Ruby is the birthstone of the month Juli. And also the gem to give with a 15th and the 40th anniversary. It is also my birthstone and I love that red color. There are so many stories about this red gemstone. In this blog post, you find one of the stories explaining how to defeat your enemy with a ruby.

What does it look like?

Ruby gemstones are red, very red. And red is the color of love (heart and red roses), of power (like red sports cars) or strength (red blood). According to legends, the red gem brings you fortune and health and power. And on top of it: when you wear a ruby your enemy cannot defeat you. That is: when you wear yours on your left side (where the heart is). You can imagine that ruby is a popular gemstone at all times and in many parts of the world.

The red ruby (heart, love) with its hardness (9 on Moh’s scale) and the belief that the gemstone has an inner fire, that can not be extinguished. This makes it the symbol of everlasting love and perfect stone in an engagement ring. And in Old Times the Ruby was THE gemstone for a wedding ring.

I bet you want to know a bit more about this intriguing gemstone.

And that’s not all!

The Ruby has a pink to blood-red color and that color determines the price of the gemstone. You call the brightest and most valuable ‘red’ color blood-red or ‘pigeon blood’. This gemstone belongs to the family of the corundum, like sapphire. And the color red is caused by the presence of chromium. The name comes from the Latin word ‘ruber’, which means red. In Sanskrit, it is called ‘ratnaraj’, which means the king of the gems.

One feature of the Ruby is very attractive: the gemstone is not perfect! Although a clear gemstone is more valuable, this is not the case here. It has needles (‘silk’) or rutile inclusions. But without them, you are sure this is a treated ruby. Almost all rubies nowadays are treated with heat before cutting.

Then the last important feature is that this gemstone is very tough or hard. After the diamond (scale 10 on Moh’s scale) follows the Ruby (scale 9) on hardness. Some consider it as one of the four gemstones (besides diamond, sapphire, and emerald), but this indication is a bit old-fashioned.

ruby with diamonds

ruby with diamonds

How the Ruby is so popular from the Stone Ages until now?

For a very very long time, Ruby is famous and well appreciated. The people in the time of the Bible consider the red gem as one of the most beautiful gemstones God made when he creates the world (birthstones). God tells the high priest Aaron how he has to be clothed when he is in function. He has to wear a breast shield on his heart. And on that breast shield, there are twelve gemstones representing the tribes of Israel. And the ruby is one of the gemstones.

But in the Bible, you also find a text, to bring the appreciation of the ruby in perspective. I am not aware of the fact that Job was such a wise man. But he says: ‘wisdom is more precious than rubies’. Although they say that it is the symbol of wisdom too.

ruby pendant (vintage)

ruby pendant (vintage)

The Ruby is popular and valued in Europe…

In Europe, rubies are highly appreciated by the royalty and the upper classes. Not only because of the beauty but also because people think that this gemstone guarantees health, wealth, wisdom. And a good love life. Madame Mendes, living in France one time, is convinced that beautiful gemstones are inhabited by spirits. And the spirits get angry with her when she doesn’t wear the gemstones frequently. That’s why she wears so many rings at the same time. She claims that the ruby in her ring becomes dull if she doesn’t wear it. But she has a problem. Because the other gemstones complain also when she does not wear them often enough. The result is that she looks like a Christmas tree, fully hanged with jewelry.

…But also in India.

Since about 2500 years rubies are mined in India. The Hindus regard them as the ‘king of the gemstones’. They are more appreciated and valued than the other gemstones. They see the different colors as different castes. The most popular color is ‘the red of the Lotus’. It relates to the highest caste (Brahmin) and rubies protect the owner against any danger. But… this color ruby should not be in contact with other colors of ruby or other gemstones. Because that precious ruby contaminates them and loses his power. That is similar to the caste policy of India, since ages. Keep groups of people with different social backgrounds apart to avoid problems. But the result is that you get problems with discrimination and the uprising against that.

dark green necklace made of malachite and ruby zoisite

dark green necklace made of malachite and ruby zoisite

Go to the necklace made of ruby zoisite

A famous member of the ruby family

The most expensive and most famous one in the world is the Sunrise Ruby. Less expensive as the diamond, but a very well second best. In may 2015 the Sunrise Ruby is auctioned by Sotheby’s in Geneva and they estimate the value of the gemstone for about 12-18 million US dollars. The bidding starts (mostly by phone) and within 7 minutes the Sunrise Ruby is sold for more than 30 million US dollars to an unknown bidder.

A big fan of the gemstone is Elisabeth Taylor, who has a lot of them, set in jewelry, of one of her 7 husbands (she marries Richard Burton twice, so the total of engagement and wedding rings come to 16!). When she dies in 2011 her complete jewelry collection is auctioned and the total price is 156.8 million US dollars. A ring set with an 8.24 karat ruby breaks the record for the ‘price-per-carat’ and is sold for 4.2 million US dollars.

A member of the ruby family disappeared.

The largest mined ruby in the world is the Liberty Bell Ruby and it is stolen in 2011. It is mined in East Africa in the 1950s and has 8500 karats. And sculptured in the form of the Liberty Bell. This ruby has 50 diamonds set into the miniature and the value is 2 million US dollars. But is stolen from a jewelry store in Delaware. After setting a $10.000 reward four years later the police arrest four men and indict them for the heist. But the Liberty Bell Ruby is not found yet.

The star in the family of rubies

There are rubies with a ‘star’, showing a three-point or the six-point asterism. These stones are cut into cabochons and used mostly for making rings, to show the effect properly. You see that asterism best to rotate a light source above the stone. The needles reflect in a kind of star. In fact: the imperfection of the needles increases the value of this gemstone.

The bastards in the family

In 1837 Mr. Gaudin makes the first synthetic rubies and that is the start of producing many synthetic varieties of all sorts of gemstones. That is the fate of all gemstones that are expensive and rare enough to gain money by making the synthetic variety. In 1903  Mr. Verneuil starts to make synthetic rubies on a commercial scale and in 1910 he can produce 1000 kilo per year.

When a Ruby has only a few imperfections the stone is more valuable. But when you see gas bubbles (with a lens) or you don’t see imperfections at all: that might be very well a synthetic ruby and be aware!

Not only synthetic rubies are on the market, but you can see also imitations, like red spinel or garnet, claimed to be rubies. Since the Roman times’ imitation rubies are sold on the market and in the 17th century they were able to color foil red and placed it under the imitation stone.

The powers of the Ruby

The Ruby associates with wealth: wear it on the side of the heart it protects your house, your estates, and other possessions. And on top of that, the owner of the ruby lives in peace, love, and wisdom and there are no perils.

Especially the Burmese variety is famous for soldiers: they become invulnerable. But they do not have to wear the gemstone on the side of the heart because the ruby has to become a part of the body. Then the soldier is safe from wounds by bullets or sword. I looked into this story and I can not find any written evidence of how the soldiers get that stone into their body. It cannot be done by swallowing rubies since during the fight they will come out the natural way. Maybe they implant it somewhere in their body. But that can be dangerous too in those times, without the right medical care. If somebody can help me out solving this intriguing problem, pls write a comment on this blog.

In Pakistan/Kashmir lives a tribe (Hanza) who thought that rubies or other red stones like garnets will cause more severe wounds than bullets. And they try that in their fight against the British in 1892. Unnecessary to say that it does not work at the time.

The health power of the ruby

Like many other gemstones, this gemstone is also thought to have curative power. Although it is a rather expensive medicine: it is grounded into a powder and the patient with indigestion problems can be cured by drinking the powder with water. The ruby purifies the blood and supposes to be an antidote for poison.

In the world of science and hypnotism, the ideas of the power of color related to gemstones are rising. Dr. Kunz said that “It is impossible to over-estimate the effect of color in determining the supposed influence of gems upon the fortunes or health of the wearers. Not only are gems such as a fine ruby aesthetically pleasing, but the influence of the rays of light cannot be discounted.” The red light rays were stimulating and warm, while the blue-violet light was calming, according to the hypnotists.

Down to earth

We can say that Ruby is an intriguing and beautiful gemstone with a lot of powers. Wearing it on the side of the heart or inside your body gives you health, wealth, you will be invincible, it is great for your sex life. Everybody that dreams about rubies will become an emperor or king. And the alternative is to offer a ruby to the temple and your career will be insured.

Whatever the story, whatever they believe in the story as in this gemstone: Ruby is a great and beautiful piece of nature. And you are lucky if you possess a jewel made of rubies, whether your birthday is in July or in another month.

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