Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Black Prince's Ruby

A dark history. To quote:
The ruby’s position at the very front of the crown today is based on an ancient belief that it is auspicious to have a red gem mounted in the main regalia, especially since rubies have always been scarce. Rubies are in fact rarer than diamonds: the only reason diamonds are more valuable is because of their hardness and luminosity. With that said, the Black Prince’s Ruby is actually not a ruby at all but a spinel, i.e. a less valuable type of ruby that was often mistaken for the real gem until modern times (it all has to do with hardness and colouring). This however does not decrease the Black Prince’s Ruby’s intrinsic value since its size and weight of 170 carats make it one of the largest uncut spinels in the world. Also, a tiny part of it is actual ruby material: the stone was perforated at some point in the past to wear it as a pendant and the hole is now filled with a real, tiny ruby, the so-called pimple on the stone. The whole stone is still traditionally referred to as a ruby. (Read entire post.)

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