Birthstone of the Month: Ruby

Kristen Baird

Another month, another birthstone! July’s birthstone is RUBY. What a gorgeously delicious red gemstone! While I don’t stock many ruby pieces in my “ready-to-ship” jewelry lines, I do love them and work with rubies frequently in my commissioned work. Before we dive into the jewelry I’ve made using this stunning stone, let’s first talk about the ruby itself!

What IS a Ruby?

Ruby is one of the four precious gemstones⁠—the others being emerald, sapphire, and diamond. The word ruby comes from the Latin word "rubens" meaning red. For the lover of science and technical formulas, rubies are made of corundum and get their red coloring from trace amounts of chromium. Pretty cool, huh? Thailand is one of the leading hubs for ruby mining and production with other countries including Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and India contributing as well.

History and Lore

Rubies symbolize power and protection. When worn as a talisman, ruby was believed to help protect warriors in battle. A modern allusion to this legend is from The Wizard of Oz with Dorthy's ruby slippers protecting her from evil. The Bible associates these gems with beauty and wisdom, and according to ancient folklore, people of India believed rubies would help them be at peace with their enemies.

Mohs Scale

Something I LOVE about ruby, as a material, is how durable it is. Ruby measures 9 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, second only to diamond and matched with sapphire. I like to share with clients just how well-wearing the ruby is. And, of course, the jewel tone color makes it even better! Its strength and stability also make it very easy to clean and it is less prone to surface scratches due to the hardness. Overall, ruby is a gemstone that will last a lifetime and then some!

Commissioned Work

I have had the honor of creating many one-of-a-kind, custom ruby designs as part of my commissioning process. The stories each of my clients have about their rubies are rich and beautiful, so I’d like to share a few of them below.

Mother + Daughter Pendants: A father came to me with an incredibly sweet idea for a Christmas gift for his wife and their daughter. On a family trip several months before, they had mined two rubies together, and he wanted to have them set in matching mother/daughter pendant necklaces. He was looking for something rustic and textured, yet sparkly and elegant. After we worked together during the commission process, on Christmas day, the pendants made their debut with much excitement and fanfare. The recipients were overjoyed! It's always fun to receive emails with a happy customer's feedback.

Radiant Ruby Redesign: Another customer came to me with a ruby ring she had received as a gift years ago from her father in honor of her birthstone. Because the ring’s band was so thin, it warped and bent. She was no longer wearing it but wanted the stone repurposed into something wearable and fit for her active lifestyle. She really loved the look of our stacking rings, so I sent her some sketches of stacker combos, and we ended up resetting her ruby into a triple stack ring set. The 18K yellow gold popped the color so nicely and the diamonds...well you can’t go wrong there! The new set radiantly highlighted the ruby, and the client could not have been happier with this new gift to herself!

Mother + Daughter Necklace Set: Most recently, I created a necklace set for another mother and daughter duo. We used rubies in both necklaces as a nod to the daughter’s birthstone. The mother’s necklace is a series of three sterling silver flowers with a ruby in the center of each to represent the three members of her family. The daughter’s necklace has one sterling silver flower pendant with a single ruby in the center. On the back of each necklace, I inscribed the daughter’s initials. Both mother and daughter were thrilled with the final products!

Final Thoughts

Rubies are the fiery staple of the gemstone world. What sets this stone apart from other gemstones is the ruby's inherent beauty. As a designer, I truly love to work with rubies because of how extremely durable they are—and yes, also because they’re so pretty and colorful! I don’t like to play favorites, but the ruby is one gemstone all jewelry lovers should have in their collections! Can’t get enough of my rubies? Check out this video, below, of a ruby engagement ring I made a few years ago. Enjoy! 

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