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July - Ruby (more information)

History of Ruby

Ruby is from the Latin word ruber meaning red. Ruby is among the oldest gems known to man, dating back many thousands of years. In the ancient language of Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj, or "king of precious stones."

“The price of wisdom is above rubies”, says Job in the Bible, implying that rubies were highly prized in his time, and a Ruby can also be found in the 'Breastplate of Judgement' of Aaron.

In the Orient, rubies were once believed to contain the spark of life -- "a deep drop of the heart's blood of Mother Earth", according to ancient Eastern legends.

Ancient Orientals believed that the ruby was self-luminous. They called it "glowing stone" or "lamp stone." It's said that an Emperor of China once used a large ruby to light his chamber, where it glowed as bright as day.

Later, Greek legends told the story of a female stork, who repaid the kindness of Heraclea by bringing her a brilliant ruby -- a ruby so bright that it illuminated her room at night.

Early in the eleventh century, Persian sage al-Biruni wrote that ruby has "the first place in color, beauty and rank" among all gems. Around 1550, Italian goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini reported that the finest one-carat ruby cost eight times more than a comparable-quality one-carat diamond.

The gold coronation ring of the English kings contains a large, tablet-cut ruby, and rubies are generously represented in crowns and scepters in the royal jewels of many nations.

In the Middle Ages, rubies were thought to bring good health, as well as guard against wicked thoughts, amorous desires and disputes.

It was believed that the ruby held the power to warn its owner of coming misfortunes, illness or death, by turning darker in color. It is said that Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII, predicted her downfall in seeing the darkening of her ruby.

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Legends and Gemstone "Healing Properties"
Ruby was said to preserve health and give invulnerability from wounds, and to guarantee that one's status and posessions would never be taken. The wearing of a ruby was said to signify manhood, nobility and valor in a man, and pride & passion in a woman.

Today, Ruby is said to inspire love, and to enhance creativity, wisdom and spirituality. It is also said to give confidence, self-esteem and courage, and to stimulate leadership qualities. Ruby is also said to have been helpfull in treating heart and circulatory disease.
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Burma is the most important source of ruby today. Other producers are the island of Sri Lanka-(formerly Ceylon), the countries of Thailand, Kampuchea (Cambodia), India and Australia, various localities in Africa and our own state of North Carolina.
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