Defining the color “pigeon’s blood”
Whatever the origin of the name, “pigeon’s blood” was a popular way of describing the finest rubies in literature, but there was no official description of the colour until recently. All rubies are red, but they are not visually pure, as they have other secondary hues of pink, purple and orange – pink is a less saturated version of red, while purple and orange are adjacent to red on the color wheel. To be designated a ruby, the gem must be at least 51% red. So what other colors are mixed in with the ruby to make it pigeon’s blood?
It has been said that you can identify a ruby’s place of origin by its color, with pigeon’s blood rubies also dubbed Burmese rubies, signifying they originate from Myanma, previously known as Burma. Rubies from Burma
tend to have a rich red color with an undertone of blue, adding depth to the robust color. Some say that pigeon’s blood is a visually pure vivid red gemstone, which can be achieved when a purplish red ruby is set in yellow gold so the yellow cancels out the blue undertone. The GRS (Gemresearch Swisslab AG) created an official definition of pigeon’s blood, by creating a scale based on the intensity of red in rubies. On a scale of 1 to 4, pigeon’s blood were placed at number 3, or vivid red.
Other ruby colors
In contrast to pigeon’s blood rubies, the rubies of North East Myanmar are generally purple and black in the centre, surrounded by a bright outer layer or red. Vietnamese rubies are a purplish red and Thai rubies are a darker muted red, known as “Siamese color”. Ceylon rubies are a light raspberry red.
Surprisingly, rubies and sapphires have essentially the same chemistry with the exception of some trace elements. The color defines which gem is a ruby and which is a sapphire. So a red stone with a predominantly purple or pink hue will be classified as purple or pink sapphires.
Do rubies improve health?
As the color red is strongly associated with blood and life as well as love and passion, the ruby has always been particularly prized. Ancient cultures believed the ruby grew like a fruit, from the bud of a small white stone, blossoming into a vivid red. Powdered rubies were believed to have healing powers, capable of purifying the blood or as an antidote to poison. Ancient soldiers of Burma (now Myanmar) believed that a ruby embedded under their skin would make them immortal, invincible to battle injuries.
Even today, the science of spectrum analysis supports the theory that rubies have healing powers. The red rays of light from the ruby’s rich inner fire are said to stimulate mood through warmth and energy, and the blue-violet lights are calming, making them a therapeutic choice for people with depression or anxiety.
Our ruby range
Here at Israel Diamonds, we have a dazzling range of loose rubies from pinkish red stones to deepest dark red, especially the Burmese rubies featuring the highly prized rich red pigeon’s blood color offset by blue. Contact us today so we can help you find the right shade of ruby for your ruby engagement ring
or another dazzling piece of jewelry.