Ruby Gemstones

Known and sought after for its rich and moody personality, ruby is the quintessential symbol for red, and it makes sense why. The ruby has been a long-standing pop culture icon, with high-profile appearances like Dorothy’s ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz and Viviane Wood’s gifted ruby necklace in Pretty Woman.  With a résumé like that, who wouldn’t want a piece!


Ruby deposits have been found all over the world, but most notably in Myanmar, Tanzania, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, India, and South Africa.

The ruby has been at the forefront of folklore and legend for thousands of years. Ancient Hindus thought that offering rubies to the god Krishna would insure their rebirth as emperors. In Myanmar, rubies were believed to make warriors invincible and were often worn into battle as protection.  Medieval magic and legends suggest that rubies held an inextinguishable flame burning inside the stone that would shine through clothing and could even boil water. 

In more recent history, ruby became one of the most sought-after gemstones of European royalty, who wore and gifted ruby to preserve health and riches, achieve success in love and ward off evil thoughts and desires.

Today, rubies are valued just as much and sometimes more than diamonds. It’s an ideal romantic gift as a symbol of passion and loyalty, and is said to stimulate the heart chakra and bring wisdom to its wearer.

Ruby rings, necklaces, and earrings laid out on a red background with red and white striped sunglasses.
A raw ruby stone, before it's been polished and cut as a gem. The stone is mostly white with a pinkish-red ruby protruding from the top.

Meaning & Properties

Once called “The King of Gems”, ruby is one of the Big Four precious gemstones (along with sapphire, diamond and emerald).  It’s also one of the hardest gemstones out there, second only to diamond, making it a highly valued and popular stone. 

Coming from the Latin word for red, “ruber”, rubies are a corundum crystal, which you probably know better as sapphires. What you probably didn’t know, though, is that not all sapphires are blue. Sapphires can actually be any color on the spectrum except for red, which is what makes the ruby so special--the only red sapphire. This difference comes from the trace amounts of chromium found in rubies, giving them their brilliant red color, a sister to the striking blue of some sapphires. 

In its natural state, ruby is a rough, dull looking stone, but after cutting and polishing it transforms into a lustrous gem. Its hardness and easy care is an attractive feature for everyday wearers, making ruby a common alternative to engagement ring stones. 

But, beware! Make sure to keep your ruby away from harsh solvents and detergents when doing household work, swimming, or exercising and store them separately in your jewelry box from harder diamonds, which are the only other stone that can scratch or damage a ruby. If you find your ruby has become a little lackluster, lukewarm soapy water and a soft cloth should do the trick to get it back to sparkling.

Five pinkish red ruby bracelets are shown stacked on top of each other against a white background.