Two Antique 19th Century Handcrafted Genuine Natural Faceted Blood Red Ruby Ovals. Mounted into contemporary high quality sterling silver studs.
ORIGIN: Handcrafted in Russia, 19th Century.
SIZE: Length: 6mm. Width: 5mm. Depth: 3mm. Measurements approximate.
WEIGHT: 1.81 carats.
NOTE: These earring settings are also available in solid 14kt gold. Other setting styles (euro clicks, lever backs, kidney wires, ball/stud dangles) are available upon request, both in sterling silver, as well as 14kt solid gold and in 14kt gold fill.
NOTE: If you would like only the gemstones, and not the settings, we can dismount the gemstones and offer you the gemstones without the settings. Just let us know, and yes, we’ll discount the price by the cost of the settings.
DETAIL: The Bible makes numerous mentions of ruby, first as one of the twelve precious stones created by God when he created mankind. Ruby is then described as “the lord of gems” when one was given to Aaron on the command of God. And ruby adorned Aaron's breastplate and was symbol of Judah. The Bible also frequently states that the high value of ruby was only exceeded by wisdom and by virtuous women, implying that ruby indeed was exceptionally valuable. In the classical world, rubies from Afghanistan, Ceylon, were traded in the ancient port cities of the Eastern Mediterranean (often by Phoenicians), and from there traveled throughout Europe.
Celebrating our cultural and religious legacy here are two nice quality 19th century antique hand faceted oval cut rubies. The cut is also sometimes referred to as an oval within the trade. The gemstones were hand crafted by a 19th century Russian artisan, part of an heritage renown for the production of the elaborate gemstones and jewelry of the Czars of Medieval, Renaissance, and Victorian Russia. Originally used in indigenous jewelry, these sparkling precious gemstones are transparent, not translucent, with a highly desirable blood red color, and vibrant sparkles of fiery, brilliant red flashes. They are "eye clean" to the cursory inspection of the casual admirer, (or "near eye clean" to detailed scrutiny), and possess a transparent character as opposed to being a lower value translucent ruby. Of course most ruby gemstones are characteristically anywhere from lightly to heavily infested with blemishes which can range from colorless crystalline material to black specks of carbon.
Unfortunately most transparent "rubies" sold even by the largest and most reputable retailers in the United States are synthetic (read the fine print; and the same is true of emeralds and sapphires). While these particular specimens might not be anywhere near flawless, to casual scrutiny it is at least "eye clean" or "near eye clean" to more critical examination. There are some blemishes in the form of minute seams of colorless crystalline material, the only really significant one running from one end of the gemstones toward the center. It can be seen in some of the accompanying photo enlargements, not in others, and if the gemstones are held up to a light source and intently scrutinized, it can be discerned with the naked eye. Also, toward the bottom (“cutlet”) of the gemstone there are a few minute carbon specks.
These are almost impossible to pick out with the naked eye. The easiest way to see them is to turn the gemstone upside down, where they are a little easier to pick out with the naked eye. From the top down it is almost impossible to see them, and of course with the gemstone mounted into a ring, the gemstone is oriented so it is always viewed top down. Even in these photo enlargements you can see that these minute carbon specks are by and large only easily discerned with the gemstone turned upside down. ll of the blemishes described are not readily discerned by the cursory inspection of the casual admirer. To the casual admirer, the gemstone appears without blemish. However if you hold the ruby up to a light source and examine it intently, then it is possible to discern these blemishes (even with the unaided eye). The earring settings are of contemporary origin. They are high quality settings manufactured by one of the USA’s leading semi-custom mount producers. They are constructed of sterling silver; they are not cheap, silver electroplated earrings. It is genuine sterling silver, designed to last a lifetime. It's a first-class piece of jewelry throughout. We can reset in 14kt solid gold or 14kt gold fill upon request, and there are also many other setting styles available upon request.
The gemstones cannot then be classified as "eye clean", since these light blemishes can be detected from most angles of view if one inspects the gemstones intently. The colorless crystalline blemishes, whether in the form of seamed material, or particulate material, are quite common to ruby, veritably a hallmark characteristic. In fact oftentimes there will be so many microscopic particles of colorless crystalline material a ruby will be found to be merely translucent, having lost its transparent character due to the fact that the particles, though microscopic, are nonetheless so dense that the gemstone appears “cloudy”, or “foggy”. Although these particular gemstones are not absolutely transparent due to the wispy colorless seamed crystalline material within, they can be characterized as more transparent than lower-value rubies which are merely translucent.
Even the minute carbon specks are commonly found within ruby. They are considered a blemish of course, but being fairly common, the critical issue is whether they are prominent or not. And in this case, the couple of minute carbon specks are buried deep inside the gemstones and are not readily discerned, even with intent scrutiny, from the top side of the gemstones. Again, to the casual admirer, the ruby simply appears as a richly toned, evenly-colored blood red ruby. Even in the photo enlargements herein, the faint, minute blemishes these remarkable gemstones do possess are not starkly apparent or disfiguring. If you hold these gemstones in the light between thumb and forefinger you can appreciate the transparency of this gorgeous precious gemstones. And while these gorgeous precious gemstones are not absolutely flawless, they are most certainly toward the higher end of the quality spectrum.
As might be expected under magnification the gemstones show the unmistakable, hallmark characteristics of having been hand crafted. The coarseness of the antique, handcrafted finish is considered desirable to most gemstone aficionados, and is not considered a detriment, or detract from the value of a gemstone. These characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, many believe that such antique hand-crafted gemstones possess much greater character and appeal than today's mass-produced, laser-cut gemstones. Unlike today’s computer controlled machine produced gemstones that approach flawlessness in a perfect finish, the cut and finish of an antique, handcrafted gemstone such as this is the legacy of an artisan who lived two centuries ago.
Handcrafted though it may be the gemstone has wonderful luster and color, great sparkle, and to the eye is absolutely transparent. But of course again, that is not to intimate that the gemstone is entirely flawless. True, the blemishes it possesses are not easily discerned by the naked eye - at least to casual scrutiny. As stated, to casual scrutiny they are simply stunning blood red ruby gemstones of even color. However in the accompanying photo enlargements you can discern a seam of colorless crystalline material, sharp at the edge of the gemstones, but becoming wispy and faint toward the center of the gemstones, as well as a few minute particles of carbon. Of course much the same may be said of any antique gemstone of natural origin. Flawless gemstones, and in particular flawless rubies, usually turn out to be synthetic.
The photo enlargements as well reveal occasional irregularities in the cut and finish. Naturally these characteristics are not only expected of hand-finished gemstones, you must also consider that two centuries ago the mining techniques even possible then, let alone in practice, did not allow the ultra deep mining operations which are so commonplace today. Keep in mind that two centuries ago mankind was more or less limited to surface deposits or near surface deposits of gemstones. Higher quality gemstones which today are routinely mined from beneath hundreds of meters, even kilometers beneath the earth's surface, were simply inaccessible then.
It is precisely for these reasons antique gemstones must be appreciated as antiques first, gemstones second. The relatively superlative quality of contemporary gemstones routinely mined from deep beneath the earth's surface today were simply not accessible two centuries ago, or at least, only rarely so. However for most, the unique nature and character of these antique gemstones more than makes up for the blemishes found within the gemstones, as well as the cutting irregularities common to handcrafted gemstones, all of which are by and large (if at all) are only visible under magnification.
RUBY HISTORY: The name ruby comes from the Latin "rubeus" (red). In the ancient world ruby was believed to possess magical powers, and was worn as a talisman for protection from plagues, poison, sorrow, and evil spirits. The ruby symbolized freedom, charity, dignity and divine power, and was associated with fire and blood, implying warmth and life for mankind. Some ancient cultures believed that rubies, as well as other gemstones, grew on trees, just like fruit. The rubies would begin budding as small white gems, and would slowly grow and ripen, turning red in the light of the sun. When the ruby was saturated with red color, it was ready to be plucked. In the classical world, rubies from Afghanistan, Ceylon, India and Burma were traded in the ancient port cities of the Eastern Mediterranean (often by Phoenicians), and from there traveled throughout Europe.
However it is believed that most of the ancient world’s ruby came from Ceylon, where evidence suggests ruby may have been mined for the past 20,000 years. Archaeologists have uncovered ancient Etruscan jewelry with Celanese ruby which dates back to the seventh century B.C. However scientists believe that ruby has also been mined in Burma since Paleolithic and Neolithic times as well, as tools have been excavated by archaeologists dating both to the Bronze Age as well as backwards into the Stone Age. In ancient literature, the ruby was described both by the fourth century B.C. Greek Philosopher/Scientist Theophratus (student and successor of Plato and Socrates) as well as by Pliny, the first century A.D. Roman historian and naturalist. In ancient Rome the ruby was associated with the principles of justice and its administrators (the judicial system).
Ancient literature from China indicates that ruby was traded along the northern silk route, moving westward into Europe. The Bible as well makes numerous mentions of ruby, first as one of the twelve precious stones created by God when he created mankind. Ruby is then described as “the lord of gems” when one was given to Aaron on the command of God. And ruby adorned Aaron's breastplate and was symbol of Judah. The Bible also frequently states that the high value of ruby was only exceeded by wisdom and by virtuous women, implying that ruby indeed was exceptionally valuable. The Greeks believed that the "fire" evidenced by a ruby's red coloration could melt wax. Greeks legends speak about huge rubies which were given to Heraclea by the female stork to lighten her room as a token of her kindness.
The ancient populations of the Mediterranean also believed that the color of a ruby would change mirroring changes in the health of its owner, and that the color would drain from a ruby at the moment its owner died. In Antiquity and through the Middle Ages it was believed that the cosmos was reflected in gemstones. Ruby was associated with the planet Mars. Ruby was deemed to be the most precious of gemstones not only in the Bible, but also in ancient Sanskrit writings. In Sanskrit, an ancient language of India, ruby was called "ratnaraj", which means "King of Gems". To them, this fiery stone burned with an inextinguishable fire, capable of boiling the water in which it was placed. Ancient Indian legends said that God first created ruby and later created man to possess it, and that he who offered rubies to the gods would be reincarnated as a powerful king or emperor.
In ancient India rubies were also sorted into upper class, middle class, and lower class stones in relation to their color, flawlessness and beauty. Much like Indian society today, no inferior ruby was allowed contact with an upper class ruby because it was believed the low-caste ruby would contaminate the better one, thereby diminishing its magical powers. In nearby ancient Burma it was felt a ruby must not just be worn, but embedded in the skin to become part of the body, thus making the wearer invulnerable. Up in time through Medieval Europe, rubies were worn as a talisman for protection against unhappiness, lightening and upsetting dreams. The ruby was also believed to encourage bliss, and was used to treat fever and heart disorders relating to blood flow through the ventricles. It was also believed that when worn on the left hand or in a brooch on the left side, ruby enabled the wearer to live in peace among enemies.
Ruby was greatly valued in the Medieval Arab world. There are many references to ruby in ancient Arabic literature, including many references to “yakut”, a term used for red corundum (ruby) during the sixth through tenth centuries, culminating in a noteworthy treatise by the 11th century Arab scholar Al-Biruni, who conducted specific gravity determinations on a whole series of gemstones. Throughout Medieval Central Asia, the Near East, and China ruby was used to ornament armor, scabbards, and harnesses of noblemen. Rubies were laid beneath the foundation of buildings to secure good fortune to the structure. Much of the ruby reaching early Medieval Europe came from Badakshan, on the border between present-day Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Marco Polo described visiting these mines in his accounts of his travels. Later Medieval Europe’s rubies came principally from the border region between Burma and Siam (present-day Myanmar and Thailand).
In Medieval Europe, rubies were considered even more valuable than diamonds. In 16th century ruby was priced 8 times higher than diamond. Rubies were viewed as a stone of prophecy, used by medieval shamans and sorcerers to divine the future. Ruby was also worn as a talisman, as it was believed that the stone darkened when danger was near and then returned to its original color when the danger was past. It was believed that wearing ruby would attract good health, wisdom, fortune, and true love. Ruby was also thought to be an antidote to poisoning as well. In England, ruby was used for royal coronation rings. Medieval Europe also believed that ruby had important medical applications. A thirteenth century prescription to cure liver problems called for powdered ruby, and it was also believed that when rubbed on the skin, ruby would restore youth and vitality. Ivan the Terrible of Russia stated that rubies were good for the heart, brain and memory.
Rubies are mined all over the world, but the highest quality gemstones come from Burma, Ceylon, and Siam, then India, Madagascar, Russia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Mexico, and North Carolina in the USA. Ruby is the red variety of corundum, the second hardest natural mineral known to mankind. The non-red variety of corundum is Sapphire. Sapphires are well known among the general public as being blue, but can be nearly any color. A ruby's color is due to a trace of chromic oxide; the amount of this trace mineral determines the depth of color. The most sought after shade of red for ruby is often given the name "pigeon blood red", but ruby can be any shade of red up to almost pink. The only source of "pigeon blood" rubies is Mogok in Upper Burma, about ninety miles from Kepling's Mandalay, and are known in the trade as "Mogok" rubies, and are considered the finest in the world.
In Mogok, the rubies are mined by natives according to centuries-old customs. From ancient times through the Middle Ages and into the Victorian period, all Mogok rubies belonged to the King. There are references to several rubies in the weight range between 100 and 400 carats reportedly mined during the nineteenth century and presented to the King of Burma. It is known that in the nineteenth century the British Museum of Natural History acquired a 167 carat Burmese ruby which remains there today on display, and there also exists a 196 carat specimen at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. Two massive, uncut rubies which remain the possession of the Burma/Myanamar government include “the Sun of Mogok”, weighing 1743 carats, and the “Navara Ruby”, weighing 505 carats.
The famous "Hill of Precious Stones", near Bangkok, Thailand, yields rubies of a deeper shade with purple undertones. Rubies from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) tend toward violet, and are lighter in color. Oriented rutile crystal inclusions cause a six-rayed-star light effect (called asterism) to form the popular "Star Ruby". The "Star Ruby" is also known as a "Mysore Ruby" as the majority are mined in Mysore, India. However the largest star ruby known is a 138.7 carat specimen which was mined from Ceylon, and is presently at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The color of ruby is accompanied by a marked fluorescence, which is stimulated by natural and artificial light making rubies turn brighter red under such light. The King of Ceylon was said to possess a ruby that shone so brightly that when he brought it out at night, it would light up the entire palace.
Experts consider that the color is ruby’s most important attribute, while its transparency is secondary. It is almost impossible to find a ruby of finer quality over 3 carats in size, therefore, minor blemishes are deemed acceptable and most ruby jewelry is made with stones under 3 carats. In fact the blemishes within a ruby are like fingerprints, proving its authenticity and revealing the beauty and the individuality of each stone. Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness and providing protection. Found in Egypt dated 1500 B. C., the "Papyrus Ebers" offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals. Gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement.
In these as well as other ancient cultures, it was believed that rubies brought health, wealth, wisdom, and success in love to those who wore them. The ruby was associated with the sun, and was thought to preserve both mental and physical health. The medicinal uses of ruby included its use to overcome exhaustion and calm hyperactivity. Ruby was also used to detoxify the body and blood, treat fevers, diseases, and restricted blood flow. Wearing ruby was believed to benefit the heart and circulatory system and stimulate the adrenals, kidneys, reproductive organs and spleen. According to one ancient text, ground to a fine powder and placed on the tongue, ruby was used to cure blood diseases, stop bleeding, ensure good health, bring peace, and treat indigestion. Ruby was also believed to be an effective treatment for backaches.
On the metaphysical plane, for thousands of years, ruby was considered the stone of love, passion, and power. It was believed to represent masculinity, nobility, and valor in men; pride, seductiveness, and passion in women. Ruby was believed to restore vital life forces and increase energy, vigor, and zest for life. Ruby was also regarded as the stone of courage, ancient sources citing that the wearer of ruby could pass through life without fear of evil or misfortune, and that ruby would make the wearer invulnerable to wounds, an especially useful attribute for ancient warriors. Wearing ruby was believed to strengthen the wearer during times of controversy or dispute, to shield against physical attack, to enhance creativity and spirituality, and to inspire confidence and self-esteem. Ruby was also believed to be capable of arousing passion and enthusiasm and attracting sexual activity. Even today in Asia ruby is worn by businessmen who believe that ruby improves motivation and the setting of goals, and promotes dynamic leadership. They are believed to heighten one’s state of mind, sharp, hyper-aware and focused.
Domestic shipping (insured first class mail) is included in the price shown. Domestic shipping also includes USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site). Canadian shipments are an extra $16.99 for Insured Air Mail; International shipments are an extra $20.99 for Air Mail (and generally are NOT tracked; trackable shipments are EXTRA). ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per item so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers.
We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. If you intend to pay via PayPal, please be aware that PayPal Protection Policies REQUIRE insured, trackable shipments, which is INCLUDED in our price. International tracking is at additional cost. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs).
We travel to Russia each year seeking antique gemstones and jewelry from one of the globe’s most prolific gemstone producing and cutting centers, the area between Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg, Russia. From all corners of Siberia, as well as from India, Ceylon, and Siam, gemstones have for centuries gone to Yekaterinburg where they have been cut and incorporated into the fabulous jewelry for which the Czars and the royal families of Europe were famous for. My wife grew up and received a university education in the Southern Urals of Russia, just a few hours away from the mountains of Siberia, where alexandrite, diamond, emerald, sapphire, chrysoberyl, topaz, demantoid garnet, and many other rare and precious gemstones are produced. Though perhaps difficult to find in the USA, antique gemstones are commonly unmounted from old, broken settings – the gold reused – the gemstones recut and reset.
Before these gorgeous antique gemstones are recut, we try to acquire the best of them in their original, antique, hand-finished state – most of them centuries old. We believe that the work created by these long-gone master artisans is worth protecting and preserving rather than destroying this heritage of antique gemstones by recutting the original work out of existence. That by preserving their work, in a sense, we are preserving their lives and the legacy they left for modern times. Far better to appreciate their craft than to destroy it with modern cutting. Not everyone agrees – fully 95% or more of the antique gemstones which come into these marketplaces are recut, and the heritage of the past lost. But if you agree with us that the past is worth protecting, and that past lives and the produce of those lives still matters today, consider buying an antique, hand cut, natural gemstone rather than one of the mass-produced machine cut (often synthetic or “lab produced”) gemstones which dominate the market today.
Our interest in the fabulous history of Russian gemstones and the fabulous jewelry of the Czar’s led to further education and contacts in India, Ceylon, and Siam, other ancient centers of gemstone production and finishing. We have a number of “helpers” (family members, friends, and colleagues) in Russia and in India who act as eyes and ears for us year-round, and in reciprocity we donate a portion of our revenues to support educational institutions in Russia and India. Occasionally while in Russia, India, Siam, and Ceylon we will also find such good buys on unique contemporary gemstones and jewelry that we will purchase a few pieces to offer to our customers here in America. These are always offered clearly labeled as contemporary, and not antiques – just to avoid confusion. We can set most any antique gemstone you purchase from us in your choice of styles and metals ranging from rings to pendants to earrings and bracelets; in sterling silver, 14kt solid gold, and 14kt gold fill. When you purchase from us, you can count on quick shipping and careful, secure packaging. We would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE."