A ruby is a red colored variety of the mineral corundum. The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. Its name comes from ruber, Latin for red. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires. Generally, gemstone-quality corundum in all shades of red are called rubies. The birthstone for July, it can symbolize charity and dignity. Ruby has also been regarded as a stone for passion, protection, and healing.
Over centuries, the pure red color of fine rubies has inspired much folklore. In the ancient world, the ruby was associated with riches and royalty. In Hindu astrology, the ruby was considered so valuable it was deemed the “sun” jewel around which all other precious gems circled. The Sanskrit word for ruby, “ratnaraj,” roughly translates to “king of the gems”.
The ruby was commonly thought to have healing, calming and protective properties. In medieval times, some European noblemen and women believed if a ruby was worn on the left side of the body (by the heart) it would help bring peace into the owner’s life. Ancient Burmese warriors believed a ruby rendered its wearer essentially invincible. They believed this so fully that they even embedded the stone into their flesh before entering combat!
Today, ruby is treasured as a gift for July birthdays and celebration of a fortieth anniversary. But don’t be limited by tradition, anyone can enjoy wearing this rich beautiful gemstone! Want to know more about rubies? Our expert staff of Underwood’s Fine Jewelers can help. Call 479.521.2000 or visit us at 611 W. Dickson Street in downtown Fayetteville.