Famous Gems: The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby
The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby
Image: Smithsonian
The Rosser Reeves Ruby is one of the world's largest star rubies at a whopping 138.7-carats! This famous ruby originated in Sri Lanka and was actually 140-carats when it first reached London and remained with an anonymous buyer until the early 1950s.

It wasn't until 1953 when Robert Fisher of New York purchased the heavily scratched star ruby. Fisher had the stone restored to its original beauty, however, a few carats were sacrificed in the cutting/repolishing process.

But, even at 138.7-carats the Rosser Reeves Ruby still places amongst the largest star rubies in the world. The next largest red star ruby is the 100.32-carat DeLong Star Ruby.

Rosser Reeves purchased the star ruby in the late 1950s, but did not have the ruby set in beaded jewelry. Rather, he liked the stone so much he carried it around with him everywhere under the belief that it was a lucky stone and even referred to it as his 'baby'. Typically, it is believed your birthstone is a lucky stone for you, so it was interesting that Reeves, born in September, carried this July birthstone around instead.

The Rosser Reeves Ruby is renowned for its excellent color and well defined, six-rayed asterism (star pattern). The star forms naturally when titanium atoms are trapped within the growing corundum crystal. As the crystal cools, the titanium forms minute needle-like crystals of rutile mineral, which position themselves in three directions within the stone.

As is the case with the Rosser Reeves Ruby, the stone was properly cut (or rather, re-cut), as to have the star centered. When the star is centered properly in these rare stones, the light enters and reflects off the three sets of needles to produce the six-ray star pattern (as seen in the image above).

The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby was never placed in a beaded jewelry setting and fifteen years later in 1965, Reeves donated the stone to the Smithsonian Institute, where it resides today.

July's Birthstone: Firecracker Red Ruby

July Birthstone: Firecracker Red -Crystal Allure Beaded Jewelry Creations
July's birthstone is ruby.

Given that July is host to the all-American 4th of July celebrations -you could say the July born are just like firecrackers!

Equally so, this red gemstone was named for one of Rome's biggest historical firecrackers, the dictator Julius Caesar, who died in a pool of his own blood. A rich blood red, the ruby is said to contain such heat that dropping it in a glass of water would make the water boil -now that it HOT!
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The fiery crimson red of the ruby is representative of love and passion, which also makes it a popular alternative to the classic diamond engagement ring. In fact, Fergie, the Duchess of York received a ruby engagement ring from Prince Andrew. Rubies arouse the senses, stir the imagination, and are said to be called the "king of gems" because it was believed to protect its wearer from evil. In fact, rubies were worn by royalty as a talisman against evil.

Ruby is the red variety of the gems species corundum and is found as crystals within metamorphic rock. Its durability is second only to diamonds and the fact that it does not require special care, makes it a highly prized jewel for everyday wear.

To find a flawless ruby is nearly impossible. As well, clarity is not the most important factor is determining a good quality ruby -it's the color. The richer the red, the more costly the gem. The most prized color is a medium or medium dark vivid red or slightly purplish red. A ruby is considered a Sapphire in any color except red. In essence, Ruby is a Sapphire, since both are identical in all properties except for color.

There is a special glow to a ruby -literally. The chromium present in the natural reddest of rubies cause a red fluorescence, or 'glow', which is stimulated by UV (ultraviolet) light. Since ancient times, stories abound of rubies being self-luminous and are often called the "glowing stone" or "lamp stone". Greek legends told the story of a female stork, who repaid the kindness of Heraclea by bringing her a brilliant ruby – a ruby so bright that it illuminated Heraclea’s room at night. Fast forward and in 1960, a synthetic ruby was used in the creation of the first laser.

However, long before rubies were used in modern technology, their special allure was purely for their believed symbolic qualities. Used in everything from ruby beaded jewelry to one of the gemstones used on the breastplate of Aaron. It was believed that the ruby held the power to warn its owner of coming misfortunes, illness, or death, by turning darker in color. More notably, Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII, predicted her downfall after seeing the darkening of her ruby.

From its history to modern times, this intensely red and passionate July birthstone continues to be a cherished treasure worn by all, especially when used in birthstone jewelry.

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Handmade beaded gemstone earrings designed with ruby Swarovski Crystals, pink dyed agate gemstones, sterling silver bead caps, beads and .925 Bali spacers on sterling silver french ear wire hooks. The length is 1-1/4" from the bottom of the ear wire.