Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend (according to DeBeers), but rubies are the most precious of gems. Known as the King of Gems and the reference for value in the Bible (as in “wisdom is more precious than rubies”), rubies are more rare than diamonds and in sizes over 3 carats, much more valuable.
Historically rubies have been used as amulets believed to do everything from bestowing success and harmony to protection in battle. In the 13th century ground up rubies were used a a cure for liver problems. In the Middle Ages it was believed that rubies warned of danger by turning darker in color.
Today rubies are still believed by some to have healing properties to remove toxins from the body, restore youth and vitality and improve circulation when rubbed on the skin.
Found in many places around the globe, gemstone quality rubies come from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Thailand, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam and East Africa. The most valuable rubies come from the Mogok mine in northern Myanmar but that mine is almost depleted and untreated rubies from that mine are extremely valuable.
While rubies have been used in crowns, jewelry and vestments, rubies were also used in creating the first laser and are used in micro electronics. Gem quality rubies are almost always treated and have inclusions. However, synthetic or lab grown rubies have been around since the 1800’s. Chemically the same as a ruby, the easiest way to tell if a ruby is synthetic is to look for inclusions. Natural rubies have inclusions, synthetics don’t.
So whether it’s because rubies are the July birthstone, the gift for 15th and 40th anniversaries, for their healing properties, protection, value or just because rubies are beautiful, let’s celebrate this amazing gemstone this month!