Ruby, The King of Gems will be out on December 19th. Image courtesy Thames & Hudson.
New York--Thames and Hudson is coming out with the perfect gift for gemstone lovers, right before Christmas.

“Ruby, The King of Gems,” will be released Dec. 19. The coffee table book is authored by Joanna Hardy, the renowned gemologist and jewelry expert who also was the principal author of “Emerald,” released in 2014.

“Ruby” is the follow-up, and it features the same lush color photographs and illustrations, showcasing ruby jewelry both historic and modern.

It takes an in-depth look at 60 ruby pieces specifically, including many from royal and private collections, some of which have been photographed throughout the years and others that have never been displayed publicly.

20171114 Ruby insert1Van Cleef & Arpels’ ruby and diamond Jarretiere cuff bracelet, owned by Marlene Dietrich. © Van Cleef & Arpels; image courtesy of B Moulin.

One piece that is forever a part of cinema is Van Cleef & Arpels’ ruby and diamond Jarretiere cuff bracelet, made between 1937 and 1939 for actress Marlene Dietrich. Hardy explains that to show up on film, Hollywood actresses needed to adorn themselves in large pieces, but jewelry often wasn’t sourced by the costume department. Instead, many actresses of the era chose to wear their own jewelry, whether purchased or received as a gift.

Dietrich was a great lover of jewelry, and many of her earlier pieces were given to her by her first director, Josef von Sternberg. Large, colorful jewels on the silver screen helped to popularize costume jewelry so regular women could emulate the look.

20171114 Ruby insert2Reine Makéda necklace. © Cartier; image courtesy of Vincent Wulveryck, Cartier Collection.

“Ruby” also pays homage to the jewelry houses that have been responsible for best showcasing the gemstone in exquisite designs, particularly from the 20th century to present day. Cartier is one such maison Hardy highlights, as she explains that its current, mainly female team must submit designs to the jewelry house’s creative committee, consisting of the CEO, director of strategy and heritage, design team head and workshop manager, all of whom must approve them before they can be produced and come to bear the Cartier stamp.

Hardy uses a necklace from 2015 as an example of a design that made the cut, which also teaches a lesson in provenance.

The Reine Makéda necklace was designed around an oval, mixed-cut ruby from Mozambique weighing 15.29 carats, accented with ruby beads, round brilliant diamonds and large rose-cut diamonds, all set in platinum. Hardy explains that for Cartier to design a piece based on a single gemstone, that gemstone must be the highest quality in existence, which shows that not all world-class rubies need be Burmese.

“Ruby” features 462 color illustrations and photographs across its 328 pages. It will sell for $125.


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