Color Your Love Red

CYL_Red_WebRoses. Hearts. Passion. Desire.

The color red embodies all of these!

Red is the boldest color in the visible spectrum, a wonderful mix of energy and emotion. There is no better way to outwardly convey inner passion than featuring the color red in your engagement ring.

In art, red has long been established as the color to portray affection and desire. One of the dutch masters, Johannes Vermeer, is a prime example of utilizing this color to symbolize either apparent or hidden passion between couples. In the artist’s early career (1650-1660), he experimented with bold colors before settling into his characteristic blue and yellow color palette as seen in, arguably, his most recognizable work, Girl with a Pearl earring.


Below are three of Vermeer’s early images.  Each is comprised of a seated woman in a striking red dress, with a man attempting to woo her. In each image, she is either keeping him at bay or entertaining his advances. The varying crimson tone of each woman’s dress displays passion and love from her perspective, coexisting with his perspective.  Another way that Vermeer accentuated the relational interaction is by the woman’s central location in the frame, making her not only the focus for the man but the viewer as well, as she is the object of his desire.

de_jong_refused_drink van_mieris_pet_BIG GG 316 Jan Vermeer van Delft Das Mädchen mit dem Weinglas Leinwand 78 X 67 cm

In a modern example, Robert Indiana captivated not only the casual viewer, but the United States government with LOVE, his original Christmas card turned sculpture which displays the word “LOVE”. In 1965, the MoMA (Modern Museum of Art) in New York commissioned Indiana for a Christmas card. The piece was depicted in red, conveying the emotion plainly through text and reinforcing it with the color most often associated with the feeling.  The resulting image of LOVE quickly gained popularity and now is one of the most recognizable pop-art images. Indiana also received a little help in perhaps unexpected places; the US Postal Service made it an eight cent stamp in 1973, and the wildly recognizable sculpture of the piece was installed in February of 2000 on 6th Avenue at 55th Street in New York, New York.

LOVELOVE-Stamps-sheet-low-res robert-indiana-love-sculpture

In jewelry, the scarlet shade immediately brings to mind rubies. These beautiful stones have been sought out and considered precious for several millennia. In fact, rubies are mentioned four times throughout the Bible, in Ezekiel 27:16, Proverbs 3:15, Revelation 4:3 and 21:20. The passage from Ezekiel states, “Syria did business with you [Tyre] because of your abundant goods; they exchanged for your wares emeralds, purple, embroidered work, fine linen, coral, and ruby.” This excerpt, and the fact that rubies can garner the highest per-carat price of any colored stones, underlines rubies as being sought out not only for their beauty, but their value as well.

2.58 ct cushion cut ruby from Burma.

Rubies are valued mainly for their color and that color heavily dictates the price. If you read Color Your Love Blue, you know that sapphires come in almost any color of the rainbow. Many people are unaware that rubies are actually a specific color range of sapphires. Sapphires and rubies are of the same gem species, corundum. Pure corundum is clear like diamonds and is used for sapphire crystals in quality watches or the sapphire crystal display proposed for the upcoming iPhone. Different impurities in corundum yield its rainbow of colors. When dealing with sapphires, the term sapphire typically is understood as referring to blue sapphires. Every other color, except red, is considered a “fancy colored” sapphire and is referenced by the predominant color followed by sapphire. For example: Pink Sapphire, Yellow Sapphire, etc.

The term ruby historically refers to specific hues of corundum ranging from orangey red to purplish red, with the most desirable ruby color being a pure red to slightly purplish red. Almost all rubies are heat treated to enhance their color. Heat treating is performed through varied processes; some require simply heating the gems in crude, handmade crucibles, while others have the gems fired in laboratory quality computer controlled blast furnaces from 570 to 3450 degrees Fahrenheit. The rubies will remain at a desired temperature for thirty minutes and up to twelve hours, only to emerge with deeper more desired hues and higher saturations.

Throughout culture and history, ruby engagement rings have been a constant favorite among couples from Hollywood to royalty. Prince Rainier III of Monaco gave Grace Kelly an alternating ruby and diamond eternity band for their engagement and Jessica and Ashlee Simpson both received stunning ruby rings from their respective beaus.


Although these popular examples convey rubies as a mark of wealth, rubies are not just for the rich and famous!  Below is an example of a stunning blushing engagement ring from our inventory. The two-tone gold shank boasts a 1.20ct oval ruby ring surrounded by .93cttw of diamonds.

6600968(2) copy

Throughout time, from Dutch Masters and royalty to pop-art sensations and Hollywood starlets, red is a color that embodies some of our strongest emotions, passion, desire, and of course, love!

What about you? How would you Color Your Love? Click a color below to find out!


(More colors are on their way!)

Gemological Resources: GIA Image Sources: Girl with Pearl Earring, The Girl with a Wineglass (and related Vermeer), LOVE Sketch, LOVE Stamps, LOVE Sculpture, Ruby, Ashlee and Jessica Simpson

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