The Ruby is known as the ‘King of Gemstones’ and the word comes from the Latin word for red- Ruber. It is the gemstone for those born in July. The Sanskrit word for ruby is “ratnarj” and the loose translation for that is “king of the gems” which is why the ruby is known as “King of Gemstones”. Rubies were discovered around 2,000 years ago and though we don’t know where exactly, it is assumed to be India.
Unlike diamonds and emeralds, it is incredibly difficult to find large rubies, most of them being small flecks and stones. This is why it is much more valuable than other precious gemstones as its size increases. Only four gems fall into the precious gems category and those are the diamond, the emerald, the sapphire and the ruby.
The ruby is part of the gem species corundum. While rubies are generally thought of as being red, they can be anywhere from a light pink to a deep red- however the color is what is most important to its value. The darker the red the higher the prize. Any gem that doesn’t fall into the correct color spectrum is then a fancy color sapphire- that includes corundum colors that are orange, yellow, brown, green, blue, colorless, violet, black and purple.
In fact, the Ancient Hindus called sapphires unripe rubies, believing that if you buried a sapphire it would turn into a beautiful ruby of the deepest red color. They also believed that rubbing rubies directly on the skin improves both physical and mental health, improving blood circulation.
Rubies also happen to be harder than any other natural gemstone (except diamonds, of course) and so it’s a durable stone that is suitable for everyday wear.
Ancient Hindus believed that rubies were a sign of protection from evil (think back to the Wizard of Oz and Dorothy’s ruby slippers), while others say that rubies attract good luck. Ancient Chinese warriors wore them on their armour, and today they symbolize love and passion.
The largest ever mined ruby weighed four pounds, it was dubbed the Liberty Bell Ruby and was actually stolen in a 2011 heist.
Natural rubies are prone to inclusions, which is one of the ways you can tell the difference between natural rubies and those created in labs. They are generally heat treated to bring out the color to a deeper red, and you will find that most off the rubies available for retail have in fact been treated.
Today most rubies are mined in Southeast Asia and Africa. The Mogok mines in Myanmar are known to be home to the finest rubies on the planet.
Health, wealth and wisdom; love success, stirring of the imagination and arousal of the senses… all synonymous with the ruby. What better way to show your love than by gifting a ruby for a special July birthday?
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