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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 antique ruby includes its owner in a rich history winding through distant lands, ancient cultures, and mighty dynasties.  In all corners of the world, rubies have been used as amulets , religious symbols, astrological stones, and magical healing stones.  Rubies have universal associations with courage, fending off evil, and balancing energy. They are considered a life-affirming stone to the practitioners of New Age Metaphysics.  Rubies have been one of the most romantic and precious of gemstones for centuries.

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.  They also lack cleavage planes , making them resistant to chipping and breaking. 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. Lastly, the color of some gems like aquamarine fade with exposure to sunlight. Rubies have no issues with their color changing due to light or most chemicals they come into contact with (oils from your skin, household soap, spilling soda on your hand by accident, etc).

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.  Jewelry less prone to damage and wear may be suggested by a jeweler, like 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 jewelry worn on our hands 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 of setting preferences, rubies make an excellent choice for a family heirloom.  Their rarity and enduring value make them a sound investment.  To illustrate the point, we will briefly 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 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. Contrast with rubies, which are valued for their individuality and intensity of color.  Buyers are free to choose stones according to their own tastes and preferences.

J7432 | right | medium | “Classic round ruby earrings in a diamond halo”Fine ruby crystal rough is so rare that the vast majority of crystals 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 arrangement of “birthmarks.”  Some inclusions may actually increase a ruby’s value since they can very positively affect a more intense color or brilliance . To further emphasize how unique they are, ruby color varies significantly between each individual.

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.