Whether it’s the rush of rouge on the runway or an auburn blush of a high-street peacoat, red is very much in right now.
But there’s one resurgence of red that isn’t limited to the autumn season: the rise of rubies.
In the last twelve months, rubies have gone from a timeless accessory to an essential component of any fashion-lover’s wardrobe. They featured prominently in recent high jewellery collections displayed at the French houses in Paris, proving that rubies can’t be tamed — and now they’re the star of the show.
So what is it that’s led to this renewed interest in today’s hottest gemstone? And how can you use rubies to reignite your look? The experts at Hancocks Jewellers tell all.
Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but rubies got there first.
In fact, the first use of rubies in jewellery can be traced all the way back to the Bible. They’re referenced in Ezekiel 27 as a precious stone used to barter for goods with merchants in Syria. They were first brought to Europe from Myanmar by explorers like Marco Polo and Jean Tavernier, where their vibrant colour was believed to hold the power of life.
The popularity of rubies grew quickly and became a hit with European nobility. Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Grace of Monaco and the Duchess of Windsor all sport rubies in their royal adornments, and they’ll continue to be a part of their regal legacies.
Rubies have been desirable since antiquity, but demand in the past few years has spiked far beyond the usual trend. But why?
Part of the reason is that there are more rubies available than there have ever been before. In 2009, a consistent supply of the precious stones was unearthed in Mozambique. The mine that produced the rubies was thankfully owned by the Gemfields Group, who are renowned for their ethical transparency.
This new abundant supply, combined with fewer concerns over ethical sourcing, meant that designers could start putting together exciting new collections based on rubies. But when the collections were a hit, demand began to soar.
As a result, the value of rubies has increased fourfold in the last five years alone. That means ruby-based jewellery will reliably hold, or even increase in value in the future.
Rubies are the colour of fire and blood, so they’re not for the timid. If you know how to wear them boldly, they’ll endow you with all the passion and romance for which these gemstones are renowned.
The best way to get the most out of rubies is to pair them with an outfit that uses mainly neutral tones. Soft whites and light greys allow your rubies to pop in contrast. Remember, rubies aren’t trying to blend in: they want to stand out as much as possible, so stick to pastels and earth tones.
Here are some of our favourite examples of pieces that put rubies right where they should be: front and centre.
The vibrant, rich red of the large ruby centrepiece makes this ring immediately eye-catching.
The pairing with the yellow gold, combined with the ruby’s oval cut, gives the piece a classic, timeless feel, while the brilliant shoulder-mounted diamonds give it a contemporary flair.
Its all finished with 18ct white gold claw settings to make for a truly impressive ring.
This 18ct yellow gold leaf-shaped brooch has been painstakingly crafted for an effortless finish.
The gemstones in this piece — rubies, pink sapphires and brilliant-cut diamonds — have been expertly selected to create a wave of colour that graduates from rare white to a deep pink blush.
The stones are placed closely together in a pavé setting to create the illusion of a surface completely covered in gemstones. While the colour is subtle, the design is vibrant and unique. Use it to pull your outfit together as it sits front and centre.
This ruby and diamond bracelet is a modern take on a classic style. The four oval rubies make their mark with blood-red tones, separated by diamond threads in white gold claw settings.
The white gold here is what offers a contemporary spin. Rubies were traditionally paired with yellow gold, especially on bracelets. The white gold and radiant diamonds give the wearer a wider range of options, particularly when matching with modern styles.
The grand return of rubies is something to be deeply excited about. It represents an embrace of a renewed vigour for jewellery that prefers a shout over a whisper, in styles that are unabashedly bold.
Are you ready to reinvent yourself in red? See the latest ruby pieces at Hancocks.