Were you were born in July? Ruby jewelry is the birthstone of July. We some luck, we can all enjoy the magnificence of antique ruby jewelry. Rubies have been credited with many and varied supernatural powers, so wear your antique ruby jewelry with confidence that it is both protecting you and bringing you good fortune.
One of the most amazing countries I ever visited was Myanmar (Burma). There is so much to see and learn there. But one of its marvels is that it is the source of the world's most sought-after rubies. Up until very recently, the ruby-mining area, called Mokok, was closed to visitors. It was recently opened with the stipulation that you go with a local guide. I can dream of getting there and seeing the source of these magnificent gems with my own eyes.
Antique ruby jewelry in every form is gorgeous and highly sought after, but none like rubies from Burma. Fortunately, laboratories like the GIA can determine origin and fine gems can be tested and certified. A ruby with a certificate that it comes from Burma will command a very serious price.
Rubies, ranging in color from light pink through deepest pigeon-blood have long been used in jewelry and along with their blue brothers, the sapphires, come directly under diamonds in hardness and desirability. Mystical qualities attributed to this valuable gem confer power, energy and passion to the wearer. While the tone of color is strictly personal - Asians tend to love the darkest pigeon blood, Americans, the pinker tones, always look for a clear gemstone that talks to you and that you would like to see on your great-great-grand-daughter's finger, or worn around her neck. Some rubies, especially the deep pigeon blood rubies, can attain amazing prices, sometimes in excess of diamonds. Buy what you love, not only what you think is a good investment.
We can aspire to fabulous antique ruby set jewels, but given the price of the very best antique jewelry, it's often worth looking into alternatives.
For years, even the Georgians searched for more affordable jewelry choices, while maintaining their high standards of workmanship. Rubellite is actually tourmaline. It was named because of its similarity to ruby, is one choice alternative to real antique ruby jewelry. Because of its color, rubellite is more expensive than other forms of tourmaline.
While we tend to think of sapphires as blue, they come in many colors, including red. On the gemological level, there is a difference between a red or pink sapphire and a ruby. Both sapphire and ruby come from the corundum family, but they are sisters and to be differentiated.
From earliest times, man searched for ways to emulate the scarce rubies that come from nature. We tend to disregard synthetic stones, but a century ago, they were as valuable as the real thing in many cases and certainly not disrespected. Paste is glass that looks like ruby, and has come into its own over the last few years. I recently saw a paste parure with an asking price of $130 000.00
Spinel is more than an alternative to ruby. For many years, people did not realize that it is a different stone to ruby. Famous rubies in history have turned out to be spinel. For years the ruby of the English Crown Jewels was much admired. It took a few hundred years for modern technology to reveal that the ruby was actually spinel. Laugh not: would you know the difference?
A while ago, I walked past a necklace that clearly beckoned me. Deep red color and flashing light drew my eye into the depths of the beads and then shot out again with the light. Quite a stunner!! While it was clearly not a terribly old necklace (maybe Art Deco), I was smitten. The seller told me that the necklace was made of Burmese rubies. I bought it. I sent it to my gemological appraiser. An appraiser with years and years of experience and she gave it a glowing report. However, without a huge laboratory like the GIA has, we could not claim the Burmese origin.
I was busy and it took a while before I sent the necklace to the GIA to identify and confirm the origin of my ruby necklace. 3 weeks later I got the call: my ruby necklace is spinel. The necklace is no less beautiful. Spinel is beautiful and commands very high prices today, especially since this was confirmed as spinel from Burma. Still, even the professionals were fooled that spinel was ruby.
We all make mistakes.
Rubies appear in antique jewelry in every style and form. To start off with, think about the incredible parures (sets of jewelry) worn by royalty. Huge gems, each worth a fortune that only those who had a nation slaving away for them could afford. Then, think about a tiny Georgian ring with little rubies and pearls, finely set. Most of us can aspire to this wonderful jewelry with its superb workmanship and delicate designs. I have some fantastic antique Indian ruby jewelry. Indians tend to cut and use gems differently to Europeans, especially in the past. The rubies are usually en cabochon and will have closed backs. Indians in particular love Burmese rubies. Modern ruby jewelry offers the collector a whole slew of new alternatives.
Ruby jewelry is fabulous, yet entirely wearable. You have a tremendous choice ranging from the color of the ruby, the size of the jewelry, the age of the jewelry, the style of the jewelry and you can always choose one thing for every day wear and another for dazzling at night.
We are always available to try to help you make the best possible choice. Ask lots of questions before you buy and make sure that you are buying from someone with a record like ours.