The word Ruby comes from the Latin Ruber or Rubeus which means Red.

Ruby is one of the varieties of corundum which is a crystalline form of aluminium oxide. Corundum comes from the Tamil word Kuruntam which means Ruby-Sapphire. This is because Rubies and Sapphires are one and the same. With just one exception, the color. Rubies come in red due to the presence of tiny impurities made of chromium, whereas Sapphires come in blues (and other colors) due to the presence of titanium or iron impurities.

Ruby is one of the world's rarest gemstones, formed by millions of years of heat and pressure. As an indication of how precious and rare rubies are, England’s Imperial State Crown is adorned with 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds but only five rubies.

Ruby is one of the five fundamental gemstones together with amethyst, sapphire, emerald, and diamond that have traditionally been considered more valuable than all the other gemstones.

Ruby has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, secondary only to diamond and moissanite. This makes it a suitable gemstone to be cut into any type of jewelry and is very durable to be worn every day.

Ruby has a transparent to opaque clarity, with a glass-like to silky luster. Rubies usually occurs in crystals of six-sided prism.

The quality of a ruby is determined by its color, cut and clarity, which, along with carat weight, affect its value.

The color of a ruby varies from light rose to deep-red and may exhibit a range of secondary hues, including orange, purple, violet and pink. It has a strong carmine red fluorescence. The first laser ever created was made using red fluorescence light emitted by ruby crystals.

The brightest and most valuable shade of red called blood-red or pigeon blood, commands a large premium over other rubies of similar quality.

Eye-clean ruby is extremely rare. Usually ruby comes with needle-like rutile inclusions. Absence of these inclusions may indicate that the stone has been treated. In fact, gemologists use these needle inclusions found in natural rubies to distinguish them from synthetics, simulants, or substitutes.

Rubies are also pleochroic which means that they can exhibit two colors depending on the angle from which they are viewed. These colors appear red from one angle, and a bit orange from another.

There are few types of Rubies. These are:

- Burmese or Myanmar rubies have the fewest inclusions and the gems from older mines are flawless. They are usually flame-red in color often described as pigeon-blood. Burmese rubies command the highest price. Up until 1885, the Burmese crown had a monopoly on rubies and its King was known as Lord of the Rubies.

- Thai rubies are very high in quality and have a darker color than Burmese rubies. They are tinted with brown or burgundy. They are the second most valuable of all ruby types after Myanmar.

- Madagascan rubies have a tint of orange and pink.

- Tanzanian rubies are more affordable than other types and yet they are very clean.

- Mozambique is famous for their star rubies. These rare rubies show the three-point or six-point asterisms and thus are very valuable.

Rubies are rarer than diamonds but because the supply of diamonds is tightly controlled by monopoly, diamonds can reach similar premium prices as rubies.

At one time in history, before science could accurately determine the chemical composition of rubies, all red precious stones such as spinels, garnets, and tourmalines were considered as rubies.

Only 1% of rubies sold on the gemstone market are natural. The rest are rubies that have been heat treated to get rid of the inclusions, improve the clarity, and bring out the vivid red color.

Some rubies are borax or silica-filled treated, and there are also glass-filled or fractured-filled rubies where the ruby is bleached and its cavities are filled in with lead glass.

Flame fusion, “discovered in 1902 by Auguste Verneuil, was the first successful process of creating synthetic gemstones. Using powdered elements and high temperatures he was able to grow crystals in a laboratory. Initially, rubies were the only gems produced by this method.”

Rubies can be found in Burma, Thailand, Madagascar, Tanzanian, and Mozambique. Also, in the Pailin and Samlout District of Cambodia, as well as in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, India, Namibia, Japan, and Scotland, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Vietnam.

Rubies have been revered as a sacred precious stone since pre-history. They have been highly esteemed by the nobility in ancient civilizations. It was even claimed that rubies are the tears of Buddha. Egyptian pharaohs believed that if a ruby touched a woman’s skin, it would grant her immediate prosperity, love and happiness.

Ancient Hindus called ruby 'Ratnaraj', which in Sanskrit means King of Precious Stones. In ancient Hinduism, it was believed by some that those who offered fine rubies to the god Krishna could be reborn as emperors. Ancient Indians also believed rubies to be the fruit from the "Tree of Life".

Early cultures treasured rubies for their similarity to the redness of the blood that flowed through their veins, and believed that rubies held the power of life. Most red gemstones like spinel, jasper, tourmaline and rubies are connected with blood circulation through the body. They are associated with blood pressure and the heart.

The Persians used the Ruby in magical rites as a charm against demonic forces.

It was believed that rubies promote virility and guard against opposing forces. Burmese warriors often wore rubies in order to be invincible in battle. However, it wasn’t enough to just wear the rubies. They had to insert them into their flesh and make them part of their bodies.

In Asia, rubies are connected with Dragons. As a matter of fact, in almost every country where rubies are found, they are connected with dragons (or guardian serpents). It has been written that Dragons guard the mines of rubies as well as emeralds. In Hindu scriptures, the King of the Serpents is said to be adorned with precious gemstones, one of them being rubies which the Great Serpent King carries on his head. The Dragon represents the power of the Abyss, the poisonous secretions of motionless dark waters.

It was said that if you engrave the figure of a dragon on a red ruby, it will increase the wealth of the wearer and also brings happiness and pleasure to him.

In ancient China, rubies were often placed at the foundations of important buildings in order to give such buildings a good destiny or feng shui. Its virtues are supernatural, and is employed the same way as jade as a precious sacred ornament.

Since ancient times, red has always been deemed a sacred color. It symbolizes passion, power, love, seduction, danger, fire, blood, lust, seduction and so forth. It has the power of manifesting and keeping material love. It is a remover of obstacles, giver of victory, and revealer of hidden treasures.

The ruby was described as the Stone of the Sun. Pliny the Elder says that rubies are not affected by fire. The ancient Greek philosopher and naturalist Theophrastus called rubies Anthrax or the glowing coals as he compared its color to the red sun.

Ruby represents life, power, happiness and was used as an amulet against plagues, poison, sorrow and evil spirits. These evil spirits feared the glimmer of fire in this precious stone from the hand of a good person.

To dream of a ruby always means a good omen and success in every undertaking.