Paint the town red: why we love all things ruby!

Paint the town red: why we love all things ruby!

Rubies, with their captivating red hues and storied history, have long been a symbol of wealth, power, and passion. 

Here at Paddington Jeweller we have a soft spot for this famously crimson gem, and in this blog post we'll explore the different types of rubies available, how they are formed, and we might even throw in a few famous faces who are big fans of this gorgeous stone. 

First up however, we want to get one thing straight - rubies, emeralds and sapphires - while they are all siblings, they are in-fact different stones with their own specific chemical and physical properties. Scientifically speaking, rubies and sapphires are the same mineral (corundum). Both are made of alumina and oxygen, rubies are red coloured mainly because of the presence of the chromium element. Sapphires are blue when they contain traces of iron and titanium, however as we have written about before, they can come in a wide array of colours depending on their composition. While rubies vary in colour from deep, blood red to light pink, they always need to have a redness to them to be classed as such. 

A selection of rough, uncut and unpolished rubies are still stunning

Rubies come in several varieties, primarily differentiated by their colour and origin, here’s a few of the more popular ones:

  • Burmese Rubies: Known for their vibrant, pigeon-blood red colour, Burmese rubies from Myanmar are considered the finest in the world.
  • Thai Rubies: These rubies often exhibit a darker, more garnet-like red due to higher iron content.
  • Sri Lankan Rubies: Also known as Ceylon rubies, they are typically lighter and pinker in hue.
  • African Rubies: Rubies from Mozambique and Tanzania are gaining recognition for their quality, with colours ranging from pinkish-red to deep red.
  • Australian Rubies: Yes, you can get Australian-mined rubies! Although they are less common than those from other famous sources, Australian rubies are prized for their unique hues and quality. These rubies are often a darker, more subdued red.

The Cartier ‘Sunrise Ruby’ weighing 25.59 carats sold at Sotheby’s for over $30 million in 2015

Rubies are formed under extreme conditions within the Earth's crust. They are a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide) and owe their red colour to the presence of chromium. The formation process involves:

  • Heat and Pressure: Rubies form in metamorphic rocks such as marble where high temperatures and pressures exist.
  • Chemical Composition: As we mentioned earlier, the red colouration is due to trace amounts of chromium replacing aluminium in the crystal structure.
  • Natural or Synthetic: While natural rubies are mined, synthetic rubies can be created in laboratories using processes like the flux growth and hydrothermal growth processes, mimicking natural conditions.

Did you know that rubies are not only treasured for their beauty but also their durability? Rubies score 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making them second only to diamonds in terms of hardness. This makes them excellent for everyday wear in jewellery.

Rubies have adorned the rich and famous for centuries. Famed actress Elizabeth Taylor was known for her exquisite jewellery collection, she owned a famous ruby and diamond necklace given to her by her husband, Mike Todd.


Royalty was also a big fan of the ruby, Queen Elizabeth II owned the Burmese Ruby Tiara, a stunning piece made with rubies from Burma, gifted by the people of Myanmar.

Here at Paddington Jeweller we have been working with rubies for many years.

Much like many other precious stones, rubies are incredibly versatile, and while they are a premium gem they can be worn every day, all the way through to engagement and special event pieces. We have also specialised in making sure they can be worn in whatever way you desire, take for example, our Yolanda ring. 

This gorgeous ring is a true classic with a hero 1.29ct emerald-cut ruby sitting strikingly forward, framed by two 0.2ct diamonds. 

When designing our pieces, we like to consider their versatility. Take for example, our Seidi set.

Each considered as part of a whole, the Seidi earrings are perfectly complemented 2 round cut rubies weighing 0.40ct, with a diamond halo of 26 diamonds weighing 0.149ct and set proudly in 9kt rose gold. Stunning right? 

If you’re like us and can’t get enough of these stunning crimson beauties, feel free to pop by our store or check out all we have to offer online. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have. 

Happy ruby hunting!

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