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Article: Unveiling the Rich Heritage of Ruby Jewelry: A Journey through its Fascinating History

Ruby Jewelry

Unveiling the Rich Heritage of Ruby Jewelry: A Journey through its Fascinating History

Ruby is a gemstone that needs no introduction. Rubies have been adored by many cultures throughout history, from east to west and everywhere in between. The fiery red color evokes feelings of passion and charm. Ruby's red has been compared with a red rose and romance. Rubies have long been associated with royalty, beauty, and luxury. Ruby jewelry has been traded across Asia and the wider world since prehistoric times.

Ruby Ring


Stone Age Miners

Archaeologists have identified stone and bronze tools used for mining in the Mogok region of what is modern-day Myanmar. This region is known to the locals as: "The Valley of Rubies". Evidence of mining dating back to pre-history is extensive. Ruby's hardness is hard to overstate. The sheer effort it would have taken these pre-historic miners, working with just basic stone tools, to dig out and retrieve the rubies from the mine is incredible and shows the lengths people will go to to get their hands on these most valuable precious stones!

Burmese Rubies

Burma (Myanmar) was the primary source of high-quality ruby in the ancient world. Ancient Chinese merchants would trade these rubies along the Silk Road and they were sought after by everyone. Warriors throughout Asia would often adorn their armor or even their bodies with ruby, in the belief that ruby would grant the wearer protection in battle and keep them safe from harm. 

It was not uncommon for warriors to insert the rubies into their flesh, instead of wearing pendants or necklaces to further protect themselves. Fine rubies were considered a perfect gift to give to loved ones in ancient China, as these were regarded as a good-luck charm and would bring the recipient good fortune.
Ruby earrings

Indian Ruby History

Throughout the Indian Subcontinent, ruby was perhaps the most valuable precious stone one could obtain. In the Sanskrit language, ruby is known as 'Ratnaraj' or 'King of the Precious Stones'. Indian worshippers of Krishna would leave rubies as symbolic offerings at temples or idols in the belief that they may be reincarnated as powerful kings or emperors. The Kalpa Tree is a wish-fulfilling tree common to Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism, which is frequently depicted as being made of gold, diamond, emerald, and other gems which bear ruby as its fruit.

Indian jewelry from throughout the ages contains rubies and many pieces of fine art containing gold, white gold, rubies, and other gemstones were created during the days of the Mughal empire.
During the Middle Ages, with the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the European world was in turmoil and a great deal of knowledge had been lost. The Mongols, who had dominated their way from East to West, conquering all they had encountered were not immune from the charm of ruby jewelry. Kublai Khan, the grandson of Ghengis Khan, who was the first Mongol who rose to power in China, is said to have offered to trade a large city for a particularly exquisite ruby. 
Ruby Jewelry

European Ruby History

In Europe, there was a prevailing belief that ruby and other gemstones were sentient with character traits of their own. People would have found carved gems and jewelry dating from the glory days of Rome before their time but assumed that these were natural. According to mineralogist George Frederick Kunz, a 13th-century author named Ragiel wrote: "The beautiful and terrible figure of a dragon. If this is found on a ruby or any other stone of similar nature and virtue, it has the power to augment the goods of this world and makes the wearer joyous and healthy."

It can be difficult to discern which red gem is which when reading ancient texts, as gems were often sorted simply by color. Therefore a lot of the properties associated with carnelian, carbuncles, garnet, and ruby overlap.

Ruby hook earrings

Ruby & Royalty

Royalty around the world throughout the ages has chosen ruby jewelry, ruby necklaces, ruby earrings, and ruby rings, as everyday wear. Master craftsmen have been asked to create diamond, gold, and ruby-encrusted jewels, crowns, scepters, and more to showcase the different rulers' styles as evidence of their power and status. A perfect ruby ring would be a must-have for any king or queen's collection. A ruby would rank among diamond and gold with many of the most intricate pieces combining gold and ruby to create styles or patterns. 

These styles change depending on the era, the country, and the particular fashion of the day but no matter who was on the throne, ruby was incorporated into all of the styles imaginable. Queen Elizabeth II owned a large collection of ruby jewelry throughout her life. She inherited the Crown Ruby Necklace, originally a gift from Prince Albert to his wife, Queen Victoria. She bought the Baring Ruby Necklace in 1964 and during a State dinner with President Donald Trump at Buckingham Palace she wore a ruby tiara.
Ruby History

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