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Rubies: Everything you need to know

Rubies, the birthstone of July, are one of the most iconic gemstones. The fiery, deep red hue of rubies has made it a popular gemstone at the forefront of luxury for hundreds of years. Not only are rubies the celebratory stone for 40th Wedding Anniversaries, but they make for beautiful occasion jewellery too. Discover the intrigue of rubies as we explore their past and present, as well as some must-know ruby buying tips below.


Where are rubies from?

Rubies have historically been found in Thailand, Cambodia, India, Afghanistan, Australia, Namibia, Colombia, Japan, Scotland (our home!), Brazil and Pakistan. The stone has also been found in Sri Lanka, where lighter shades of the stone appear (often known as ‘pink sapphires’).


Where are rubies from


History of rubies

The ruby has traditionally been said to represent love, health and wisdom. According to ancient folklore, wearing ruby can protect its wearer, which the Wizard of Oz allures to in Dorothy’s ruby red slippers! In India, they have been known to keep wearers at peace with their enemies. There are also 4 biblical references to rubies, in which they are associated with beauty, wisdom, and good fortune.

ruby ring


Famous rubies

Red spinels were thought to be rubies up until the beginning of the 19th century, and famous gemstones such as the ‘Black Prince’s Ruby’ were considered rubies until it was uncovered that they were in fact red spinels. Famous rubies include the ‘De Long Star Ruby’, and the ‘Edwardes Ruby’. Of course, the most famous ruby reference is Dorothy’s ruby red slippers in the 1939 Wizard of Oz movie.

Ruby necklace


Ruby value

Rubies are one of the most valuable gem stones, and prices vary depending on quality and colour. High quality rubies, weighing over 10 carats, can often sell for more than a diamond of similar size. Some sizeable rubies have sold for more than £170,000 per carat! The most sought-after colour of ruby, and the most valuable, is a deep red colour with a hint of blue, often referred to as ‘pigeon’s blood’ (we think a more prestigious bird could have been chosen!).

In 2015, the Burmese ‘Sunrise Ruby’ sold for a massive £21.3 million!



Ruby buying tips

As with all gemstones, the 4 C’s apply when buying rubies; colour, clarity, cut and carat. A good ruby should have a deep tone with vivid saturation. Evaluate the ruby’s clarity – many rubies contain inclusions (visible materials trapped inside the stone), and most commonly, a clear stone is more valuable. Always select a cut and carat that suits your preference. The cut will alter the way a ruby displays in the light, and the carat is a measurement of the gem’s weight. As with all gem stones, the higher the carat, the higher the price.



McGowans rubies 

Our experienced and friendly team will always help to guide you through the buying process of any gemstone, and will ensure you find the best piece for your taste and budget. You can visit us in store in Glasgow or Aberdeen to discover our range of affordable and beautiful ruby jewellery. We have finance options available too.


We sell a range of stunning ruby jewellery, from rings to pendants and wristwear to earrings. Browse a few of our favourites online, or discover our full selection of ruby in stores.

Our online items only represent a small selection of our stock. Please pop in to any of our stores to see the full collection.

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