18K gold ring with a large central ruby, surrounded by sapphires, diamonds, and emeralds, American, circa 1940-50. Hoffman-Gampetro gallery.
Dorothy didn’t know it but when she first put on her ruby-encrusted slippers in The Wizard of Oz, the magic of the land passed to her. There have been many interpretations of the meaning behind Dorothy’s ruby slippers (changed from silver in the books) but one reason is clear: rubies are the gemstone of power. July’s birthstone, the ruby is known as Ratnanayaka in Sanskrit, the lord of the gemstones, and those who donate rubies to honor the god Krishna are said to be reborn as emperors in future lives. In ancient China, an official’s rank was indicated by the color of his ruby ring; the deeper the red, the higher his position. Even today, the deep “pigeons blood-red” is the most valuable hue of ruby.
A 6-piece German silver table garniture with ruby red glass liners in the Neoclassical style. AAA Silver.
Derived from the Latin word ruber, meaning “red,” the ruby has always been history’s most-valued gemstone across cultures, commanding high prices due to its scarcity and bold beauty. In England, rubies were used in coronation rings and still enjoy high popularity among royalty; the Duchess of York’s engagement ring was famously a ruby. As a color that represents passionate love and as well as sovereignty and protection, rubies are also a popular choice for engagement rings and the traditional wedding anniversary gift for a couple’s 15th and 40th year. See here for some of our favorite pieces using the stone known in Asian lore as “a drop of the heart’s blood of Mother Earth.”
Tiffany pin, fashioned as a sea urchin, 18K gold, diamond and ruby, American, circa 1980. Clifford Baron.
David Webb long necklace, 18K gold, cabachon emeralds, rubies and sapphires. circa 1960. Samuel Saidian & Sons.
Cartier ruby and diamond 18K gold bandring from the “Panthere” collection, with presentation box. France, circa. 1980s. Botier Inc.
Franc Corrola panther bracelet, enamel, rubies, gold and diamonds, Italy, circa 1960. Samuel Saidian & Sons.
Andrew Clunn, head designer for David Webb, 18K gold hand-hammered shell design earrings, with Burmese rubies & full cut diamonds, American, 1960s. Antique Reflections.
Cut ruby glass vase with aqua colored bottom, Czechoslovakia, c. 1940. Robin’s Antiques.