Ruby is the birthstone for July and for 40th wedding anniversaries and birthdays. A gemstone from the corundum species of mineral, which also includes sapphire, ruby is the most valuable. The word ruby can be traced back to the Sanskrit for king of gems and to the Latin, ruber, which means red.
Pure corundum is naturally colourless and it is the trace elements which gives the mineral of various colours. In the case of ruby the element giving rise to the red colourations, from orangish red to purplish red, is chromium. The amount of chromium determines the strength of the red colour.
The richest red rubies are typically found marble which, lacking in iron, produces the deep red and are mined in Myanmar, the Himalayas and north Vietman.
Ruby, just like the colour red, symbolizes passion making ruby jewellery an ideal romantic gift, whilst others, perhaps less romantically inclined, consider ruby to represent weath and success. There must be a reason why sports cars are almost always coveted more if they’re red and isn’t it always red roses that sets our hearts racing? On the other hand, of course, such intense passionate emotions evoked by the colour red have their opposites in phrases such as “seeing red” to describe fury and anger!
Ruby is also rich in folklore. Ancient Indian civilization believed that rubies encouraged peaceful times with enemies. Long ago, the Hindu people made offerings of ruby to Krishna in the hope and expectation of rebirth as an emperor. In what was Burma, warriors perhaps took the folklore a bit too seriously as they inserted rubies into their flesh in the pursuit of invincibility in warfare! And, of course, the Bible, where several mentions of ruby are to be found. Perhaps the most well-known being from Proverbs:
Proverbs 31: 10 – Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.