Romance with Rubies

Article from Berganza

Friday 21st February 2014

Rubies are one of the most beautiful gemstones in the world. They evoke emotions of love, lust and true romance. Rubies are said to bring the wearer love and power, and have long been a symbol of passion, energy and life, stemming from their intense red colour. The name ruby was derived from 'ruber' meaning 'red' in Latin and has been used in jewellery for centuries. In Biblical times they were regarded as a most adored gemstone, 'She is more precious than rubies', Proverbs 3:15. Indeed, there is nothing that says 'true love' more than a blood red ruby.

Ruby is very hard and durable, bearing the same qualities as sapphire - both sharing in the corundum species of gemstones. On the hardness scale corundum is just below diamond, making it a striking alternative to diamond and adding a colour most desired. Traditionally rubies are red, but can occur in many differing shades from a lighter pink to dark, deep red.

The most important mines for rubies are undoubtedly the Burmese mines from the Mogok region in Upper Burma (Myanmar). These mines have been worked for centuries and produce the finest, gem quality stones of a very distinctive red with specific inclusions. Different mines bear different shades of ruby. It is from here that the highly revered 'Pigeon's blood' hue is found of a bluish-red, along with other desirable shades that too are only found in this region, namely those with a certain pink tinge. We are extremely lucky to have a range of rubies from the old Burma mines in our collection. Although mining is still active there, the yield is somewhat insignificant to what it used to be, very rarely producing the quality rubies that were mined many years ago. This means rarity is a huge factor when it comes to the fine rubies from this region, as it is such a distinguishing feature, hard to find and highly sought after. Other areas of occurrence include Vietnam and Thailand, also Central Asia and East Africa.

Bearing in mind the rarity of the hue of these rubies, matching them within a piece of jewellery is exceptionally hard to achieve, especially with natural unenhanced stones. Today, creating a desirable hue within a ruby can be made by heating and certain treatments, which is quite common in modern jewellery as demand for these hues outstrips supply. We ensure all of our rubies are natural and unenhanced.

Rubies can be fashioned into faceted gemstones or en cabochon depending on their qualities and both are seen within jewellery. When certain silk-like inclusions are arranged in a particular manner within the stone they can display an optical effect when cut en cabochon called 'asterism', or 'star ruby'. As the name suggests, when light is reflected in a particular way onto the gemstone a shimmering star can be seen. This phenomenon is rare and is therefore desirable. Colour primarily, clarity, carat weight, cut, origin and whether it is natural or enhanced are key to their value. Today, very fine rubies are fetching extraordinarily high prices and continue to ascend due to their increasing rarity and of course, desirability to own such a magnificent piece of nature.

Fortunately we have quite a range of fine rubies in our collection, from star rubies, to ruby and diamond three stones, to calibré cut rubies, to beautiful classic ruby and diamond clusters. Owning a ruby set piece of jewellery, particularly one that is as nature created with no enhancements, should be treasured as a most important jewel as it is one of the most prized gemstones of all.

Oscar Heyman Brothers ruby diamond ring berganza hatton garden
Oscar Heyman Brothers ruby and diamond dress ring, circa 1960.
Ref: 25150
front view Pigeon Blood Burmese ruby and diamond ring, circa 1935. berganza hatton garden
Pigeon Blood Burmese ruby and diamond ring, circa 1935.
Ref: 18590
front view Art Deco ruby diamond ring berganza hatton garden
Art Deco Burmese ruby and diamond ring, circa 1935.
Ref: 18549
Antique marquise ruby and diamond ring berganza hatton garden
Antique marquise ruby and diamond ring, circa 1900.
Ref: 18069
front view  Antique natural Burmese ruby and diamond ring, circa 1900. berganza hatton garden
Antique Burmese ruby and diamond ring, circa 1900.
Ref: 17679
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