Rich in colour & in History: Ruby

Our latest launch is a collection containing one of the most desired gemstones in the world, Ruby. This timeless gemstone, known for its power in protection, is the perfect romantic gift (for yourself or for a loved one!). This blog uncovers the history behind this extraordinary gemstone.

But first, what is Ruby? Ruby belongs to the corundum family of gemstones and is actually the trade name for a red sapphire. Sapphires, or corundum, are one of the world's most versatile gemstones and can come in any colour of the rainbow with the help of different colouring agents. When we think of sapphire's we usually think of the most common and prized colour: blue, however any colour of this gemstone (except for the red, which is called a ruby) is called a sapphire, and we can get sapphires of pink, yellow, green or even purple.

Pigeon-Blood Ruby gemstone

So, Ruby is actually a sapphire but red. Interesting right? The most valued colour of ruby is a pigeon-blood red, this is the deep-red colour and fetches an incredible premium on the market. The term 'pigeon blood' translates from the Burmese trade, a region that is well known for its exceptional gemstones.

The earliest record of Ruby has been dated back to 200 BC, in China, where it was traded along the North Silk Road and worn by Chinese noblemen to grant them protection. Similarly, in Burma (the main source of rubies since 600 AD) warriors also possessed rubies for protection in battle. However, unlike the Chinese noblemen, Burmese warriors did not wear their rubies, instead they inserted the gemstone into their flesh. Though this sounds rather gruesome, the intensity of their belief in the power of Ruby is fascinating. Rubies were also put in the foundations of buildings to ensure prosperity.

Burmese Warriors

The Mong Hsu region of Myanmar began producing rubies in the 1990’s after the depletion of classical Burmese mines. Rubies sourced from Myanmar during this time, lacked the rich red hue of the traditional Burmese rubies (still some of the most prized) so they were treated with heat. This heat process is often used nowadays to improve the gemstones saturation and transparency.

Prized by many Asian cultures and known as the ‘ratnaraj’ or the ‘king of precious stones in Ancient India, ruby became one of the most desired gems by the western upper class and European royalty, during medieval times. Still worn in these times, as in the past, to guarantee health and success in love.

The Crown Jewels

Did you know that ruby was not recognized as a variety of corundum (type of rock) until 1800? I didn't! So this means, the famous Black Ruby, one of the crown jewels of England, was in fact determined to be spinel later on. Tourmaline and garnet were also believed to be ruby prior to this discovery.