A Writers Guide to Ruby

ruby and kyanite

ruby and kyanite

The ruby is a type of corundum, an aluminium oxide. Rubies and sapphires have identical properties, but the red variety has been given its own gemstone classification. The presence of chromium makes it red. The color may also be a pink or purplish-red. The most valuable ruby is called pigeon’s blood-red or pigeon blood, which is a pure, bright red.

The term ruby comes from the Latin rubeus, meaning “red.”

History and Lore

  • In Medieval times, people believed that rubies contained fire, which caused it to glow red.
  • It was also believe to protect the wearer from the plague by darkening when there was a chance of infection.
  • According to folklore, Catherine of Aragon’s ruby turned dull and darkened the day before Henry VIII announced he was divorcing her.
  • A long time ago, the lighter colored stones were considered feminine and the darker stone masculine.
  • Around the 19th century, people began to call pink rubies pink sapphires.
Liberty Bell Ruby

Liberty Bell Ruby

Famous Rubies

  • Black Prince’s Ruby: a large, irregular cabochon red spinel weighing 170 carats, and set in the cross pattée above the Cullinan II at the front of the Imperial State Crown.
  • DeLong Star Ruby: 100.32-carat oval cabochon star ruby; it was stolen in 1964 by Jack Murphy in an infamous burglary, it was ransomed and then recovered at a phone booth in Florida.
  • Liberty Bell Ruby: the largest mined ruby in the world weighing four pounds (8,000 carats), and it’s sculpted into a miniature Liberty Bell; it was stolen from a Delaware jewelry store on November 1, 2011.
  • Neelanjali Ruby: the world’s largest star ruby with a 12-point asterism.
  • Prince of Burma: an uncut ruby, crystallized on a marble deposit, weighing ~950 carats.
  • Rosser Reeves Ruby: 138.7 carats and one of the world’s largest and finest star rubies.
  • Sunrise Ruby: 25.59-carat Burmese pigeon blood ruby set between heptagon-shaped diamonds.
  • Timur Ruby: unfaceted, 361-carat, polished red spinel set in a necklace for Queen Victoria; it was believed to be a ruby until 1851.

All red gemstones used to be referred to as rubies or “balas rubies”. In 1783, spinels were differentiated from rubies based on their chemical properties.

Magical and Mystical Properties include

  • reducing hemorrhaging
  • relieving inflammatory disorders
  • aiding in removing germs and infections of the blood
  • warding off bad dreams
  • promoting lucid dreaming
  • promoting good luck
  • amplifying passion
  • promoting clarity and wisdom
  • protecting the wearer from psychic and physical attacks
  • aiding in reconciling lover’s quarrels, expressing passion, and promising love
  • worn on the left hand or as a brooch on the left side, the wearer will live peacefully with their enemies

Discharging & Recharging

To recharge a ruby, run water over the stone twice a month. To recharge, place it in the sun for two hours. (In stone therapy, when using stones to heal, their energy is used up, requiring the stones to be recharged.)

This is a reference for fiction writers and should not be taken as medical or spiritual advice.

gemstone index
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  1. Hi Holly .. stunning photo – isn't it glorious! I'm loving this series and the information each post contains .. lots of mystery here with so much potential to bring intrigue into the mix ..

    Thanks – Hilary

  2. The photo is beautiful – wow!

  3. Reminds me of a pomegranate seed. Beautiful color. Hope you're doing well.

  4. Wish I had a little stash of rubies right now!

  5. Ruby! Gorgeous. Love the colour.

  6. What girl doesn't love rubies. I use them to bedazzle my shoes. 🙂

  7. I was hoping that R would be for Ruby! I didn't know that about Catherine of Aragon's ruby but it would make sense.

    If diamonds are a girl's best friend then rubies have to be a close 2nd! 🙂

  8. I think rubies are fascinating, feminine or masculine. My kids love to go to jewelry stores and ask questions about gems to the employees.

  9. I really like rubies–in fact I love all of these crystal-looking, pure-colored stones.

  10. Rubies are so beautiful! That's really interesting about the Catherine of Aragon folklore.

  11. Love all the tales behind the stones. Ruby is such a rich stone.

  12. I love the color of ruby. It promotes good luck? Could use a little of that…

    All your posts have been fantastic. I'll be bummed when this series ends.

  13. I love rubies – the redder the better! And amplifying passion? I'm down for that ~ 🙂

  14. Excellent post – I love rubies and the rougher the better.

  15. This is great. I love rocks. I probably told you that already.

    I want to go out fossil hunting this summer.

  16. Would descriptions of a 'bloodstone' be references to ruby?

  17. I didn't know any of that. If I had, I would have had someone give my heroine a ruby since she suffered psychological attacks and nightmares.
    Thank you for these marvelous post.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

  18. My 9yr old love red more than any other colour, I might get her something with a ruby – she's also a very passionate personality and has very vivid dreams (which she likes to write down as stories).

    Wagging Tales – Blog for Writers

  19. Wow. I never knew about any of the lore around rubies. How cool. Thanks for the enlightening post.

  20. Very interesting!! I love rubys and didn't know all of this.

    Funny too that ABC nightly news was talking about the royal 'blue' sapphire ring and said that a red ruby was really a sapphires. hummmm…

    I have a collection of 'cleansed' gems that are suppose to have the 'power' the mystics have said and I know some native americans that really believe in the 'power' of stones. I'm very open minded and so interesting to read and hear about! 🙂

  21. Love rubies too! I have some pigeonblood rubies in my WIP.

  22. Alex, I didn’t find any reference to the stone being called a bloodstone. Only the color gets named after blood. I recommend doing a Google image search on pigeon-blood ruby though. The color is fantastic.

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