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Rubies as Heirlooms

Rubies As Heirloom Jewelry

Ruby was one of the first gemstones to be mined, traded, and coveted.  An old ruby includes its owner in a rich tapestry winding through distant lands, ancient cultures, and mighty dynasties.  In all corners of the globe, rubies have been used as amulets , religious symbols, astrological stones, and magical healing stones.  Rubies have long been associated with courage, fending off evil, and balancing energy, and they are considered a life-affirming stone to the practitioners of New Age Metaphysics.  For centuries, rubies have been considered one of the most romantic and precious of gemstones.

antique pearl ruby earrings
A pair of antique pearl and ruby earrings set in gold.

Choosing A Ruby Heirloom

Rubies are very strong and durable .  They have a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, which means they are very resistant to scratching.  However, rubies can be slightly more brittle if they are heavily included .  If you want your ruby to be enjoyed for multiple generations, make sure you select a high clarity stone with limited fractures.

Some jewelers believe that rubies are simply too rare and valuable to be worn on a daily basis or in a way that will expose them to considerable wear.  They may suggest that you select a pendant or a pair of beautiful earrings if you want to create an heirloom that lasts for generations.  Ruby rings may be capable of enduring several lifetimes of daily wear, but as with all jewelry worn on our hands, they will be exposed to the most strenuous type of wear.

ruby filigree heirloom ring
An Edwardian style ruby and diamond ring with filigree detailing.

Regardless, rubies make an excellent choice for a family heirloom.  The rarity and enduring value of rubies make them a sound investment.  To illustrate the point, let’s compare rubies and diamonds.  The price of a diamond is maintained by diligently controlling the releases from huge reserves accumulated over decades of consistent mining.  There are no great reserves of ruby, especially gem-quality ruby, and it remains valuable because the Earth yields very little of it.

What Makes Ruby So Special

Compared to diamonds, rubies are also highly individualized gems.  Diamond quality is based on objective standards including a lack of color, a specific range of cutting angles and proportions, and lack of inclusions –even ones that are invisible to the naked eye. On the other hand, rubies are valued for their individuality and intensity of color.  Buyers are free to choose stones according to their own tastes and preferences.

round ruby earrings
Simple and classic round ruby earrings in a diamond halo.

Fine ruby crystal rough is so rare that many stones are not cut into standard shapes or proportions .  Instead, the dimensions of the rough crystal, distribution of color, and location of inclusions determine the shape of a finished gem.  This means that every ruby comes with its own unique scattering of “birthmarks.”  Some inclusions may actually increase a ruby’s value since they can very positively affect a more intense color or brilliance .

What all this means is that ruby shoppers can select a unique gemstone that reflects their individual taste and style.  The individuality of each ruby also means that ruby jewelry carries strong sentimental value for the reason it was selected.  A gift as rare as a ruby is a gesture of deep love and every piece of ruby jewelry is one-of-a-kind.

Throughout time, rubies have appeared in many standout pieces of jewelry, in all types of styles. We explore that history next in Ruby Jewelry Through the Ages.