Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rubies - The Gemstone of Royalty That Isn't Just For Princesses

Not only did Sarah Ferguson get to have the proposal of most little girls dreams, but her Prince also managed to carry it off with infinite style by opting for rubies. Wanting to find an engagement ring to adequately express his love, Prince Andrew chose to design the ring himself with the help of famous Royal jewellers, Garrard, and together they created a fabulous pigeon-blood red ruby diamond ring to match the hue of her hair.

Throughout the centuries, the ruby has always enjoyed a long royal heritage. One of the most regal of rubies is the Chhatrapati Manik which dates back over 2000 years. At this time, the King of what was then Ujjain in India, Sri Raja Bir Vikramaditya, commissioned a crown to be made according to Jyotish system of astrology. Nine specially selected gemstones were chosen, as Indian tradition denotes the number as having magical power,and thegreat ruby was placed at the centre. Representative of the sun, the ruby was believed to have particularly strong potential.

Not to be outdone, several hundreds of years later, the Iranian Crown jewels too boasted some pretty impressive examples of ruby jewellery. Nasseridin Shah, the Persion ruler from 1848 to 1896, created an especially novel way of keeping track of his jewels. He had so many rubies that he devised the ingenious plan of creating a globe in which the rubies would indicate thecontinents, while emeralds illustrate the oceans. A total of 51,000 gemstones were used and in this way he was able to check that none were stolen, as to remove one would leave a gaping hole.

After occupying Burma for some time, England was privy to some of the worlds finest rubies as Burma is one the predominant sources inthe world. As a result, nestled within the British crown jewels is some breath-taking specimens. In fact up until the 1900s when George IV replaced it with a sapphire, the coronation ring consisted in part of a large, table cut ruby which boasted the engraving of the St. Georges Cross. One of the most famous rubies by far is the Black Princes Ruby which is mounted on front of the Imperial State Crown and kept at the Tower of London. However, it is now known that itis actually a spinel, which are less valuable and more common then rubies.

While not exactly a true blue blood, Elizabeth Taylor is royalty nonetheless and has managed to own her fair share of spectacular ruby jewelry over the years. The Queen of Hollywood owned several pieces including those given to her by ex-husbands, Richard Burton and Mike Todd. The latteronce surprised her as she swam in her pool (wearing a tiara!) with a pair of diamond ruby earrings, ruby bracelet and a ruby necklace and she said of them them that they "blazed like fire".

Thankfully, beautiful items of jewellery such as gold ruby earrings, are now even more accessible then ever before and with the rapid growth of online jewellers, prices on these warm, vibrant stones are more affordable then ever before, so you no longer need to be a Princess to own your own ruby studs.

Michelle Elkins is regular writer for The Diamond, an online jewellery store which supplies ruby earrings and diamond ruby earrings at a fraction of high street prices.

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