Friday, 5 July 2013

Ruby July

By Adeline Jubi

Star Ruby Egyptian style Ring with Rose gold and engraving (Firepetals 2013)

It is July again and the birthstone month of Ruby. Rubies are ten times more valuable than colourless diamonds of  equal weight. Traditionally it is the stone of love, loyalty and courage and is meant to promote wealth and health to its wearer.  The name Ruby comes from the Latin “Ruber”, meaning Red. Ruby forms part of the mineral variety or family Corundum (aluminium oxide). The other member of the Corundum family is Sapphire. It is generally believed that red corundum is Ruby and any other colour corundum, sapphire. The red colour is due to the presence of Chromium in the mineral. Rubies are quite hard, they are a 9 on Moh’s Scale of Hardness, only diamonds are harder (a 10).
The best quality rubies traditionally come from Myanmar (formerly Burma),and specifically the Magok area deep in the jungle. Burmese rubies are sometimes a bright red colour or pigeon blood colour that are the most desirable. Rubies have been mined in the Magok area in open pits for over 1000 years. Mining could only take place during the dry season and was difficult and often treacherous. The biggest natural (not heat treated) Burmese ruby found, weighs 42.98cts and has a beautiful saturated even pigeon blood red colour.
Other regions that produce fine Rubies are Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Thailand (Siam). Siamese Rubies are usually a browner red colour due to the presence of iron. Thermal or Heat treatment is sometimes used to reduce the iron content and intensify the red colour. Kenya, Afghanistan and Madagascar also have Ruby mines.
Rubies are often heat treated (literally cooked in a furnace) to enhance its colour and burn out inclusions in the stone. Thermal treatment is generally accepted in the Gem market, but natural stones with a vivid red colour and few inclusions will always fetch a higher price.
Due to rubies having a hexagonal structure, Rubies often  show a six point star effect  or asterism under a single source of light when cut into a cabochon (flat back and domed top). These are called star rubies.
Famous Rubies or Ruby jewellery:
1. One of the most famous Rubies is the “Black Prince Ruby” documented back to 1366.King Henry V wore it in his helmet as he fought the French at Agincourt in 1415. Later it was discovered that this Ballast Ruby is actually a red Spinel. Today it is mounted on the front of the British Imperial State crown with the Cullinan II diamond and “Stuart sapphire” and can be seen at the Tower of London

The "Black prince Ruby" a Spinel in the Imperial Crown; Graff Ruby (middle); The Mogok or Alan Caplan Ruby.

2. The Alan Caplan Ruby or the Mogok Ruby is a 15.97-carat untreated Burmese stone cut in a cushion cut. It is virtually eye clean and has an intense red colour approaching the bench mark “pigeon blood “colour.Caplan bought it in Burma and had it cut and polished.In 1988, the ruby was sold to the famous London Jeweller, Laurence Graff on auction at Sotherby's (New York). He paid a record price of $3,630 000 ($227.301 per carat) for it, the highest price ever paid per carat for a Ruby at that time. He mounted the stone in a diamond engagement ring, which was purchased by the Sultan of Brunei for one of his wives.   

3. It was Laurence Graff again who broke the next record for the highest price paid for a ruby in 2006, USD 3,637,480.00 setting a new record price per carat of USD 421,981.43. This ruby is called the Graff Ruby and weighs 8.62ct, a beautiful cushion cut Burmese ruby set in a ring with baguette diamonds.

Magnificent Star Ruby (left) ; The Hope or Lily Safra Ruby Ring (right)

4. The Lily Safra Ruby or the “The Hope Ruby” , a 32.04ct, cushion cut, Burmese Ruby belonged to the philanthropist and billionaire, Lily Saffra. It was set in a ring flanked by diamonds and designed by Chaumet. The ring was sold for $6.7million at Christies, the record for the highest price at an auction for a Ruby ever. The money was donated to charity.

5. The Liberty Bell Ruby is a ruby sculpture shaped like the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia USA with 50 diamonds. It is the largest mined ruby in the world, but is not fine gem quality. Found in East Africa, this 8500ct stone was stolen in 2011 from a jewellery shop in Delaware. The FBI is still looking for it.
6. The Carmen LĂșcia Ruby is a 23.1-carat Burmese ruby, set in a platinum ring and flanked by 2 trillion diamonds. The stone was mined from the fabled Mogok region of Myanmar (Burma) in the 1930s. It was donated in her memory to the Smithsonian Institute by her husband, Peter Buck.

7. Another famous Ruby Jewellery piece must be The Queen's Burmese Ruby Tiara. She received 96 rubies as a wedding gift from the people of Burma (Myanmar). The number 96 is quite significant as the Burmese people believed that there are 96 diseases that can harm the human body and the 96 Rubies will protect her from all ills. Maybe this is why she has reached such a ripe old age? She commissioned this diamond and ruby tiara in 1973 and the rubies had to resemble the English rose.

Libert Bell Ruby Sculpture (left); The Burmese Ruby Tiara (centre); The Carmen Lucia Ruby Ring (right)

8. Real Ruby Slippers were created by Ronald, the son of Harry Winston to commemorate the 50th anniversary of ‘The Wizard of Oz’. The original pair worn by Judy Garland in the film was made of sequins; these ones are made of 4,600 real rubies totaling 1,350 carats and must be one of the most expensive pairs of shoes ever.

Elizabeth Taylor's famous Ruby Collection ; Ruby Slippers by Ronald Winston and Judy Garland in Wizard of Oz.

The Surrealist artist, Salvador Dali designed a few famous jewellery pieces as a sideline. The most famous was probably his “Ruby Lips”, a gold brooch with lips pave set with rubies and pearl teeth. This brooch was created in 1949 and was made by Charles Valliant of New York’s Valliant and Devere. It is the primavera Gallery in New York’s collection, today.
Another Dali Ruby piece is the “Etoile de Mer” or Starfish Brooch.
Salvador Dali's "Ruby Lips" with pearl teeth (left); Original design for Starfish Brooch (centre); "Etoile de Mer" finished piece (right)
Ruby and White Gold Ring; Garnet and star Ruby pendant in 22ct gold; Diamond and Ruby wedding ring with rose gold detail - All by Firepetals

1 comment:

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