There’s no doubt that rubies are a beautiful gemstone, no matter what the jewelry occasion. Even a wedding engagement! It’s become a growing trend in modern society today to choose colored engagement rings that are less traditional than diamonds. Yes, diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but move over diamonds. She’s got room for new friends too, like the ruby.
If you are looking at engagement rings and trying to find the perfect one for you, consider going an unconventional route by swapping out the traditional diamond for an emerald green engagement ring or a stunning ruby engagement ring. These are timeless and unique, serving as the perfect piece of jewelry for everyday wear. Below, we will be covering the ruby engagement ring meaning along with other important facts on this unique and timeless shade.
What are Rubies?
Ruby is a word that comes from the Latin word “Ruben,” which means “red.”
Rubies are actually red sapphires, one of the 8 gemstones from the Corundum family. In fact, if a ruby is any other color but red, it’s no longer called a ruby, it’s called a sapphire. To be called a ruby, a sapphire must be somewhere between orange-red and purple-red. The color pink is considered the boundary between a ruby and a sapphire.
Rubies are extremely hard and durable, much like diamonds. They rank as a 9.0 in Mohs Hardness, just shy of the same level of hardness as a diamond, with no cleavage. That makes them the second hardest gemstone on Earth, with little risk of breaking, chipping, or cracking. They are also heat, chemical, and light-resistant, which is a big plus to getting one of these fiery stones.
Their durability certainly makes keeping them clean easier, since they are less prone to damage. This is provided they have not received poor enhancements that have decreased their stability.
Rubies are considered one of the four main precious stones, alongside their friends the sapphire, the emerald, and the diamond.
Some of the most beautiful and bright rubies in the world are found in countries like Burma, Australia, India, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand, Russia, Madagascar, and the U.S. Currently, Burmese rubies are considered the most valuable, although the value landscape is changing fast and the value of rubies from other countries is increasing.
Every fiery ruby has its own unique color tone and shade — the deeper and clearer the red color, the more valuable the ruby. However, keep in mind that lab-created rubies are not nearly as valuable as unheated, natural gemstones. The good news is that rubies with a deep red hue hold their value exceptionally well, which makes them a great investment!
History of the Ruby
According to history, the first diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy in 1477 by one Archduke Maximillian of Austria. They were elusive and hard to find for generations, making them supremely valuable.
Eventually, miners discovered more diamonds in African mines, and diamonds quickly became the preferred engagement ring accouterment in America during the 1930s.
Even through the Great Depression, diamonds held their popularity and value, making them a great investment during hard times and sought after as cherished family heirlooms to be passed down through the ages.
Alongside the beautiful diamond, rubies reigned with equal popularity. In the 17th and 18th centuries, rubies and diamonds were often paired together as a symbol of eternal love and enduring strength.
Jewelers designed romantic looking engagement rings with rubies as side stones and diamonds as the center stone. In order to make engagement rings more cost-friendly, they began making rubies the center stones and using small diamonds as the side stones, which is still a popular trend even today, especially for the budget-minded. Whether you are looking for small engagement rings or stunning dark red hue rings, the ruby is an excellent choice for anyone looking to buy a unique yet timeless wedding band.
In modern times, one of the most famous instances of a ruby engagement ring is that which was given by Prince Andrew to the Duchess of York, Fergie.
Ruby Engagement Ring Meaning
There are a lot of things rubies are said to symbolize. Some believe them to be a visual embodiment of passionate, undying love. Many of the women who chose rubies throughout the ages were seen as highly passionate women with a flair for drama and excitement. The ruby is the perfect gemstone to symbolize a bold and beautiful bride.
Some legends even say that rubies are fire that’s been hardened, and they hold the power to kindle a heart’s desire and that it's even capable of reconciling lovers who might be fighting.
This might be because they are thought to have metaphysical properties that collect and amplify light and energy, bringing feelings of contentment and peace to the one who wears it. When lovers are quarreling, rubies are also believed to turn darker in color, although this is mere ruby lore.
Some believe that rubies are linked closely to the energy of the sun, and wearers will experience a surge in fresh passion, power, and vitality. This same energy is also thought to stimulate the chakra of the heart, detoxify the blood and body, and help bring emotional and physical balance to the wearer.
Rubies have even been used for physical healing and, in powdered form, was used during the 13th century to treat liver diseases.
Rubies are thought to radiate sexual energy as well, stoking the libido and encouraging sexual activity. Yet another reason they are so popular with couples that are about to be married!
Other things rubies symbolize are warmth and the life of humankind, love, trust, devotion, integrity, happiness, courage, vitality, truth, and uniqueness. Some even go so far as to label the ruby as the “Stone of Nobility.” Others call the ruby the “King of Gems.”
Value of a Ruby
Ruby engagement rings can vary in price. It depends on the color of the stone, its shape and weight, it’s size, and it’s hue. The deeper and more transparent the red color, with an even saturation, the more valuable the ruby. The ruby with excellent color is referred to as Pigeon blood because the hue is so deep and saturated, it looks like fresh pigeon blood.
Cut plays an important role too, as with any gemstone. You need a skilled, precise cut to make the most of the stone so that it’s worth its maximum. While you can get synthetic rubies of varying sizes, you won’t normally find a natural ruby that exceeds 3 carats. Any larger than that is extremely rare.
In Asian cultures, rubies are extremely prized. In India, rubies are very popular, symbolizing great power. Many India royals wear rubies for this very reason and use rubies as a gift to honor deities. They believe that if you bring rubies to Krishna, in your next life, you will be reborn as an Emperor.
You can also find rubies in the crowns of British royals, so it’s not just Asian cultures who believe in the power of rubies!
Settings for a Ruby
Since rubies come in different shades of red, they can be compatible with different types of metals. However, remember that the deeper and more transparent the red, the more valuable the ruby.
This vibrant red color typically pairs well with settings of rose or yellow gold. However, rubies also look beautiful with palladium and platinum options, if that’s your preference. Keep in mind that white gold is probably not a wise choice, especially if your ruby has a poor enhancement label. White gold rings require maintenance with rhodium plating every 3 years, and this process can be damaging.
Vintage styles and designs look great with rubies as the centerpiece, but so do more modern styles and designs. You can also pair rubies with other gemstones if you want, but that can become a little busy, so it must be done with care and taste.
To avoid a big clash, make sure all your other bridal jewelry compliments your ruby engagement ring. Rubies command attention, so don’t be afraid to let your ruby engagement ring stand out.
Enhancements to Rubies
Sometimes rubies are “enhanced” to achieve a certain tone, quality, and color.
E or H Labels
Rubies with this label have a strong stability rating and don’t need much in the way of maintenance. Heat has been used to improve the appearance and color, and if you find one with either of these labels, you can trust you’ve found a pretty good ruby.
This label unfortunately can decrease your ruby’s value. The ruby’s surface is filed with lead glass, to help improve smoothness and minimize fractures. You can’t expose rubies with this label to high heat or pressure, or you could damage it.
D or R Labels
The stability of rubies with a D or R label is quite poor. It means that it’s been dyed and irradiated, and cannot be exposed to high pressure or heat, or household cleaning products. It’s definitely the least attractive choice when considering ruby enhancements.
Are Rubies Good for Engagement Rings?
The short answer is yes, they certainly are. And with celebrities like Rihanna and Mila Kunis flaunting them, and billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg jumping on the bandwagon and giving his wife a 5 carat ruby engagement ring, their popularity is only expected to rise. Check out Diamond Nexus to find gorgeous rubies that will make a statement!
*Here at Diamond Nexus, we strive to provide valuable information while being clear and honest about our products. The Nexus Diamond™ alternative is a patented lab created diamond simulate that, among all simulants, most closely imitates the look, weight and wear of a diamond, with two exceptions - it is absolutely perfect in every way, and it costs significantly less. Price points and environmental facts expressed in this blog were taken from popular online retailers and may vary. Learn more about the environmental impact of mining by visiting our blog.