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Ethical Rubies:

From Magical Slippers to the King of Precious Stones

Some images from my childhood are ingrained in my mind forever. A lot of them came from the books I buried my nose in, inhaling their fragrant spines. 

One of them is of Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. 

I found the shining image of a round cut ruby in an encyclopedia, and it fueled my imagination. In my mind Dorothy’s slippers were almost transparent, with the color of the ripest apple, and a shine like the first rays of sunlight.

It’s hard to wipe that image from my mind when I think of rubies. Even now, 20-something years on… I think of that exquisite shade of red. It turns out, rubies come in several shades, but whatever the shade, they’re still as fascinating as those magical pair of slippers.

Illustration of Dorothy's red ruby shoes from the Wizard of Oz

I've also dug up a few fun facts about rubies that I wanted to share with you!

  • The Timur Ruby which is an unfaceted 361 carat polished red stone in the possession of the British Royal Family is actually a spinel. It's a common case of mistake identity, as several famous 'rubies' have turned out to be spinels. 

  • Rubies were featured in the literature of the North Silk Road in 200 BC. They were on transport to be traded, moving westward from China.

  • Noblemen in India and China have always held rubies in high regards, using the stone as decorations for armor, scabbards, and harnesses.

  • Rubies are part of a group that is historically known as precious stones which consists of diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. The classification isn't really important today, as most stones are graded on clarity, rarity, and place of origin.

Its prominence in history isn’t the only thing that got me interested in rubies.

Borneo Gems rings collection in silver
Borneo Gems collection in silver
Borneo Gems collection rings and necklace in silver

Sapphires and rubies from our Borneo Gems collection.

I’m pretty sweet on rubies and sapphires right now if you can’t tell. We’re making headways into setting up our own supply chain of transparent, traceable, and ethical sapphires and rubies. It’s a golden thread in my life, bringing my background in forestry, sustainable forest products and indigenous people together with my love for jewelry. 

Right now, I’ve stocked our shop with a limited supply of our Borneo Gems collection, which marks our commitment to this project. I’m hoping to raise more investment from this first batch of jewelry, so that I can explore the possibilities of helping to set up a cooperative of indigenous sapphire miners with secure land rights. My goal this year is to cement that plan in concrete, and smooth over all the wrinkles that inevitably come with new projects.

Borneo sapphire and ruby hidden gems ring in eco gold

Some of my faves in this collection include a stunning yellow gold Borneo Ruby and Sapphire ring with Hidden Gems, and the custom cut and polished ethical sapphires on the Custom Borneo Sapphire Ring.

Which one is your favorite? Have a peek-a-boo, and drop me a line to let me know which candy colored crush calls out to you.