-- Mohs hardness rating: 9
-- Found mainly in Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania.
The name of this rich and noble gemstone comes from Latin rubens, for "red." The ruby is a member of the Corundum family, like the sapphire. In fact, any stone that is not identifiably red is considered a sapphire.
In Sanskrit, the ruby is called ratnaraj, "the king of precious stones." Long before diamonds were in fashion, nobility around the world coveted rubies and placed them in the finest and most treasured royal jewelry. Even today, large, fine rubies are more expensive than diamonds of the same weight and quality.
According to lore, wearing a ruby brought wealth and preserved the wearer’s mental and physical health. In Burma, it was believed that the ruby’s strength would be absorbed into the body of its wearer and make a warrior invulnerable to piercing wounds. It served to improve success in disputes, discourage violence and excess physical passion, but encouraged deep, long lasting love.
For those considering a colored stone to be set in an engagement ring, the ruby is an excellent choice. Beyond its incomparably rich red hue, which alone might be enough attraction, the ruby is second only to the diamond for strength and durability. Other lovely stones such as the topaz and opal are far more brittle and fragile and can crack or chip with normal wear