Ruby has held its place as one of the most prized stones in existence, second only to diamond, since their discovery. The fierce red colour which incites passion, love and strength has mesmerised people throughout time and across the globe. It is a historically significant stone, having been mentioned four times in the Bible in association with attributes such as beauty and wisdom. To this day, the allure of Rubys features in popular culture, for example lining Dorothy’s shoes.
The word ruby comes from ‘ruber’, Latin for red, and is the blood-coloured cousin of Sapphire, both stones belonging to the corundum family. Many legends and stories have been associated to this stone throughout history. In the middle ages, Rubys were thought of as a stone of prophecy. It was believed that the stone darkened when danger was near. The Hindus, who named the stone ‘the king of precious stones’ divided Rubys into four castes and avoided Rubys of different castes being in contact for fear of contamination. In Burma, a Ruby source since 600AD, it was believed that rubies made warriors invincible in battle. However, just owning the Ruby was not enough, instead, the ruby had to be inserted into the flesh for the ruby in order to benefit from its powers. The Indians had a different take on the stone, believing that an owner of a ruby would live in peace with their enemies. Closer to home, Rubys became one of the most desirable gems of European royalty and the upper classes. Medieval Europeans believed that wearing Rubys would guarantee health, wealth, wisdom and love.
The great Ruby symbolises the sun, which is perhaps why we find ourselves so attracted to its glowing hue. It is associated to the heart chakra, as a stone of love, and it actively stimulates the root chakra and has many benefits to the physical body, stimulating vitality, sensuality and balance. Nowadays, Rubys are seen as the perfect gift on Valentines day, although in the past they have been used in wedding rings. Ruby is a gemstone of the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.