red_gem_stone_4.jpg
Jewelry

The Timeless Allure of Rubies

By Sotheby's

R ich in colour, regal in stature, historic in its past – the ruby is legendary. Discovered more than 2,000 years ago, rubies have been written about for centuries.

From the Bible to entries from the great adventurers such as Marco Polo, rubies have stirred emotion and captured imagination throughout time.

Believed to hold the power of life, this majestic gem can be traced back to Burma, a source of rubies since 600 AD. Top grade rubies are called ‘pigeon blood’ after the vivid bright red that they display. Signifying wealth, success and health, rubies have been worn by historic figures throughout history.

In ancient Sanskrit, the ruby is called 'Ratnaraj' or 'King of Precious Stones', and was worn by ancient warriors for protection, and royalty to symbolise their majesty.

A ruby’s chemical properties are identical to sapphires except in colour. Because of its hardness on the Mohs scale, rubies are the perfect gemstone to be cut into different shapes and sizes and then crafted into a piece of jewellery.

For centuries, European royalty have collected some of the world’s most prized rubies to adorn their jewels. From The Sunrise Ruby (sold at Sotheby’s, world record price for a ruby), to a collection of jewels from the Royal Parma Family, rubies are highly esteemed for their mystique and beauty.

Discover rare unheated rubies in Sotheby's Jewels Online: The Red Gem Edit online sale, from 25 January to 1 February 2019.

Less than 10% of all gem quality rubies are unheated, making them rare and impressive. Darker rubies are more common and are often heated to enhance their shade, but unheated rubies are naturally intense and vibrant. In particular, rubies from Burma react to UV light which creates a fire and natural glow in the stone in sunlight, one of the reasons Burmese rubies are so highly valued.

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos & news.
Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

More from Sotheby's

Dazzling Jewels

We use our own and third party cookies to enable you to navigate around our Site, use its features and engage on social media, and to allow us to perform analytics, remember your preferences, provide services that you have requested and produce content and advertisements tailored to your interests, both on our Site as well as others. For more information, or to learn how to change your cookie or marketing preferences, please see our updated Privacy Policy & Cookie Policy.

Close