Gemstone History and Properties
Rubies and sapphires are composed from oxidized aluminium that became glasslike and transparent under immense heat and pressure. This crystalline material is known as corundum and is quute hard (9 on the mohs scale), and relatively resilient to heat, shock and chemicals. The difference between rubies and sapphires is in their color, with mist shades of red considered rubies and every other color as sapphires.
When it comes to Hindu gem therapy, each color of sapphire is assigned a different planetary association: blue and purple sapphires are considered Saturn’s gemstones, yellow and orange ones are Jupiter’s, green ones Mercury’s and pale and white ones are assigned to Venus.
Rubies have a long and distinguished history as the most expensive and sought after gemstone, mainly due to its association with royalty and high status. Trade in rubies began at least 2500 years ago, and the first sources were in India and Sri Lanka. It is important to note that the name Ruby was also given to other stones throughout history, especially to the red spinel which is extremely similar to the ruby but slightly softer, and the most famous rubies in the world are in fact spinels.
While the ruby is mentioned in many translations of the bible as one of the stones in the breastplate of the Hebrew high priest, the stone referred to was most likely Carnelian and the closest stone to the ruby in the breastplate itself was probably the Carbuncle, which was probably a Red Garnet.
Legendary properties and historical uses
Rubies began appearing in the west in the roman era and in the middle ages replaced the garnet as the royal gemstone. Like the garnet it was considered a symbol of fire, but its distinct color was considered to be especially similar to royal blood.
Quite a few legendary powers were ascribed to the ruby, the most widespread of which was the ability of the ruby to give strength, vitality and a zest for life to the wearer. It was often set in the weapons, armour or clothing of kings and generals in order to give them the power to defeat their enemies in battle.
The ruby was also believed to be able to stop bleeding and heal wounds, cleanse the blood and help with heart diseases. It was also used to improve digestion, as it was thought that the fire of the stone would symbolically aid in kindling the internal furnace of the stomach.
One of the most common uses for rubies was for increasing the fertility and sex drive. It was thought that rubies increased sexual desires in a manner similar to viagra. It was also used to treat depression, weakness and loss of appetite due to its purported ability to revitalize and stimulate.
Due to the association with desire and fertility, the ruby was also considered a love stone and was sometimes used in wedding rings and other jewelry to bring couples closer together. One must note however, that no culture ever thought it to induce warm feelings or fidelity, and rubies were sometimes used as the profession stone by prostitutes.
In Jewish Kabbalistic circles the ruby is sometimes used as a sgula (talisman) for fertility and conception.
Rubies were traditionally divided into male and female, with deeper red shades being male and pink ones being female. The female stones were considered milder in effect and were preferred whenever less stimulating\aggressive effects were desired.
The stone according to Hindu belief
In Hindu belief certain gemstones are connected to certain planetary deities, and these gemstones are able to transmit the energies associated with these deities to a person wearing them, allowing him to enjoy the benefits of those energies in the process.
According to Hindu belief, the ruby is a representation of the energy of the sun gid Surya on earth. The god Surya, who physically manifests as the Sun, is considered the king of all the planets.
In Hindu\Vedic Astrology, the Sun represents the ego and soul of a person, hence representing not only his life force but also his desire to live and achieve.
The regal status of the sun is the main historical reason for the admiration given to the ruby, and according to hindu belief it gives this gemstone extraordinary powers. In one of the ancient Hindu texts (Garuda Purana, Chapter 70) it is even said that “The potency of a flawless ruby is such that even an ignorant person living a sinful life and surrounded by deadly enemies is saved by wearing such a gem. Anyone wearing such a naturally effulgent ruby would be freed from diseases caused by any imbalance of the bodily functions.”
Sometimes Hindus even donate rubies to temples or burn them in a persons funeral pyre in the hopes of them reincarnating as royalty in the next life.
According to vedic astrology, a ruby is suitable for a person if it is well positioned in his natal chart, and is especially recommend if its placement is weak as that is an indicator fir poverty and diseases. If however the sun’s positioned is harmful, the use of ruby is considered dangerous and is highly discouraged.
Among the properties ascribed to a ruby when it suits a person, are the ability to improve his social status and reputation, his financial status, and his relationship with the father, the employer, the government or any other authority figure. In addition, it is said that the ruby helps to improve health, alleviate problems with the eyes, heart and spine, and make the person kinder and more popular.
If however, the ruby proves unsuitable, it is said that it will cause bad luck, disgrace and disrespect, will harm the health and increase thirst (dehydrate). In extreme cases it is even said to cause problems with the heart and blood vessels.
According to Hindu belief, if one wishes to gain the blessing of the Sun, he should wear an eye clean ruby that is set in jewelry made of one of the following metals: red gold, yellow gold or copper. The jewelry has to be made in such a way that the stone will be in contact with the skin, hence earrings are unsuitable. If the stone is set in a ring, the ring must be worn on the ring finger of the right hand for right handed people or the left for left handed people and women.
Before wearing such a talisman for the first time, it must be washed in fresh milk and afterwards washed again in ganges water (or any other holy water). The talisman must be worn for the first time on a Sunday falling close to the full moon, in the first hour after sunrise.
Aside from the ruby, several secondary gemstones are also associated with the sun: Red Spinel, Rubellite (Red Tourmaline), and several types of Garnet (Almandine, Pyrope, Rhodolite).
Personal experience – Ruby
After years of experience with gemstones both as a therapist and a patient, it became clear that every gemstone type has certain effects typical of this stone which can both assist in selecting the right gemstone and in identifying side effects due to unsuitable gemstone type or size.
In my personal experience, the admiration awarded to the ruby is well deserved. Among the positive effects observed were improvements in energy levels, digestion, back problems and addictions. In addition a positive effect was noted in regards to self confidence and self esteem, general mood, initiative and determination, and relationships with family and authority figures.
In cases of incompatibility and excess, the side effects observed included pain, rashes and skin irritation, increase in pulse and blood pressure, heartburns and stomach problems. Other side effects sometimes observed included conflicts and misunderstandings, and general wweakness
Please note that the more profound effects mentioned were only observed after prolonged use of the stone.