If rouge is your gemstone colour then, Joanna Hardy is your go-to person to know all that you wanted to know about the enigmatic Ruby!
‘She is worth more than rubies’, are the words used when describing the nobility of a woman. We all know about the long-lasting love of a woman for her rubies. Rubies are much rarer than diamonds and coveted by women for their gorgeous distinct colour, symbolising passion, and love. A durable gem with an ever-increasing value they seem to be finding place in the jewellery boxes of many women worldwide.
Extremely difficult and tricky to cut, rubies sport the unique combination of colours ranging from pink to blue and purple within each stone which need to be carefully evaluated before cutting. The double refraction in these stones can affect the very structure and appearance through cutting. An imprecise cut can ruin the value of even the most gorgeous-looking ruby.
To help make sense of these nuances and intricacies, world-renowned coloured gemstone producers, Gemfields, brought gemstone and jewellery expert Joanna Hardy, at an intimate gathering in Dubai. Joanna shared her invaluable experience with a mesmerised audience, pointing out some enthralling and investment-savvy information on the mysterious ruby.
With a name derived from the Latin rubens, which means "red", rubies are mined all along the old Silk Road from Myanmar and Thailand to the east coast of Africa and Mozambique. The most precious rubies boast a full rich redness, which comes from traces of the mineral chromium, with just a hint of blue. Some that come in a shade of pink are known as pink sapphires and are not rubies.
The fascinating masterclass was peppered with personal anecdotes that had us all transfixed. A story of how the Founder of Veerasak Gems in Thailand was fascinated and happy to know about an ordinary cutter in Mozambique who cut and polished a rare ruby using hand tools, compared to the sophisticated tools used in his factory. It was more about a craftsman paying homage to another one!
An interesting story was about the Kanase women involved in Mogok’s gem industry who look for gemstones in the discarded rocks called tailings. By local tradition, the locals have the right to search through these tailings and keep the gemstones they find. During the British mining period, this activity was restricted to women. These women can be seen sorting through tailings at the mines and selling their finds at the open markets. Joanna told us about her experience with these women who were very friendly, but tough negotiators!
She told us about spinels that boast rich red tones but come without the price tag of the ruby. Outlining what to look for when buying a ruby, Joanna offered us a chance to handle a selection of Gemfields rubies, while explaining the techniques involved in cutting and setting rubies of varying shapes and sizes. She outlined some of the original grading systems that Gemfields has developed for their gemstones.
Joanna’s masterclass was a glimpse into her book “Ruby: The King of Gems” detailing all that you need to know about Rubies! It details stunning pieces of rubies owned by Emperors, Royalty, and style icons over the years alongside classic images of rubies from all over the world. The book displays some of the world’s celebrated pieces of ruby jewelry, including previously unseen designs from private collections. Additionally, the book also offers hands-on guidance on what to look for in a quality ruby.
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