Gull’s nest on the sheer cliffs of Whitehead on Monhegan Island. Standing at the top with an expanse of endless blue ocean beyond, where gulls glide on updrafts, it’s a rare view on the coast of Maine…to be standing above flying gulls. This Gull ring has a red spinel center with 8 brilliant white diamonds on the outstretched wings. The ring feels as free as the spirit standing on the cliffs of Whitehead.
The Gull is one of our classic Trade Wind designs. When we find a just right-gem it’s considered for The Gull. You’ll love the understated simplicity of any gem we set in our Gull design.
“The Black Prince Ruby”
The Most Famous “Ruby” In the World
The Black Prince, a soldier of fortune, was England’s conquering hero of the 14th century. In 1367 Spain needed help. The Black Prince took his army to Spain, and turned the tide of war. Spain thanked him by giving him the world’s largest ruby, or so they thought, and so England and the Black Prince thought. England was convinced it was a ruby for nearly 500 years. “The Ruby” at 170 carats and the size of a hen’s egg, was in 1937 set into the Imperial State Crown of England, above the world’s second largest D Flawless diamond, The Cullinan II. At 317 carats the Cullinan II Diamond is an impressive gem, millions come to the Tower of London to view the crown every year. They come to see the crown and the diamond, but everyone is captivated by the huge blood red gem and its 650 year history. Sometime in the 19th century someone thought to test the red gem in the crown. With advanced gemological testing the “Black Prince Ruby”, the most famous ruby in the world was conclusively proven to be a huge red spinel, a natural gem and a chemical and optical first cousin to ruby.
Curiously, the “Black Prince Ruby” attaining and maintaining the status of the most famous “ruby” in the world obscures the true identity of the gem that is in fact a monster size red spinel. Spinel is a beautiful gem. It comes in all colors and has a high refractive index which makes it super brilliant. Spinel in all its colors is much rarer than ruby or sapphire. Rarity usually makes a gem more valuable if it’s also beautiful. Spinel’s challenge is that it is relatively unknown. The general public doesn’t know about spinel. Jewelers know little about spinel. Walk into a hundred American jewelry stores, ask for a spinel, some will admit to hearing of the gem, not one in a hundred is likely to have a gem to show. It’s one of those chicken and egg dilemmas, which comes first, customer demand for spinel or jewelers designing, creating, presenting spinel to the market place? It turns out neither. Spinel is found, cut, and polished as a gem and held in safe deposit boxes in Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia. When Keith and I started looking for spinel in Chanthaburi, Thailand in April of 2017 they were hard to come by at first, but as word spread that two crazy Americans were looking for spinel then big lots of thousands of carats began to appear. These were some of the most dazzling arrays of gems I’d ever seen. The colors were directly from the water colorist’s pallet of watercolor paints. They were pastel oranges, yellows, grays, pinks, deeper burgundies, and occasionally reds. View a spinel in the “Black Prince Ruby” color and you can feel your pulse quicken like you’ve just run a mile, like you’ve just done push-ups, like you just won a million dollars. The red of ruby will do this to you. Spinel will too. The color red has that effect. Rubies and red spinel (“Black Prince Ruby”) are nature’s two reddest gems.
Spinel, a Black Prince “Ruby”, red with a touch of orange, is set into a ring we call The Gull. It is 18K Yellow Gold with eight graduated diamonds. The first person that reads this should buy it. The ring is that good.
“Black Prince Ruby”
Red Spinel & Diamond Ring
In the British Imperial State Crown, set just above the world’s second largest diamond (at 317 carats), is the “Black Prince Ruby” – a 170 carat red spinel. So close, so similar are the properties of ruby and spinel, it was thought for 500 years to be a ruby. We have our own Black Prince “Ruby”. An oval-cut, royal-red, hint of orange beauty set in the center of eight diamonds in 18K Yellow Gold.
“Black Prince Ruby”
The world’s most famous ruby, the “Black Prince Ruby”, is not a ruby at all, but rather a rare red spinel, a sister gem to ruby. A hard, durable gem so similar to ruby the Imperial Crown of England has a 170 carat red spinel set above the world’s second largest diamond, “The Cullinan II” also known as the “Star of South Africa II” a D Flawless diamond at 317 carats. So similar are these two gems, ruby and spinel, that for 500 years the English Crown and their jewelers just didn’t know and called it a ruby. In the 19th century the gem was tested and found to be a spinel. The “Black Prince Ruby” is a show stealer. The power of red so prominent sitting above the “Cullinan II”, it is the gem that everyone sees, notices, and remembers. You might say, not only is it the world’s most famous “ruby”, it’s really the world’s most famous gem. And yet hardly anyone knows about red spinel. Even most jewelers are clueless about red spinel and its most famous gem the “Black Prince Ruby”.
Here is why the obscurity of this rare gem is important to you. Because so few know of its existence and history, “Black Prince Rubies” still sell for much less than actual rubies. We know because for the last three years we’ve hunted the world for these amazing red gems. They are rare, rarer than rubies. An opportunity exists right now to acquire one of these exceptional gems. Looking back, you’ve known of opportunities to acquire a stock like Apple or Google at bargain prices. Think of Bitcoin rising from a few hundred dollars to over $2,000 and beyond. Opportunities in gems exist. Red Spinel is found in the same limestone gem deposits as ruby, has optical properties similar to ruby, and for 500 years was thought to be ruby, until it was tested in the 19th century. Today this hen’s egg size spinel is among the most famous gem in the world.
Price: With a ruby of this size, cut, and clarity this ring would sell for twice, three, four times as much. As a “Black Prince Ruby”, if you like mystery, intrigue and the history of what was thought to be the world’s largest ruby set with the world’s second largest diamond in the British Imperial State Crown, then consider The Gull.
Diamonds – world sourced, cut in Belgium. Well-cut with a full complement of 58 facets, rating a 3 on our quality cut scale. Nice white color, beautifully matched. Hardness 10.
About the Trade Wind Collection:
Where does inspiration come from? Where do the creative sparks for design begin? For Cross’ new Trade Wind Jewelry Collection, we find ourselves drawn into the story of Captain John Henry Drew, from Gardiner, Maine. Born in 1834, he grew up the son of a Ship’s Carver, and went to sea at the age of 15, eventually becoming Captain of a series of clipper ships, and traveling from New York to China and back home, when that voyage took more than seventeen months.
Instead of carving or knotting or other hobbies that were characteristic of sailors, this mostly self-educated man read books, memorized details from newspapers, and wrote about his journey—his literal and his inner journey. His hand-written and personally illustrated journals tell us of his longing for Maine, for his family, and for “making something of himself”. He is very much like you and me, and it makes his story that much more compelling. He savors apples from home, as tasting better than apples from anywhere else. He imagines the scene he might see looking in the window at home, where his family sits, and he chastises himself for not getting more done at home when he was there.
The jewelry in our Trade Wind Collection is made by his great-great-great grandson, Keith. This young man went to sea as well, at age 18. As part of his service to the US Navy, his travels took him to many of the same places his great-great-great grandfather’s clipper ships visited. Keith also had a hobby unconventional for sailors— he had a fascination for gems and he studied gemology. He studied so that when his service was completed, he could become a jeweler. As Keith traveled the world, he collected exquisite gems, and after leaving the service and returning home, he mastered the art of fine jewelry making.
It is now decades later. We met Keith for the first time in March, 2014. We were impressed with his jewelry, and as we talked further, discovered he had a clipper ship sea captain ancestor and became intrigued with the parallels of his journey in life with that of his sea captain forebear.
The parallels in the two stories are expressed in the jewelry itself—the exotic colors, the flow of the designs, the attention to detail which is something passed down in this family—whether it is to protect the ship, its cargo and its crew, or to create a design that will last and protect its valuable gems, giving the wearer the same pleasure we experience when a ship at full sail goes by. You can’t help but stop and exclaim, “Isn’t that beautiful?”
We were hooked by this story, and by the jewelry. We think you will be too. In fact, we’re posting pages from Captain Drew’s journals from the Voyage of the Franklin in 1868. Take a few minutes to join in the journey, and think of those you love most, and rejoice if they are right there with you.
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