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Rubies: A powerful stone engraved in history

Prescribed the most precious stone created by God, the name ruby comes from the Latin word ruber, which means “red.” 

In the first century AD, the Roman scholar Pliny incorporated rubies in his Natural History, telling of their hardness and density. Rubies are also mentioned four times in the Bible, in association with attributes like beauty and wisdom, meaning they have always been a significant part of history. 

In Burma (a ruby source since at least 600 AD), warriors owned rubies to make them invincible in battle and since this time, their uses and significance have become continuous. Carrying on from personal and religious beliefs and legends, the ruby retained its importance within the Western world and became one of the most significant gems of European royalty and the upper classes. 

The desire for ruby gems has lasted centuries and is still just as sought-after today as a symbol of passion and love. Consumers are drawn to the luxuriant colour and incorporate this gem into anniversaries, weddings and birthdays. 

11 03 1063 ruby ring 2 from david morris

The colour red is accompanied by powerful, deep emotions, all coming together to create objects, jewels and messages which resonate with love, anger, passion and fury. Associated with emphatic objects such as racing cars, roses, forewarnings and fire, the colour red speaks volumes when it comes to meaning and power. 

Early cultures worshipped rubies for their resemblance to the redness of the blood and believed that rubies held the power of life.

July Birthstone

Today, rubies come in many shapes and sizes and the jewels crafted from this historical gem are some of the most sought-after pieces in the world and make for the perfect birthday or anniversary gift. Known for being the July birthstone, rubies can be handcrafted in a range of styles including jewellery, fashion, homeware and art.

11 03 1057 burma ruby 8 42ct ring close up e1686563017471 from david morris

Symbolism and meaning – What do rubies symbolise? 

This enchanting jewel is nothing short of extraordinary, and like many of the famous world jewels, the meaning and history are what make a ruby even more desirable. When thinking about the symbolism of the ruby, it is necessary to consider its meaning throughout time and how the profoundness of this stone has transformed through different cultures, religions, regions and societal changes. With so many different beliefs and cultures out there, rubies possess a unique meaning to all. 

  • Ancient warriors in Burma and China embellished their armour with rubies to provide protection in battle. Some even inserted the gems into their own flesh, believing it to influence invincibility.
  • Symbol of love and commitment, ruby jewels were once thought to protect people against misfortune and illness.
  • Early cultures cherished rubies as they believed they held the power of life due to the blood-red colouring, leading to a bleeding and inflammation remedy.
  • If rubies were presented to the god Krishna, ancient Hindus believed he would grant them rebirth as an emperor.
  • Many years ago, those in India believed ownership of rubies would allow them to live in peace with their enemies.
  • The ruby is given as a traditional gift for a July birthday, plus the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries referred to as the ruby jubilee. 

Where do rubies come from?

The finest and rare rubies come from Burma (Myanmar) but are also mined in countries such as Afghanistan, Australia, Cambodia, India, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and many others. Due to a number of distinct geological circumstances, many countries around the Indian Ocean have rubies, especially the east coast of Africa, parts of the Middle East and most South Asian countries. Rubies have also been found in Greenland too, though the quality and production amount do not compare to the original origins. 

How are rubies formed?

Rubies form in an atmosphere of overly-heated, mineral-rich waters which possess low silica and low iron. In order to be rubies instead of sapphires, rubies also need chromium present, which is a much rarer element. Like many gemstones, rubies are produced under intense heat and pressure found below the earth. When compressed, oxygen and aluminium atoms turn into corundum. This mineral, combined with the presence of chromium, forms rubies and their distinctive colouring. 

How much are rubies worth?

As with any gemstone or jewellery piece, rubies vary in price depending on a number of factors, specifically how they fall in terms of the 4 C’s. Find out more about the 4Cs of diamond jewellery here.

When it comes to the appearance of ruby, the most desirable shade is a deep red with just a small hint of blue. This colour is referred to as ‘pigeon’s blood.’ Imperfections in rubies are generally expected, as they are naturally occurring stones, however, if the imperfection impacts the transparency, the value of the stone will decrease.

Rubies can sell as little as $1 a carat to $100,000+ a carat, depending on the 4Cs. With all this taken into consideration, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much a ruby is worth, especially if it has been crafted into a jewellery piece such as an engagement ring or a wedding set.  

Ruby Jewellery Handcrafted by David Morris

David Morris creations are a seductive combination of contemporary design flair and the world’s most beautiful rubies. Second only to diamonds in terms of hardness, the resilience of the ruby lends itself perfectly to cutting-edge creativity and design, and unusual cuts and settings – a challenge relished by the generations of craftsmen in our Bond Street atelier. A signature of the House of David Morris is the glorious celebration of colour, and nowhere is this more striking than in our incredible ruby creations.

Choosing and crafting only the finest of jewels, our collection of ruby jewellery resembles the passion, power and devotion that each ruby possesses, designed for anyone with an eye for pure beauty.

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