The ruby is a pink to blood red coloured gemstone. It is a cardinal gem, meaning that it was traditionally considered precious above all others, but this term is very rarely used now. Other traditional cardinal gems are amethyst, sapphire, emerald and diamond.
Rubies have a hardness of 9.0 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Only diamonds are harder with a 10.0 on the same scale.
The word ruby comes from the Latin word for red- ruber. The quality of a ruby is determined by its colour, cut, clarity and carat weight and the combination of these four determine the value of the ring. Similar to a diamond, the clearer the stone the more expensive it will be. Beware though, as a ruby with no lines in it may indicate that the stone has been treated and thus devaluing the ring.
Because of its vibrant colour the ruby is seen as the gem of passion, love, anger and fury. Early cultures treasured rubies for their similarity to the redness of the blood that flowed through their veins and they believed that they held the power of life.
Desire for a ruby is just as great today as it always has been and it enjoys popularity amongst our royal family for their coronation rings. The Duchess of York (Fergie) was given a ruby ring from Prince Andrew for their engagement in 1986.
Ruby is the traditional birthstone for the month of July. Legends say that rubies are hardened fire with powers to kindle desire in the heart. Because of this a ruby engagement ring symbolises undying passionate love.
Rubies are also the traditional gift for a couple’s 40th wedding anniversary, representing love and devotion to one another. People are drawn to the rich, lush colour because it also signifies wealth and success. As a symbol of passion, ruby makes an ideal romantic gift.