Ruby is the official gem gifted on 40th wedding anniversaries. Ruby rings are the most frequently chosen ruby anniversary gift items. This article explains the six most popular ruby ring designs, the benefits of each style, and their meaning.
Why rubies for a 40th anniversary?
The origin of gemstone wedding gifts dates back to the Roman Empire. Then, it was customary for husbands to give special precious metal or gem anniversary gifts to their wives.
For instance, on a 25th anniversary a Roman husband would give his wife a silver wreath.
A real ruby – image courtesy of Humanfeather on Wikipedia
This tradition was then revived during Queen Victoria’s era in the late 20th century. In 1937 it led to the American National Retail Jeweler Association assigning gems and metals to most anniversary milestone years.
Many of these gifting traditions have changed since the 1930’s. But the 40th Ruby Anniversary continues to be well established. Alongside the 50th Gold and 60th Diamond Anniversaries, it is still celebrated in most countries around the world.
Ruby rings are most popular
You can gift any kind of ruby jewellery to your spouse on a 40th anniversary. However, ruby rings are the most popular type of present.
They are often used, temporarily or permanently, to replace the original engagement ring or wedding band. This is done to show others the couple’s important milestone.
Below you’ll find six of the most popular anniversary ruby ring designs, including eternity rings.
1. Classic ruby and diamond ring
A gift given on an important anniversary like the 40th one is usually symbolic of the length and durability of a relationship.
This is why many people choose a classic ruby ring with diamonds. The ruby’s colour stands for love. Diamonds, the toughest of all precious stones, speak about the strength of your commitment to each other.
A classic oval ruby ring with diamonds can be appreciated by someone who likes wearing conservative, traditional jewellery. However, the most important feature of this design is that it’s timeless.
For example, Princess Diana’s sapphire engagement ring, which Prince William proposed to Catherine Middleton with, has this exact same design. It’s a style that will never go out of fashion and can be passed on as an heirloom to future generations.
A classic ruby ring
2. Ruby eternity ring
There are several good reasons to choose an eternity ring for a Ruby Anniversary. Firstly, eternity rings are a traditional anniversary gift. Due to their beauty and complex design, they’re the most elaborate of all rings – and as such, perfectly suited to big, important occasions.
Secondly, an eternity ring with its never-ending circle of gemstones represents the concept of everlasting love. Thirdly, if you choose a traditional jeweller who handcrafts your ring to measure, it will be a truly personal and meaningful gift.
If you’d like to find out more, read the article Meaning of Eternity Rings.
A ruby eternity ring
3. Ruby half eternity ring
Half eternity rings have rubies and diamonds covering only one half of the ring – as opposed to full eternity rings where the gems go all around the band. Symbolically, however, they hold the same significance as full eternity rings.
Because of their design, half eternity rings can feature larger rubies than full eternity rings. Any number and size of rubies can be set along the upper face of the band.
They can also be more affordable than full eternity rings. Although this ultimately depends on the total carat weight of the rubies and diamonds, as well as the type of precious metal used.
Some wearers also say they find half eternity rings more comfortable than full eternity rings. However, ultimately the choice depends on the wearer’s personal taste.
A ruby half eternity ring
4. Three-stone ruby ring
Ruby three-stone rings, also known as trilogy rings, are very popular anniversary gifts because they represent the past, present and future of your relationship.
They’re a creative alternative to the classic ruby ring. They can have three rubies, or one large centre ruby with two accent diamonds either side – like the one pictured below.
Three-stone rings have an Irish origin. They are based on the Celtic knot ring, also known as a trinity ring, with three metalwork swirls or corners. These were traditionally used as promise rings in ancient Ireland.
The rich history, meaning and origin of three-stone rings makes them especially well suited to romantic occasions.
A ruby three-stone (or trilogy) ring
5. Emerald cut ruby rings
As you may have noticed above, many ruby rings feature round or oval-shaped stones. This is due to the fact that it’s very rare to find a big, clear natural ruby that doesn’t have any flaws inside. Therefore gem cutters tend to favour oval or round shapes which maximise the use of the rough stone that the gem was carved from.
However, a rectangle-shaped ruby (referred to in the gem industry as an ’emerald cut’) will also look spectacular. It’s particularly flattering on bigger hands, making the fingers look refined and elegant.
What’s more, this geometric shape tends to give off long flashes of light, rather than sparkle. (Sparkle is more often seen in round and oval rubies, because of the way their facets reflect light in all directions).
Overall, this ruby shape has a unique edge that looks different and special compared to other classic gemstone rings you see around.
An ’emerald cut’ ruby ring
6. Creative Ruby Rings
There are as many styles of ruby rings as there are marriages. Although the ruby is the central feature in these rings, it’s not the only factor that goes into creating an attractive ring.
The surrounding accent stones, the metal chosen for the band, and the overall design all play a part.
If the person you are buying the ring for has flamboyance and flair, you may want to consider a ruby ring design that breaks the norm.
Below are some creative ruby ring shapes that can be used as ideas for anniversary gifts.
Ruby ringa for a 40th wedding anniversary – unusual designs
Other reasons to choose rubies
The ruby is one of the “Big Five” precious stones, alongside diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and tanzanite.
Rubies are also incredibly durable. This is ideal for rings that are intended for daily use. Rings can sometimes get knocked when you use your hands.
With the ruby being the third hardest gem after the diamond, this is much less of a concern than for instance with emeralds, which are much more fragile.
The ruby’s colour can range from strong pink to sumptuous red, and that’s why it’s associated with love.
It’s also the birthstone for July, so if your partner was born mid-summer, an anniversary gift of a ruby will have double the significance.
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Be sure to also read our recent Ruby Birthstone article. Visit our Ruby Gem Guide for ruby facts, expert buying advice, history, care and cleaning tips, and more.