Ruby has been the world's most valued gemstone for thousands of years. Ruby was said to be the most precious of the twelve stones God created when he created all things, and this "lord of gems" was placed on Aaron's neck by God's command.
In the Bible, Job says that “wisdom is more precious than rubies”
In the ancient language of Sanskrit, ruby is called « ratnaraj », or « king of precious stones » and also «ratnanayaka», «leader of precious stones».
Among the multitude of legends and strange beliefs of ancient times, it was thought that the wearer of a ruby was blessed with health, wealth, wisdom and outstanding success in « heart affairs ».
Furthermore, the wearer acquired the ability to live in peace with his enemies. In some places ruby was even thought to confer invulnerability.
Rubies are today even more valuable and rare than the top quality colorless diamonds.
A 16 carat ruby was sold at auction for USD 227,300 per carat at Sotheby's in 1988.
A 27.37 carat Burmese ruby ring was sold at Sotheby's in Geneva in May 1995 for USD 146,145 per carat. A 32 carat ruby was sold for USD 144,000 per carat at Sotheby's in 1989.
In contrast, the eight D-color internally flawless diamonds of over 50 carats sold in the past 10 years only fetched a mere USD 125,000 per carat. Even for the largest of them, a pear-shape of 102 carats.
All colors of corundum except red are known as sapphires, which has created controversy about where ruby ends and sapphire begins, particularly in pink shades of corundum. In 1991, the International Colored Gemstone Association has passed a resolution that the light shades of the red hue should be included in the category ruby since it was too difficult to legislate where red ended and pink began. In practice, pink shades are now known either as pink ruby or pink sapphire.
Ruby is the birthstone for July but on some ancient lists it can be the birthstone for December.
Ruby is also the gemstone for the astrological sign Capricorn.