One of the four “precious” gemstones, the ruby is a well known, captivating stone of nobility named for its rich red color. Revered throughout history in numerous cultures, it is still regarded as one of the most magnificent of all gems to this day. Indeed, to ancients, it was more valuable than the diamond and exceeded all other stones in virtue. It is said that in exchange for a sizable ruby, the Chinese emperor Kublai Khan would give an entire city. It is red corundum and an aluminum oxide, and the credit for its famous red color goes to chromium. The shade of red can vary, however. Depending on the location from which it is mined, it may appear red-orange, pink red, violet red, deep wine, or pigeon’s blood (the most desirable) in coloration. Ruby falls at 9 on the Moh’s scale, putting it behind only moissanite and diamond in hardness. It displays a trigonal crystal system and a dull or greasy lustre in its rough form. Natural forms always have imperfections within them, helping to distinguish them from synthetics. These imperfections manifest as rutile needles referred to as “silk” or color impurities. Almost any ruby you see on the market today has been treated in some way, but even high quality untreated rubies are often pricey. Significant gem localities include Afghanistan, Australia, Burma, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Greenland, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, USA, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. Rubies are not only valuable to collectors, but also in technology. For example, they are used in medical instruments, lasers for microscopic surgery, and watchmaking.
Metaphysically, ruby is a stone of intensity. It may be uncomfortable or overstimulating to wear for some people. It is said to promote courage, success, heightened awareness, concentration, and mystical communion. It is also believed to be an aphrodisiac. Keeping it as a companion may deepen your relationship with your spouse by facilitating closeness and commitment. It may restore and maintain lost passion in lovemaking and even increase the chance of conception. It is claimed to have protective qualities as well, guarding the home from intrusion or destruction, the body from physical, psychic and psychological attack, and the mind from fear and nightmares. It resonates with the base chakra. Stimulating of the base chakra can result in an increase of strength, stamina, sense of security and personal power.
On a physical level, ruby is considered to be a blood stone. It is believed to strengthen the circulatory system, including the heart, ventricles and coronaries, myocardium, and blood flow. It can serve as an aid in the treatment of blood or heart disorders and stimulate the spleen, adrenals and kidneys. Additionally, it may assist in healthy and less painful menstruation, early menopause, pregnancy in older women, detoxification of the body, fever reduction, and in operations of a gynecological nature. It is said to fight sexual infertility and dysfunction, inadequate circulation in the lower body, infection, and unhealthy weight gain.