THE GEM OF PASSION
Because of its lovely red color, ruby has been associated with the heart, the blood and the centers of passion throughout its history. In ancient India, ruby was highly valued for three distinct purposes. Mystics used rubies to stimulate spiritual creativity and religious devotion. Healers believed that rubies could heal diseases of the pelvic cavity and generative organs as well as the heart and the blood. Soldiers wore rubies to staunch the blood of wounds received in battle and as a talisman against getting shot by arrows.
Many of the Hindu beliefs about rubies were passed along the trade routes to Greek and Roman cultures. Ancient Greek women believed that wearing ruby could bring them love and physical beauty. Many Roman nobles had intaglio rings carved out of ruby to protect their wealth and health.
Rubies were considered the wedding stone through the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, as they were supposed to keep passion alive and promote lasting love and contentment in marriage.
In modern times, ruby has become the July birthstone, fifteenth and fortieth anniversary stone, and the gem of Capricorn. Sharing the same physical properties as its fellow corundum sapphire, ruby’s vibrant color and durability make it a popular choice.
Rubies come in many shades of red. Rubies tend to be priced by color. The closer a gem is to the vivid red “pigeon's blood” color, the higher the price. Some rubies have fissures or surface breaks that require special care in cleaning and wearing.
Lovers of rubies are in luck. New sources of supply in India, Africa, Vietnam and Thailand have made rubies in all sizes and colors more readily available than in previous years.