Gemstone History & Meaning: Ruby

“The glowing hue of the ruby suggested the idea that an inextinguishable flame burned in this stone.” 
—George Kunz, in The Curious Lore of Precious Stones

A 3 carat Burma ruby of exceptional quality

Unparalleled in their charisma, rubies have been revered by cultures for centuries and are well-known for their incredible color. The red radiance of the ruby reflects passion and power; the most coveted rubies, desired for their rarity, luster, and durability, hail from Burma. Recent finds of beautiful ruby material from Mozambique and Madagascar closely rival the Burmese material in appearance at values significantly below the premium one must pay for ruby originating in Burma.

Few wouldn’t recognize the intense, striking color of red corundum—and, in fact, just as the word “sapphire” comes from ancient language for the word “blue,” the name “ruby” comes from the Latin rubeus, meaning “red.”

   In the annexed report to its AGL certificate, Christopher Smith determined the color and quality of this nearly 9 carat ruby to be "representative of the finest material that has ever been recovered from Mozambique."

In the annexed report to its AGL certificate, Christopher Smith determined the color and quality of this nearly 9 carat ruby to be "representative of the finest material that has ever been recovered from Mozambique."

A Noble Stone with an Inextinguishable Flame

Often referred to as “the queen of stones” or “the stone of kings,” the ruby has a long, storied past of being held in great esteem by royalty. For centuries, rubies were worn as talismans, symbolizing protection and prosperity. Mongolian Emperor Kublai Khan was said to have offered an entire city in exchange for a sizeable ruby.

“The price of wisdom is above rubies.”
—JOB 28:18

Because of its glowing hue, the ruby was thought to have an inextinguishable flame within it. Ancient Chinese legend claims rubies shone through the thickest clothing and could never truly be hidden. Rubies symbolized the sun and had various legendary properties; for example, the Ancient Greeks threw rubies into water to make it boil, and Burmese warriors kept rubies in their navels during battle, believing it would make them invincible.

 A gorgeous, 7.11 carat pair of un-heated pearshape rubies.

A gorgeous, 7.11 carat pair of un-heated pearshape rubies.

Courage, Energy, Undying Love

The ruby is the birthstone of those born in July, typically one of the hottest months of the year in the United States. And although it belongs to December as a natal stone, the ruby is the gem of summer, born in some of the world’s warmest climates including Burma, Mozambique, and Sri Lanka.  

Today, ruby gemstones continue to symbolize bravery, valor, and courage while shielding against evil. Its fiery color promotes the balance and strengthening of energy. Like the ever-burning flame within it, rubies evoke passion and love that does not fade away, making it a fantastic choice for engagement.

“From a little spark may burst a flame.”
—Dante Alighieri, Italian poet

A 21 Carat historic ruby illuminated by a fiber optic light while on the dop stick just after being re-cut by Jerrold Green of the Reginald C. Miller lapidary. 

Rubies for Your Milestone

Cushion Gem offers only high-quality, authentic colored gemstones. Our collection offers an unmatched assortment of striking rubies available in an array of sizes and cuts. Explore our full collection of ruby gemstones  or fill out our request form for help making the perfect selection for your engagement, anniversary, or any other milestone you are blessed with.

Richard OrbachComment