest and most sought-after gems in the world, this stunning precious gem has been revered for thousands of years by many cultures. Today, ruby is the birthstone of July and the dedicated gemstone for the 15th and 40th anniversaries. Its romantic & elegant red color makes it the perfect gem for representing the love and passion you hold for your significant other!
HISTORY & LORE
Rubies have a long history dating back to at least the first century AD and therefore hold a wide variety of lore. The red color of ruby has long represented blood and life. This association led some cultures to believe the ruby protected from harm & illness, diffuse anger, and bring clarity to the wearer of the gem. Used as a talisman by soldiers, in crowns and jewelry of royalty, this fiery gem has been adorned by many people of different status and cultures for its supposed properties and powers.
Rubies have been mentioned several times in the Bible, which emphasizes their value and importance. Rubies also hold significance in Hindu history, even earning the name "king of precious stones" and are used in ceremonial offerings. Gems in Indian culture represent celestial deities, with ruby representing the sun. Ruby is often referenced as the most precious of all gems in both the Bible and in Hinduism.
In the past, people believed the gem was created by fire or lightning. Some thought that ruby could heat water to the point of boiling or raise body temperature. Another story claimed that ruby could glow even when covered because the fire within the stone cannot be extinguished. Today, we know that this "glowing" is caused by the gem's strong fluorescence when exposed to UV light, which can come from the sun.
Even in more recent history, ruby has continued to be an important gem!
- Rubies were used in the invention of lasers! While not as popular today, ruby lasers have been used for many years to help produce the red laser light used for laser cutting, removing tattoos, dermatology, and many other industrial purposes.
- Both lab-created and natural rubies are sometimes still used in watches, medical instruments, CDs, etc.
- In pop culture, ruby red slippers with magical powers were worn by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, which became a Hollywood icon.
- Even more recently, ruby was worn in the Game of Thrones books & HBO series by the Red Priestess Melisandre, who was given power and youth from the stone.
- Queen Elizabeth II of England has often been seen adorned in rubies, especially her Burmese ruby tiara.
Ruby belongs to the corundum family along with sapphires. In fact, the only difference between ruby and sapphire is color! The ruby's lavish red color comes from the trace element chromium being present in the normally colorless corundum. The red color in ruby can vary and include more purple, brown, or pink depending on where the stone came from. The most desirable color of ruby is described as "pigeon's blood" red, which is common among Burmese rubies from Myanmar. In fact, ruby got its name from the Latin word ruber, which translates to "red." The occurrence of a corundum and chromium combination is extremely rare - rubies, like sapphires, are even rarer than diamonds. Because of their rarity and high demand, natural rubies command some of the highest prices per carat of all the natural gemstones.
Despite their rarity, rubies have been found in small amounts on nearly every continent of the planet. The highest quantity of natural ruby has historically come from Asia, specifically Myanmar, since around 600 AD. It is common for places that supply sapphire to supply ruby since they are both corundum gems. The United States, specifically Montana and North Carolina, supply small amounts of natural rubies.
Luckily, for those looking for the same beauty and power of the ruby at a lower price, rubies can be lab-grown using a replicated and sped-up process of nature that creates gems that are real and have near-flawless clarity like the gem pictured below. These gems are chemically and physically identical to natural rubies while being cheaper and avoiding conflict gems, unethical mining, and the environmental effects of mining. Unfortunately, some natural rubies are bought and sold as conflict gems that fund extremist groups in their country of origin. However, at Staghead Designs, we use ethical gems that are conflict-free. Most of the rubies we use in our rings are lab-grown but ethical, and natural ruby may be sourced upon request.
CARE & CLEANING
Ruby rings are an excellent choice for everyday wear! Ruby scores a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning it is tough and durable - only diamond and moissanite are harder! Lab-grown rubies, in particular, typically have near flawless clarity and no inclusions, making them even more durable and less prone to unwanted color change caused by chemicals or acids.
Ruby rings & rings featuring any other stones should always be removed before participating in manual labor or tasks that are rough on your hands. Avoid contact with water, chemicals, or extreme heat to maintain the original condition of your ring and gem. Wash with warm soapy water and a soft cloth or brush. Use caution when using ultrasonic or steam cleaners as some rubies’ color may be affected by the extreme heat. Natural rubies containing inclusions can also be discolored by things like lemon juice or other acidic liquids. We offer a variety of different colored and patterned silicone rings that are a great way to protect your hand and ring from damage that could be caused by labor-intensive or other activities that put your ring at risk and work as a perfect substitute for your wedding ring!
For more information and tips on ring care and cleaning, check out our full Care Guidelines page!
DESIGNING A RUBY RING
Ruby is a meaningful choice for an engagement ring or birthstone ring, and we specialize in custom settings that are just as meaningful and unique as your love for your partner. Let the "everlasting fire" of the ruby represent the everlasting love for that special someone! Please choose from our many customizable designs or design your own one-of-a-kind ruby ring today!