Part of the Russian crown jewels for centuries, Caesar’s Ruby turned out not to be a ruby at all. The more than 255-carat raspberry-shaped gem, which was made into a pendant with leaves of gold and green enamel, has a peripatetic history: after the 1574 death of its first known owner, Charles IX of France, his wife, Elisabeth, brought it back to her home in Austria. It was later looted by Sweden during the Thirty Years’ War and eventually given as a gift to Catherine the Great. But during an inventory of the Russian collection in 1922, the mineralogist Aleksandr Fersman made a shocking discovery: Caesar’s Ruby was, in fact, a rubellite tourmaline. While classified as semiprecious, such tourmalines, which derive their colour from manganese, are actually rarer than rubies. By mixing deep scarlet rubies with tourmalines, which tend to come in shades of tender rose, in a pair of pink gold chandelier earrings, Bulgari, the 138-year-old Rome-based house, has created an explosion of shimmering coral reds that trace the curve of the neck. Caesar’s Ruby captured the world’s attention with its depth of hue; these earrings refract that legacy in an elegant cascade.
Bulgari Tourmaline Blossom earrings, price on request, bulgari.com.