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History & Usage of Rubies

Rubies in Film & Television

The Use Of Rubies In Film and Television

As such a profoundly popular gemstone, it is no surprise that rubies have been prominently featured in many highly regarded films and television series. They have been the centerpiece of an entire story. They have been a big reveal in a surprising moment that goes on to become a quintessential scene in film history. And rubies have served as the source of a character’s entire power and presence in the most popular series of current memory.

Rubies in Pop Culture

ruby slippers wizard of oz
The famed ruby red slippers worn by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

The allure of rubies cannot be denied: their vibrant and deep color lends to an appeal that gets at the heart of human nature. They are the epitome of passion and have come to represent some very popular characters in the modern lexicon.

Dorothy’s Ruby Red Slippers

Perhaps the most famous appearance of rubies in a film goes to the ruby slippers worn by the character Dorothy Gale, played by Judy Garland, throughout “The Wizard of Oz.” In a piece of movie magic changing the story it was based on, and to take advantage of the new Technicolor technology, the silver slippers that Dorothy wears in the original book were changed to ruby and history was made.

judy garland wizard of oz
The four friends who traveled the yellow brick road in The Wizard of Oz.

In the movie, Dorothy is gifted the slippers from Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, in order to keep them safe from being used in the terrible plans of the Wicked Witch of the West. In the end, the ruby slippers are what allow Dorothy to return home to her family in Kansas. Multiple pairs were made for the film, and now, two are preserved by the Smithsonian as a part of American History, various pairs have been sold at auction landing with famous owners like Lady Gaga, and the FBI has aided in recovering a pair heisted from The Judy Garland Museum.

To achieve the ruby look, the costume designer took white pumps and covered them with red fabric, painting the soles red, and covering them in 2,300 dark red sequins to match. The bows were made of stiff cotton and adorned with three kinds of beads and rhinestones. The shining brilliance of the deep red ruby slippers have become one of the most iconic items in film history.

Pretty Woman’s Ruby Necklace

Another special piece of ruby jewelry helped catapult the career of America’s sweetheart Julia Roberts in a favorite scene from her breakout role in “Pretty Woman.” In the iconic scene, Roberts and Richard Gere are preparing for a night at the opera with Roberts wearing a stunning red evening gown and white gloves. 

In the improvised scene meant to be a prank, Gere opens a jewelry box to reveal a gorgeous ruby and diamond necklace. As Roberts reaches for it, he snaps the lid shut, startling Roberts and eliciting a spontaneous and genuine laugh from the star. In that moment, Roberts’ iconic laugh cemented her movie star status and is still one of the most memorable Hollywood images.

The ruby and diamond necklace itself boasts a design of 23 brilliant pear-cut rubies set within diamond heart clusters. Estimated to be valued at around $1.5 million, the piece was made by French jeweler Fred Joaillier specifically for the film to complement Julia Roberts’ trademark red hair.

Game of Thrones’ Powerful Ruby

A more modern appearance of a ruby was featured in the groundbreaking television series “Game of Thrones,” which just closed its run as perhaps the most watched series of all time. The show is known for its elaborate settings, costumes, and jewelry, a ruby necklace being one of the standout pieces of the series in look and for importance to the story.

Melisandre is a Priestess, also known as the Red Woman, who counsels kings and serves to help bring about the savior for the Seven Kingdoms. She is never seen without wearing her ruby and red gold necklace as it serves as the source of her power and youth, and even greater historical and religious significance, even up until the moment she finally does remove it.

The necklace was created especially for the character, featuring chunky red cast gold circles in a choker style. In the front circle, a large ruby weighing approximately 27 carats is set, appearing to be an elongated rough cut. In a pivotal scene in the final season, it is finally revealed just how crucial this ruby necklace was to the character and the progression of the entire series.

The prevalence of rubies throughout time continues with Rubies & Spirituality.

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