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The colored gemstone world has seen an increase in popularity when it comes to engagement rings, and rubies are among those at the forefront!
As always, trends in fashion largely stem from celebrity choices, and the ruby has been a favorite among the A-listers. We have seen the likes of Jessica Simpson, Rihanna, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis sport ruby jewelry.
And with Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg proposing to his wife with a 5 carat ruby engagement ring, it’s clear that rubies are having a major resurgence.
If you are considering a non-diamond engagement ring alternative, consider the ruby as a great choice, especially if you are keen on rocking a pop of color. Keep reading to find out our top 5 reasons that make the ruby perfect for an engagement ring.
A ruby comes in only one color
Unlike most other gemstones, rubies come in only one color – red. In fact, the word ruby is synonymous with the word red and can even be used interchangeably. Little wonder that the name ‘ruby’ comes from the Latin ‘ruber’ meaning red.
A ruby is in fact a red sapphire. It has the exact same properties as a sapphire (which comes in a range of colors) and has the same mineral structure. The color is caused by trace elements of chromium present during the formation process of the stone.
So why is it called a ruby and not a red sapphire?
Historically, the ruby has always been considered a stone in its own right. Its brilliant red hue set it apart from sapphires and established its reputation as the most precious of all colored gemstones.
For a sapphire to be considered a ruby, it must exhibit a color between orange-red and slightly purple red. The boundary between sapphire and ruby is the color pink.
This is a beautiful pigeon blood ruby. See more natural, untreated rubies at Leibish.
Example of a light red ruby. Find this ruby here.
There is a range of red shades that rubies come in, but the most expensive are those that have deep and even saturation. The ruby is one of the few gemstones that can achieve levels of vivid saturation. Pigeon Blood is the term given to the rubies with the best color. As the name implies, the stones have a hue akin to the fresh blood of a pigeon.
It’s a durable stone
One of the main factors to consider when deciding on a gemstone for your engagement ring is its durability. Consider that this is a piece of jewelry that you plan to wear frequently, if not every day for the rest of your life. As such, it needs to be able to handle the bumps, knocks and damage that comes with exposure to daily life.
Rubies, along with its twin sapphire, are extremely durable stones, ranking just behind diamonds at 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness. They are very tough and contain no cleavage, which is the tendency to chip, break or crack. Not only this, but rubies also resist damage from heat, chemicals and light very well.
So, taking all this into consideration, a ruby will last for a very long time with minimal care and maintenance.
A ruby is a good investment
Rubies don’t come cheap. They are the most expensive in the corundum group of gemstones and are arguably the most sought after and valuable colored gemstone. In fact, the world’s most expensive colored gemstone is the Sunrise Ruby that sold for over $30 million in 2015!
Large rubies of the best quality are very expensive and often beyond most of our price ranges. Smaller stones are much more affordable and work perfectly as accent stones or in cluster settings and eternity bands.
Of course, the price of the ruby largely depends on its specifications, especially its color and place of origin. Because rubies generally tend to contain inclusions, clarity is not as important as color when determining its value. Fine vivid rubies with excellent saturation, tone and hue always command the highest prices. Burmese rubies are the most valuable and sought after, although the value of those mined from other locations are also increasing.
Pair of stunning Burmese pigeon blood rubies. You can check them here, but be warned. These don’t come cheap!
Even though it is an expensive stone, rubies are considered a very good investment because they never lose their value. As demand increases, the price only goes higher. On a side note, bear in mind that a lab-created ruby will not have the same value as a natural stone.
Heat treated ruby. See it here.
Also note that it is an industry standard to heat rubies, and most rubies are heated at the mine. While unheated natural rubies are the most valuable, heated rubies look just as good. They are much more affordable than untreated rubies and are an ideal option if budgeting is important for you.
A rare and precious gemstone
Most people think colorless diamonds are rare, but their rarity comes from tightly controlled supply by the diamond industry to create false scarcity and keep prices up. In nature, colorless diamonds are plentiful and everywhere beneath our feet!
Large high quality natural rubies are much rarer than diamonds and can be more valuable. In fact, as I mentioned above, such rubies are the rarest among all colored gemstones. It requires exacting precision on nature’s part to introduce the right amount of impurities to the corundum at the right time during its formation. This doesn’t occur always and when it does, it is a happy accident!
The symbolism of ruby
The color red has always been associated with our strongest passion – love. Think about it, hearts are red, roses are red. Everything about Valentine’s Day is pretty much red. As the most popular red gemstone, naturally, rubies have been connected to undying passion and love.
The ruby has held a prestigious position throughout history and has been revered by all. The word for ruby in the ancient Sanskrit language means ‘the king of gemstones’. Rubies were worn in ancient times with the hopes of bringing love, success, prosperity and good health to themselves.
Even today, rubies are highly celebrated and coveted. As an engagement ring gemstone, their symbolism is perfect.
Picking a setting to match your ruby
So, you’re sold on a ruby engagement ring! Now you have to choose a matching ring setting to bring out the maximum beauty of your stone.
Rubies go well with any setting and metal color. For a fresh modern look, choose white metals such as platinum and white gold. For a vintage, classical look, pair your ruby with yellow or rose gold.
Rubies are also commonly paired with diamonds. Because diamonds symbolize eternity and rubies symbolize love, this paring is a match made in heaven! In terms of the look, the brilliance of the diamonds brings fire and sparkle to the ruby as well. Consider a halo setting for your ruby centrepiece, with tiny diamonds surrounding the stone. Three stone settings are also exceptionally beautiful.
Art deco inspired diamond and ruby ring for the right amount of color and sparkle! See it here.
Remember, a little ruby goes a long way, so you don’t have to own a massive stone for it to be perfect. Even a small carat ruby gives that perfect pop of color on your hand.
If you are searching for your ruby online, make sure that the vendor you choose offers clear images of the actual stone, like James Allen or Leibish. This is very important to ensure that the stone has the color and the quality you desire.
For natural untreated stones, we recommend Leibish. However, these can be quite expensive and not ideal if you are on a budget. For more affordable rubies, check out James Allen. They have a good inventory of mostly heated rubies of different shades and sizes.
For high quality yet reasonably priced ruby jewelry, check out Blue Nile.