Ruby is a red gem that’s been a favorite since ancient times, but most of the rubies used in today’s jewelry are either synthetic or gems that have been treated in some way to improve their appearance. One way to get a natural ruby is to find it yourself. A few years ago we visited a ruby mine in Franklin, North Carolina, and spent the day looking for rubies and sapphires — both are members of the same mineral family. The rubies you find yourself probably won’t be of high quality, but it’s a lot of fun to search for them and then have a local craftsperson cut and set them for you. If you’re not near a mine, or would rather buy something ready-made, there are plenty of other choices, like this collection of ruby jewelry.

Photo © Blue Nile

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