Le Blog des Bijoux

Four ravishing red gemstones for ladies who love to rock a touch of red

27 Jul 2020 | Gemstones

Beautiful woman wearing an emerald engagement ring and wearing green gemstone earrings
A beautiful woman wearing an emerald engagement ring and green gemstone earrings

By Natalie Barney

Jewellery Designer; Owner Director of Natalie Barney Jewellery Design; FGAA

A sumptuous red gemstone with dazzling white diamonds is a timeless and captivating combination. The colour red is just innately alluring. And it’s an incredibly symbolic colour to wear.

Described as ‘the colour of extremes’, red is associated with courage and fire, wealth and power, flesh and blood, passion and romance.

Almost every culture around the world views the colour red with great significance. In Asia, red is said to bring happiness and good fortune and is often associated with fertility, matrimony and celebration. In Mexico, Greece and Japan, red symbolises heroism. In Central Africa, red is synonymous with life and death. In Russia, it is the colour of beauty and honour.

Such strong connotations make red a bold, exciting and evocative hue to wear, particularly in jewellery.

If red is a colour that speaks to you and you are looking to add a splash of it to your jewellery collection, then here are four formidable red gemstones for your consideration…

A vintage emerald engagement ring surrounded by diamonds
Elizabeth Taylor wearing her iconic ruby and diamond ring. This ring was a grand romantic gesture from her husband Richard Burton, who had promised to find her ‘the most perfect ruby in the world’. Kudos to Richard!

1. Ruby — the ‘king of precious stones’

Ruby is no doubt one of the world’s most culturally significant gemstones. Referred to as ‘the king of stones’ in Sanskrit, the ruby is the stone of myths and legends, power and prestige, love and life. Some of the most powerful and influential people in the world have worn rubies.

I adore rubies for their rich multidimensional tones which come alive when viewed in different lights. They are also incredibly durable. Second only to diamonds in hardness, rubies are the perfect coloured gemstone for engagement and eternity rings.

 

appearance of rubies

  • Range in colour from delicate pinks to saturated and deep blood reds.
  • Usually found in sizes of less than 1.5 carats.
  • Feature ‘rutile needle’ inclusions, with some stones exhibiting ‘asterism’ or a star-like effect under light.

rubies in jewellery

  • Most favoured cuts are oval and cushion.
  • Suitable for all types of jewellery, especially engagement and eternity rings.
  • Can be cleaned with warm, sudsy water using a toothbrush and a soft cloth or in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner.

Symbology and meaning of ruby

  • Associated with wealth, prestige, purity, wisdom, love, fertility and health.
  • Said to enhance courage, leadership and confidence and shield against negative energy.
  • Birthstone for July and traditional gift for a 40th wedding anniversary.

Value of ruby

  • One of the most rare, desired and expensive coloured gemstones in the world.
  • Increase in value with the size, clarity and intensity of their colour and the appearance of asterism.

Did you know that rubies and sapphires are actually the same crystal (conundrum)? It is a difference in ‘impurities’ that determines their colour.

Green tsavorite garnet engagement ring with diamonds in white gold
Green tsavorite garnet engagement ring with diamonds in white gold
This pavé diamond band from Natalie Barney features pops of delicious red rubies. A perfect anniversary or eternity ring.

2. Red garnet — Noah’s ‘guiding light’

Red garnets have been revered since ancient times (when they were mistaken for rubies), adorning Egyptian pharaohs and Chinese rulers. Legend has it that garnets were used to project light in the Noah’s Ark, such is their ability to dispense light.

Brilliance and clarity are just two of the reasons I love garnets. I also love that you can capitalise on size with garnets, given their affordability when compared to rubies.

Appearance of red garnet

  • Range in colour from brownish red to intense red.
  • Most range in size from 0.25-4 carats.
  • Generally have good brilliance, vitreous lustre and clarity.

Red Garnets in jewellery

  • Most favoured cuts are round, oval and cushion.
  • Suitable for everyday jewellery (with care to avoid scratching).
  • Popular in Victorian-era jewellery.
  • Should be protected from high heat and cleaned with warm, sudsy water, a soft brush and a microfibre cloth.

Symbology and meaning of red garnet

  • Associated with love and friendship.
  • Said to combat depression, relieve pain, promote passion, energy and good health.
  • Birthstone for January.

Value of red garnet

  • The most common and affordable stones are small to medium in size, in a brownish red tone.
  • The most expensive garnets are larger, with brilliant red colour and good clarity.
Garnets are commonly found in shades of red, but can be orange, yellow, pink, brown and green too!
Emerald Cut Red Garnet Ring handmade in white gold by Natalie Barney
Emerald Cut Red Garnet Ring handmade in white gold by Natalie Barney
A gorgeous rich red garnet dress ring from Natalie Barney.

3. Red spinel — the beautiful imposter

Some of the most famous ‘rubies’ that adorn crowns have later been identified as red spinel. Such is the similarity between the two gemstones! Though spinels are not widely known, they can be traced back to 100BC, when they were used to decorate a tomb in Afghanistan.

In recent years, interest in spinel has grown. I’m really not surprised — they are simply stunning red gemstones with great brilliance and durability. And given their relative affordability, they are an excellent alternative to rubies.

 

Appearance of Red spinel

  • Strikingly similar in colour to rubies.
  • Rare in sizes beyond 2 carats.
  • Generally have good brilliance and virtuous lustre with some inclusions.

Red Spinel in jewellery

  • Most favoured cut is cushion.
  • Suitable for all types of jewellery, including engagement rings.
  • Often mistaken for ruby in jewellery.
  • Should be protected from high heat and cleaned with warm, sudsy water, a soft brush and a microfibre cloth.

Symbology and meaning of red spinel

  • Associated with immortality, youth, vitality and passion.
  • Said to promote selflessness and devotion and raise energy levels and stamina.
  • Birthstone for August.

Value of Red spinel

  • With an increase in public awareness and interest, the value of spinel is growing, offering an excellent investment opportunity.
  • Good quality red stones in larger sizes are the most expensive.
The ‘Black Prince Ruby’ in the Imperial Crown was later identified as a spinel. So alike are the two gemstones.
Cushion cut red spinel milgrain diamond halo ring handmade in white gold by Natalie Barney worn as an engagement ring.
Cushion cut red spinel milgrain diamond halo ring handmade in white gold by Natalie Barney worn as an engagement ring.
A signature Natalie Barney engagement ring featuring a cushion cut red spinel.

4. Rubellite — queen of tourmalines

There was a point in time when every red gemstone was considered a ruby. Rubellite is no exception. In fact, the famous ‘Caesar’s Ruby’, a stone gifted to Caesar from Cleopatra, was later identified as a rubellite tourmaline.

What I love most about rubellite tourmalines are their delicious purply-red tones. They are also more readily available (and affordable) in larger sizes when compared to other red gemstones. This means you can really capitalise on size for a truly striking piece of jewellery.

 

Appearance of rubellite

  • Colours are saturated reds tinged with pink, violet or brown.
  • More common in larger sizes than other gemstones.

Rubellite in jewellery

  • Tend to be shaped into traditional emerald, oval and cushion cuts.
  • Suitable for all types of jewellery, including engagement rings.
  • Should be protected from high heat and cleaned with warm, sudsy water and a microfibre cloth.

Symbology and meaning of rubellite

  • Associated with passion for love and life.
  • Said to promote enthusiams, inspiration and drive. 
  • Birthstone for October.

Value of rubellites

  • The most prized, and therefore the most expensive of all the tourmalines.
  • Commonly found in larger sizes, providing an excellent, affordable, sizeable alternative to a ruby.

Only the most vivid and saturated of red tourmalines can be called ‘rubellite’.

Emerald Cut Rubellite and Diamond Ring handmade in white gold by Natalie Barney
Emerald Cut Rubellite and Diamond Ring handmade in white gold by Natalie Barney
A delicious rubellite tourmaline in a classic three stone design from Natalie Barney.

Ready to rock a red gemstone?

At Natalie Barney Jewellery Design, coloured gemstones are our speciality and our passion. We love nothing more than working with our customers to find the right gemstone, with the right colour, quality and proportions for a piece they will wear and love forever.

To discuss a bespoke design or to enquire about a piece you have seen on this website, please complete an enquiry form or send an email to info@nataliebarney.com and it will be our absolute pleasure to assist you.

Tsavorite (green garnet) engagement ring in white gold with diamonds