This royal stone is composed of corundum. The element chromium lends ruby its characteristic red color and glow or fluorescence. The name ‘ruby’ is taken from the Latin word ‘rubeus’, which means red. This fiery gemstone is treasured across many cultures for its vitality. Since only a few rubies grow enough to develop into crystals, they can be higher in cost than diamonds.
Mogok Valley in Burma produces some of the finest quality, blood-red rubies with purplish hues. Sometimes called Pigeon’s Blood rubies, they command the highest prices. Rubies were also discovered in the Mong Hsu area in Myanmar in the 1990s. Other areas with considerable ruby deposits include India, East Africa, Vietnam, Thailand and the United States.
Rubies rate 9 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness. Diamonds are the only gemstones which are harder than rubies. This fiery stone symbolizes protection, prosperity and passion. It’s associated with blood and life forces. It’s thought that wearing a ruby can heighten awareness, bring success in battle and love and amplify energy. Rubies also make the perfect wedding gemstone.
Rubies were prized in Ancient Asian societies. They were traded as early as 200 B.C. along the North Silk Road in China. They were a favourite amongst Chinese noblemen who wore them in their armour during battles. The Chinese also planted rubies beneath building foundations in order to secure good luck. In Burma, warriors also wore rubies when they went into battle as they believed it made them unconquerable. Some even implanted rubies into their skin for added protection.
In modern times, rubies aren’t just reserved for making jewelry. They’re also used to make medical instruments, lasers and wrist watches.