Ruby Engagement Rings:
Blood-red rubies have always been associated with love and fiery passion, making a ruby engagement ring an excellent alternative to one with diamonds. As far back as the Roman era, rings with colored stones were worn to symbolize friendship or other relationships, and during Medieval times, rubies, which are the color of the heart, became a popular choice for rings that were given as a sign of love.
Ruby engagement rings - a little history!
Ruby engagement rings can have a more personal connection as well. It's the birthstone for people born in July. Also, according to Hindu legend, a Capricorn - someone born between December 22-January 20 - who wears a ruby will never know trouble (an excellent omen for starting out a marriage!). Other cultures link rubies with a different Zodiac sign, Taurus (people born between April 21-May 20). And ruby engagement rings were suddenly in vogue with people born at any time of year after England's Prince Andrew gave a ruby-and-diamond ring to Sarah Ferguson when they became engaged in 1986.
Rubies are known to be hard, durable and wearable, making ruby engagement rings an excellent choice for brides-to-be. When selecting a ruby engagement ring, keep in mind that rubies weigh more than diamonds - so a one-carat ruby will look smaller than a one-carat diamond. Size and shape and setting certainly matter, but the most important quality to consider in a ruby engagement ring is color. Look at a variety of rubies, both loose and pre-set, in order to develop an eye for all the color variables - hue (a ruby of course is red), intensity (how bright and vivid is the color?), tone (is the stone light or dark?) and distribution (how evenly the color is distributed across the stone).
The color of the stone in a ruby engagement ring can look very different, depending on the kind of light and the environment - it can even be affected by the color of clothes you're wearing! Fluorescent light diminishes the red tone in a ruby engagement ring, while daylight can enhance it. Look at a ruby engagement ring (or loose ruby) in a variety of lighting circumstances and while wearing different clothes to make sure you'll be happy with the color of the stone whenever and wherever you wear it.
Most contemporary commercially-sold rubies have been heated to enhance their color; heat can darken or lighten color and improve the overall brightness of the stone. Be sure that a skilled gemologist examines the stone in your ruby engagement ring to verify that any heat processing is permanent and the stone's color won't change over time.
When buying a ruby engagement ring, it's also essential to have the stone tested for authenticity. High-quality synthetic rubies have been manufactured since the early 1900s, and there are now methods for making synthetics that are very hard to distinguish from the real thing. A professional appraiser will be able to tell if the stone in a ruby engagement ring is genuine and can also evaluate its other qualities.