Antique Ruby Engagement Rings

Rubies are some of the most beautiful and valuable gemstones in the world, and have been the treasures of kings and queens since they were first discovered. They are amongst the rarest precious stones, with the most spectacular examples often surpassing all others in terms of value.

If you are considering your proposal and want to make it truly special it is worth considering an antique ruby engagement ring. We’ve put together this short guide to give you a little more information to help you make your decision.

What are Rubies?

Uncut Rubies

Rubies are a very specific variety of the mineral corundum, an extremely tough transparent gemstone that forms deep within the earth’s surface under extreme heat and pressure. There are many different colours of corundum, but all except the red variety are known as sapphires. Rubies and sapphires can both be pink, and the distinction between them is not entirely set in stone, if you’ll pardon the phrase. In general gemmologists tend to view deep pink corundum as a pink ruby, whereas pale pink corundum is labelled as a sapphire.

Rubies were once considered to be one of the five cardinal gems, with value and beauty that outshone all other precious stones. The others are sapphire, diamond, emerald and amethyst, but rubies are the rarest of these.

Antique Ruby Diamond Ring

The most highly prized rubies show a stark blood red colour and are free from inclusions. Some such stones have adorned the crown jewels of various monarchies for centuries, but modern chemical testing has revealed many not to be true rubies.

Before the advent of modern science a great variety of stones were mistaken for rubies, including spinel, garnet and even topaz, but today gemmologists have the ability to make the distinction certain in a laboratory. Every ruby in circulation which is found not to be a true ruby further increases the real stones value as their scarcity increases.

Antique Rubies

Antique Ruby Diamond Ring

Jewellers have worked with ruby since ancient times, as it is not only beautiful but extremely robust. The hardness of a ruby is only exceeded by a diamond, which makes it the perfect gemstone to include in items such as rings which are likely to see consistent wear, and which may take the occasional knock.

The stone’s incredibly durability means that even the oldest pieces of ruby jewellery are usually in good condition. Metalwork may eventually require repair, but the stone itself is eternal, which makes it the ideal gemstone for romantic gifts and expressions of lasting love.

Rubies are tough enough to be cut into the same elaborate cuts that a diamond can take, which means that they can have a large number of intricate and precise facets. When paired with clever, open metal fittings this means that the slightest movement of the wearer’s hand will be enough to set off a cascade of sparkling red.

Ruby Engagement Rings

Antique Ruby Diamond Ring worn

The ruby is spectacular on its own, but when a jeweller has the opportunity to create a ring with such a rare and precious material the tendency is to do whatever they can to magnify the character of the stone. For this reason ruby rings often have an accompaniment of diamonds, either one to either side or a ring of smaller diamonds in a halo surrounding the stone. The sparkle of a diamond comes from the unique way that it refracts light, an effect called scintillation, and when they are placed in proximity to a ruby this causes the diamond to scatter light into the crimson stone and accentuate its colour.

Over the centuries many different techniques have been applied to working with ruby, and in the modern age there are many machines that can aid a skilled gem cutter in creating something truly remarkable in a relatively short time. Whilst this doesn’t diminish the skill of the jeweller it is a fact that in previous ages the craftsman would have had to work with incredible dedication and precision over many days to get the best from their stone. This care and attention can be seen in the way that the jeweller has lavished attention on a piece. Georgian jewellers had to painstakingly cut and finish their stone with hand tools, and even the Victorians and Edwardians were working with early industrial revolution technology.

Antique Ruby Diamond Ring

It is this remarkable tenacity and devotion to their art that sets the antique ruby ring apart from its modern counterpart. A contemporary jeweller can create an array of pieces in the time it took a historic worker to make a single piece. If there is one thing that is to be wished when embarking on a new stage in a relationship it is that both partners will be as devoted to it as these skilled professionals were to the ring that symbolises it.

You can find our collection of ruby engagement rings here.

Looking for a particular piece? Why not get in touch and see what our team can do for you? Call us on England: 0333 700 4500; or send us an email at