Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Ravenous for Rubies

Stuart Weitzman’s “ruby slippers” set with 642 Burmese rubies.

Ever wished that you could click your ruby red slippers together and just skip the long commute home? Unfortunately, most rubies haven’t been endowed with the magical ability of trans-dimensional travel like Dorothy’s…but they sure do make the trip more stylish and fun!

Called the “king of gems” in Sanskrit, the ruby is a gem that packs a powerful punch. Known for its luminous, and even occasionally fluorescent shades of red, this July birthstone is easily among of the oldest and most desired gems of all time. Rubies can range from delicious purpley-reds to brilliant orange-reds, the truest shade of red being known as “pigeon’s blood.” Anything too purple or orange is technically considered to be a sapphire…but if your little particle of corundum does indeed fall into the “ruby” category, then you are one lucky duck! Throughout history, the ruby has time and again pulled ahead as the most valuable per-carat colored stone on the market.

“Fiery Acanthus” by Eve Alfillé. Photo credit: Matt Arden.

With such a long and lustrous history, it’s easy to see why the ruby has had such a fascinating legacy. The very first civilizations were immediately attracted to their fiery red hue, which came symbolize power, fire, and blood. In India, ancient Hindus believed that they could offer the god Krishna fine rubies in exchange for rebirth in their next life as an emperor. In Burma, warriors would actually insert rubies into their flesh in order to become invincible in battle!

In more recent history, these gems have continued to enjoy their place in the spotlight. The natural fluorescence in some rubies (caused by the presence of chromium) was harnessed in 1960 in order to create the world’s first laser!


When it comes to wearable style, however, the ruby simply remains unmatched. Just this year, the makeup-makers over at L’Oreal came together to collaborate with the luxury lapidaries of Chopard, creating a whole new meaning of ruby “wearability.” To celebrate the 30th birthday of L’Oreal’s ‘Color Riche’ lipsticks, Chopard created a tube of lipstick that not only holds your lipcolor, but could almost be worn as a piece of jewelry itself! The tube has lovingly hand-set with a succulent assortment of rubies, making this the most expensive tube of lipstick in the world, and is expected to auction for as much as 14 million dollars…now that’s a shade of red we’d like to try on.