The glowing Ruby shall adorn
Those who in warm July are born
Then will they be exempt and free
From Love’s doubt and anxiety ( Walker)
What shall a hero give his heroine to express his passion and the promise of his heart? A ruby, of course! But why a ruby? Why any gemstone? Because the heroes of our stories love to lavish gifts to those he loves and … well, our readers are very loved. My gemstone series started with that idea. This month’s birthstone for July is the ruby is thought of as the ‘stone of love’. And, like the reputation of love, rubies have been the involved with cultural myths resulting in many amazing facts and facets of history.
Rubies garnered its name from Latin ‘ruber’ meaning red and, according to a Hindu legend, was created from a colorless diamond when a queen was stabbed to death by a jealous courtier, thus staining this gemstone blood red. And this is only the beginning of this gem’s crazy history.
For starters, rubies were believed to capture light and heat. So, an ancient king of southern Burma, Pegu, once said he could light his entire city from the light of his rubies. Must have had a lot of them. Not only that, but it was also believed that the ruby atop the Holy Grail would shine like a beacon in the night. Not really sure that worked, however, a ruby can glow in the dark if under a black ultraviolet light. Might try that at your next party!
Since rubies were believed to store heat, this ‘red-hot’ stone was once thought to be capable of making water boil. Hummm? And, if held only in the left hand you could feel the pulse of a ruby due to the closeness of the heart. That would be a fun try.
A few facts here…the ruby is second only to the diamond in hardness and can be more costly than a diamond of equal size thus making it extremely valuable and desirable. Now onward with the rubies stories… if stolen it was thought that the ruby’s heat would reflect so brightly it would radiate through the pocket of the thief. Not sure that works so ask a police officer on that one. However, gemstone miners did manage to steal rubies by putting these gems in an open wound and covering it with a cloth thus leading to the idea that a ruby, if implanted in the body, would make the wearer invulnerable. So, I guess they got away with the theft.
Now, being the color of blood led to even more ideas about rubies and its health benefits. It was believed to inspire integrity, devotion, happiness, healing, courage, romance, enthusiasm, generosity, inspiration, prosperity, power, and leadership ability. We don’t stop there! Rubies would also, supposedly, ward off toothaches, guard against poison, and the plots of enemies.
Now this is a good one on rubies … because this gem was once thought to help one talk to the animals and all nature spirits, sort of like a mental microphone. The ruby could also preserve a house, garden or vineyard from storms and even prevent worms if touched to the corners of the buildings. All the more reasons for our hero to give this gem as a gift to his lover.
I could go on and on with more tidbits of the ruby’s stories because like the other gems, rubies are rich with so much fantastical history. However, do keep in mind that “a virtuous woman is prized far above rubies.” So, what comes out from all of the ruby’s history is that it is one beloved stone.
(Again, thank you Barbara G Walker. BOOK OF SACRED STONES – ,fact and fallacy of the crystal world and Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry. Harold Newman.)
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