Health, wealth and good fortune in affairs of the heart – those are the promises made by the ruby. Its fiery color is said to symbolize the depths of passion, devotion and desire. More valued than diamonds, the ruby is July’s birthstone and Cancer’s starstone.
Rubies with their fiery hearts have inspired passion and legends throughout history. Technically, they are a form of corundum – red corundum. All other colors of corundum are known as sapphires. Only the ruby stands alone – and well she might. Rubies are even more rare than was once believed. Since chemical testing has become more common, it’s been discovered that many of the world’s most famous rubies are not rubies at all, but either garnet or spinel. While still beautiful, they don’t possess the hardness nor the rich depth of color found in true rubies.
The color of rubies has given rise to numerous legends, associating the gemstone with courage, power, devotion, passion and love. In Hindu lore, rubies were believed to be the crystallized blood of the demon, Vala, whose body seeded all the mines of the world. When his body was divided, his blood fell over Sri Lanka and Burma, creating the rubies that can be mined from the ground. The sparkle and luminescence of rubies is said to be created by an inextinguishable fire in the heart of the stone. The fire is linked to the life of the person who wears it or owns it, and as long as the ruby burns bright, it is said, the person will enjoy good fortune and good health. So clear is this connection, according to some legends, that a ruby will darken in color if its wearer’s life is in danger.
In healing, rubies are the gem of choice to cure diseases of the blood and the heart. In medieval times, rubies were often associated with dragons, and to this day, sculptures of dragons may be set with red stones for eyes. Mystical and magical, rubies were believed to confer courage and boldness, passion and steadfastness in battle or in love. In some tribes, it was believed that he who wore a ruby under his skin would be invincible in battle.
In Ayurvedic tradition, rubies are associated with the Sun, and their fire is said to emanate from a spark of the sun itself. It’s believed that a real ruby has the power to make a lotus bloom, and if the ruby is placed in a glass jar, it will radiate a red light. In fact, it is said that a Chinese emperor lit an entire room in his palace with a singly large ruby. While this may be a bit of an exaggeration, rubies do have a natural red phosphorescence that makes them appear to give off light.
In India, where rubies are treasured and valued above all other stones, there are rituals for the wearing and acquisition of rubies. A ruby should be bought at the start of the week, on a Sunday or a Monday, or on a Thursday, and always during an ascending moon in order to make the most of its power. A ruby should also always touch the skin when it’s worn – and you may notice that of all the stones, the settings for ruby rings are often open at the back so that the stone can be in contact with the flesh. This improves the healing power of the stone, according to tradition.
Rubies are often considered to be the most durable of stones. While they have a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale as opposed to the diamond at 10, rubies have no cleavage, and are less prone to breaking for that reason. Treated well, a good quality ruby will last through generations, to hand down the tradition of love and courage throughout the ages.
|June||Pearl, Alexandrite||White or Color Change|
|October||Opal, Tourmaline||Mulit-Color or Pink|
|November||Topaz, Citrine||Yellow or Orange|
|December||Blue Topaz, Turquoise, Tanzanite||Blue|