Rubies have been admired and sought after for centuries, however, the industry is once again seeing a boom with an increasing number of people choosing to opt for the precious stone over other options such as diamonds.
A little-known fact about rubies is that they are actually the most expensive jewels in the world, with historical significance across many cultures and civilizations over several millennia. They are often associated with qualities like passion, power, and protection which is why they have been a go-to choice for many rich and famous clients. From the “Sunrise Ruby”, worn by Elizabeth Taylor, which was gifted to her by Richard Burton to the “Necklace of the Burmese Rubies,” a gift from the people of Myanmar to Queen Elizabeth II. Indeed, as Sahil Jethwani a partner at Meena Jewellers explains: “Rubies have played a significant role in the evolution of jewellery for many centuries. The origin of rubies as a valuable gemstone can be traced back as early as the first century. The stone’s popularity stems from its rarity and its associations with wealth, power and love.”
Although diamonds are now associated with engagement rings, it is still a relatively new concept. In the late 19th century, the famous jewellery house Tiffany & Co. unveiled the world’s first-ever advertising campaign which associated the diamond ring with a marriage proposal. However, historically, rubies held equal if not even greater footing than their shiny cousin. The Romans were the first group to use rings as a symbol of matrimony. At their wedding ceremony two rings would be exchanged – one with diamonds, the other with rubies. Both symbolise a lasting bond. In recent years, increasing demand has seen rubies return to the forefront of romantic proposals. Many celebrities including Eva Longoria and Jessica Simpson have recently chosen rubies over traditional rings.”Celebrities often choose rubies over diamonds because they are a unique and eye-catching choice. Rubies also have a long history and symbolism associated with love, passion, and excitement,” Jethwani explains. “Many customers are shifting from diamonds to pure ruby engagement rings. Mainly because they are a direct symbol of love,” he says.
A shift towards Quiet Luxury could also be at the root of the increased interest in rubies, Jethwani suggests: “I have definitely noticed an increase in the number of people buying rubies over other jewels, especially for special occasions such as engagements and Christmas. I have also noticed a trend towards more minimalist clothing and statement-making jewellery, which rubies are perfect for.”
‘The rubies that sell particularly well in our business are those with a deep red colour, good clarity, and an excellent cut. Customers also look for rubies from specific regions, such as Myanmar and Thailand,’ he continues.
Alongside the Quiet Luxury trend, social media has also impacted the gemstone market. The accessibility on social media to an unlimited number of jewellery houses has ramped up competitiveness between suppliers, who seek to offer better quality stones and unusual pieces which attract customers. “ Social media has fundamentally changed the relationship between businesses and consumers. “One of the biggest changes I believe is how easy it is for consumers to learn about and compare businesses. Consumers are spoilt for choice and the responsibility is on businesses to deliver a high-quality customer experience,” Jethwani explains.
Ultimately, the popularity of rubies within the gemstone industry is not something that is expected to slow down anytime soon, either: “Rubies are a popular choice for those who want to make a bold statement with colour,” says Jethwani. “The rich red colour of rubies provides a striking contrast when paired with subtler pieces. Rubies are also rarer than diamonds, which makes them even more desirable for some customers and also makes them a good investment as they tend to hold their value over time.”
Image credits: Scott Webb – Unsplash, Joel Filipe – Unsplash, Jason D – Unsplash