- Category: Gemstones by the Month
Ruby: July’s gemstone
Ruby is among the most highly prized of gems. Like a perfect red rose, its rich colour speaks of love and passion.
What is ruby?
The word “ruby” comes from the Latin "ruber," meaning red. It’s the hardest mineral after diamond, and is found as crystals within metamorphic rock. Ruby is only red, and called a sapphire in any other colour. Shades range from an orangey-red to a purplish-red, but the most prized gems are true red. Large rubies are very rare and valuable, with the best crystals from Burma.
The Ruby was considered to have magical powers, and worn by royalty as a talisman against evil. It was believed to grow darker when danger approached, and to return to its original colour once safe.
Ancient tribes thought rubies represented heat and power - using them in blowguns and imagining a ruby could instantly boil water. It was also believed that the red glow comes from an endless internal flame, making ruby symbolic of everlasting love. Ground to powder, ruby was taken to cure indigestion - and if worn on the left hand, bring good fortune.