Ruby - July Birthstone
The ruby, or star ruby, has been said to surpass all other
stones in virtue and value. The Hindus valued it so highly that
they called it the "king or the leader of precious stones."
When they classified rubies by castes according to their quality,
no inferior stone was allowed to touch a superior one, lest the
great powers of the better gem be diminished. They also believed
that whoever gave rubies to the god Krishna was virtually certain
to be reborn an emperor in a future reincarnation. The ruby meant
a life of peace and health for the owner and the assurance that
his land and rank would never be taken from him. His garden would
be safe from storms and his future filled with good fortune.
Many men of science believed in the medicinal powers
of the ruby and praised its therapeutic value. When, in 1663, English
physicist Sir Robert Boyle supported this view, rubies were offered
for sale by druggists as cures for various ill. The famous "ruby
elixir" was created by a secret method for wealthy patients.
It was placed on the tongue, which subsequently became cold and
heavy, as did the fingers and toes. This was followed by violent
shivering. When these effects had disappeared, the cure was considered
complete. The stone was also used as a disinfectant in certain dread
diseases. Even the infamous Ivan the Terrible had some kind words
to say about the ruby when he declared it very good for the heart,
brain and memory and an excellent blood purifier. It has even been
claimed that the ruby is empowered to settle disputes and assure
The poet Rudyard Kipling wrote of the ruby in "A Dedication
to 'Soldiers Three'":
|And they were stronger hands
that digged the Ruby from the earth --
More cunning brains that made it worth
The large desire of a king.
As the birthstone for July, the ruby signifies contentment.
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