Ruby

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

Throughout most of recorded history, ruby has been the world’s most valued gemstone. Even diamond was considered common in comparison to the supreme beauty and value of this glowing red gem. Named from the Latin word for its hue, ruber, ruby is the epitome of the boldest of colors: the gem of desire, passion, courage, and emotion.

In the ancient language of Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj, or “king of precious stones.” In the Bible, only wisdom and virtuous women are “more precious than rubies.”

Early in the eleventh century, Persian sage al-Biruni was only conveying the popular wisdom of the time when he wrote that ruby has “the first place in color, beauty and rank” among all gems.

Nine centuries later, British author Max Bauer, in his 1894 Masterpiece Precious Stones, writes: “A clear, transparent, and faultless ruby of a uniform red color is at the present time the most valuable precious stone known.”

Granted, the value of fine ruby relative to other highly prized gems wasn’t as extreme in Bauer’s day as it had once been. Around 1550, Italian goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini reported that the finest one-carat ruby cost eight times more than a comparable-quality one-carat diamond. By Bauer’s time, the same ruby was only two times as expensive as its diamond equivalent.

Nevertheless, a 2:1 value ratio between fine rubies and diamonds is impressive. Certainly, ruby’s status as the most valuable gem of the age helps to explain why England took the rather drastic step of invading and annexing Upper Burma in 1885 when it learned a French company would begin mining of this gem at the famed Mogok ruby tract—the most celebrated source for ruby ever known and still the most important today.

Although certain color tones are associated with different country’s mines: Burma, now known as Myanmar, with pure reds, Vietnam with vivid pinkish rubies with exceptional clarity, Sri Lanka with more pastel softer pinkish reds, Thailand with dark red to burgundy, Kenya with translucent stones with juicy pure reds, Madagascar with pure transparent reds, color alone cannot tell you where a stone was born: a laboratory report may be required. When confirmed, stones from Burma’s famed Mogok mine command a premium, particularly if the color is natural.

Most rubies are heated almost to 2,000 degrees in order to maximize the red and remove secondary colors of blue and brown. Some rubies are also heated to improve clarity. Sometimes glassy residue can be trapped in fractures when the ruby cools. Heat enhancement is stable, does not require special care, and does not reduce the stone’s value unless significant residue is present.

If ruby shows no signs of heating, it is very rare. The stone’s natural color must be confirmed by a laboratory report if it is to command a premium. The ruby must also possess a pleasing color and appearance.

Ruby is most common in oval and cushion shapes. Other shapes may be difficult to find in sizes above a carat. Rubies above five carats are extremely rare and valuable.

Ruby, like sapphire, is the mineral corundum, one of the most durable minerals, a crystalline form of aluminum oxide. Corundum has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale and is also extremely tough. In its common form, it is even used as an abrasive. As a result, rubies are the most durable of gems. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect.

CHURCH & COMPANY

In celebration of 50 years in business we would like to feature one of our vendors each month.

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

One of our favorite suppliers is Church & Company of Toms River, NJ. Founded in 1922 by Charles Church, this line is made in the USA! Eileen Eichhorn received her first piece of fine jewelry – a 10K gold citrine ring for her 10th birthday made by Church & Co. Subsequent rings, self-purchased and as gifts for others continue as Eileen also presented her husband a black onyx ring – his wedding ring made by Church.

Known for fine quality and craftsmanship their signet rings consist of 129 styles. Each is available in six different metals, 10K yellow gold, 14K yellow or white gold, 18K yellow gold, platinum or sterling silver. In addition, these are also available in standard weight (which is really a heavy die-struck ring) or husky weight – 33% heavier! Each can be enhanced by the finest hand engraving in the world, for corporate awards or milestone graduation, anniversary or wedding gifts for the discriminating client. Family coat of arms, script or deep relief monograms are typically delicately carved on these by a Master Hand Engraver to achieve the utmost in detail for both men and women.

Adams Memorial Hospital selected these for their 20 year employee award rings each with one diamond set in each shoulder and the AMH logo hand engraved on top.

Church & Co. also supplies Eichhorn Jewelry with ancestry jewelry, coat of arms research, wax insignia rings, cufflinks, crosses, bracelets and other custom engravings. Fine quality precious gemstones of every variety in a vast number of styles in lady’s rings, pendants, and earrings in traditional styles and classic fashion designs are what make this one of our favorite vendors!

Trivia: Eileen Eichhorn worked for J.B. Hudson Jewelers while going to college in Minneapolis. She reminisces that the most discriminating of her elite customers chose Church & Co. jewelry for their corporate award gifts, too.

SPARKLING: SALLY HOEPPNER

In celebration of 50 years in business we would like to feature one of our employees each month.

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

Of all the many employees over the past 50 years, none have had such endearing qualities as our dear Sally Hoeppner. Finding her way to our door several years ago, Sally has the distinction of being our most loyal diamond ambassador. Always in the forefront of fashion, Sally truly loves jewelry.  She makes a fashion statement daily in her vast selections to compliment her style. Diamonds are her favorite accessory!

Sally’s husband has presented her with two milestone diamond gifts in recent years. For their 30th Anniversary she received a one carat Artcarved diamond ring. Just this past April – her birthstone is diamond – Sally was presented with an item from her ‘wish list’ – the Diamond Marriage Symbol necklace.

You will find Sally polished to perfection in her sweet voice. Having the distinction of the one who will call to remind you about the Diamond Club, Sally takes her phone job seriously.

I am sure Sally never realized all the many tasks she would perform while working at Eichhorn’s. One of her favorite is taking photographs of the multitude of watches and jewelry taken in for repairs daily.

Sally is a personal shopper, too. Extremely conscientious of value, Sally is great at finding the best buy for the young man who wants to become engaged on a budget. She will steer him to the wide selection of estate diamond rings.

Trivia: Having “adopted” her into our family, we lovingly call her another ‘sister’.  Sally adds a unique blend to the makeup of the mixed staff of Eichhorn family member-employees and the other adoptees.

Eichhorn Jewelry's employee; Sally Hoeppner of Berne Indiana

Eichhorn Jewelry employee; Sally Hoeppner of Berne Indiana