The ruby is a stone from the corundum family like all sapphires. The only distinction compared to the others is its red color. Therefore, the ruby is a red sapphire.
Like all corundum, it is made of aluminum oxide. Its color is due to the chrome oxide that replaces the aluminum oxide. It can be transparent or translucent. It is formed in magmatic or metamorphic rocks. The ruby is insoluble in acids. It is also the strongest mineral after the diamond.
The most popular color is the one called “pigeon blood” which is a frank red with a tiny touch of blue.
Its name comes from the Latin “ruber” which means “red” and that was given in the 13th century. In the 19th century, it would wear a more common name which was given to several red stones, just like the carbuncle during the medieval period. It is often confused with the red spinel, the tourmaline (Siberia ruby), the pyrope garnet, the almandine garnet, the fluorite, or the pink orange topaz.
The ruby is a solid stone and is very sought after, mainly in jewelry. After the diamond, it is one of the most expensive stone. Its value depends on its dimensions, color, purity and cut.
The natural ruby always presents inclusions which will guarantee its authenticity. Only the synthetic ones can come close to perfection.
The synthetic stones are stones made by man with scientific methods. They reproduce the natural conditions in a laboratory in order to create or make a stone with the exact same characteristics than the natural stone, whether chemical, optical or physical. Therefore, this is not an imitation, but the synthetic property has to be mentioned.
The French Edmond Frémy made the first synthetic ruby with the melted salts method in 1877.
It is in 1902 that the French Auguste Verneuil, adoptive son of Edmond Frémy, made the first synthetic ruby by the fusion of aluminum oxide powder with a red colorant.
Nowadays, there are a lot of methods to produce quality synthetic rubies: Imori, Chatam, Kashan, Ramaura, Knischka…
It seems very easy to distinguish a natural ruby from a synthetic one, with a simple magnifying glass. The natural ruby always presents imperfections that give its charm and reflections. On the contrary, the synthetic ruby is almost perfect, showing sometimes tiny bubbles.
Because this stone is confused a lot with other red stones, it is quite difficult to trace its history.
In India, the ruby is mainly appreciated and recognized. It is called “ratnaraj” in Sanskrit or “king of the precious stones”. People would think that its color showed it imprisoned an internal fire that could never be extinguished.
In Burma, the warriors would wear rubies which were meant to make them invincible during the fight. But in order to be efficient, the ruby had to be inserted below the skin. This is quite common in different cultures due to the color associated with blood, and symbol of courage.
Hindus would also see the ruby as a protection stone. If it was offered to the god Krishna, it would ensure a high social rank in their next life, like being an emperor.
the Mani Mala describes the sacred tree named Kalpa. It is an offering made to Hindu gods made of precious stones: sapphires, diamonds, topazes, emeralds… and rubies as fruits.
Hindus would consider that the ruby would release such a heat that it could make boil the liquid in which it was submerged.
As they would exchange rubies on the Silk Road from 200 BC, Chinese warriors would also decorate their swords with rubies as a protection. They were also buried in the foundations of buildings to ensure the prosperity of a family. It is said that the emperor Kublai Khan would have offered an entire town against one ruby.
The ruby was introduced in Europe by the Greeks and the Etruscans around 500 BC.
The Greek people would believe that a carved seal ruby was able to melt wax on its own.
The Romans would include the ruby under the same name than other red and shiny stones: “carbunculorum” or “alight small charcoal”. However you can find very few carved seals made of ruby because it was expensive and hard to carve. Spinel was the best option to do so.
During the medieval period in Europe, the ruby would remind of blood and fire. It was therefore associated with courage and to ardor. It appeared as a royal sign on crowns or helms. It was also meant to protect the knight from injuries and diseases.
In the Middle-Ages, and still today, it is thought that if the ruby changes its color, this is a sign of bad news.
Dragons and chimeras were meant to wear a ruby on their forehead to make some light and find their way during the night.
For Christians, the ruby symbolizes the blood of the Christ. It would generally ornate the ring of cardinals and the council of the Vatican II.
It would be the most precious of the 12 stones created by God and placed on Aaron’s plastron, around the neck.
The ruby symbolizes the 35th anniversary of marriage. It is also the birthstone of July.
The ruby has a special place in the Islam. It is more particularly linked to the creation of man in the Coran, when God would have sent a house of ruby to Adam.
The rulers of Orient would wear a lot of rubies which would symbolize their power. Marco Polo described for example the ruby of the Ceylon king, Sendemain or of the king of Siam.
Another source says that the caliph of Bagdad would have paid an enormous tribute to the victorious Turkish’s. In this treasure could be found a gold peacock, decorated with rubies with ruby eyes. There was also a ruby eyed rooster, a ruby egg…
Mines: Cambodia, the USA, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam.
As the ruby is a red sapphire, you can also check the sapphire healing properties:
/!\ Please note that all healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions.