Home Knowledges The Origin of Ruby’s Name: What You Need To Know

The Origin of Ruby’s Name: What You Need To Know

by Madonna

The name “Ruby” conjures images of a vibrant red gemstone, but have you ever wondered where this captivating name originated? Beyond its stunning appearance, the ruby carries a profound historical and cultural significance. In this article, we will delve deep into the origins of the name “Ruby,” exploring its etymology, symbolism, and its place in the world of gemology. Join us on a journey through time as we uncover the fascinating story behind this cherished gemstone.

Etymology: Tracing the Roots of “Ruby”

The name “Ruby” has a fascinating linguistic history that spans several languages and centuries. To understand its origins, we must embark on a linguistic expedition that leads us to ancient Sanskrit, where we encounter the term “ratnaraj.” Ratnaraj, composed of “ratna” (meaning gem) and “raj” (meaning king), translates to “king of gemstones.” This Sanskrit term was a testament to the ruby’s esteemed status even in antiquity.


As the Sanskrit term ratnaraj made its way into other languages, it underwent transformations to become the word “ruby” that we know today. It traveled through the Persian language as “lājvard,” which referred not only to rubies but also to sapphires. In Persian, “lājvard” was used as a general term for precious stones. This linguistic journey continued as the term passed into the Old French language as “rubin.” Finally, the English language adopted “ruby” from Old French, solidifying the name we use today for this mesmerizing gem.


See Also: Is African Ruby Good? A Comprehensive Analysis


Symbolism: Ruby’s Deep Cultural Significance

Throughout history, the ruby has held significant symbolic importance in various cultures around the world. Its vivid red hue has often been associated with powerful emotions, making it a symbol of love, passion, and vitality. Here are some of the cultural symbols and beliefs associated with the ruby:

1. The Stone of Love and Romance

The ruby has long been considered the gemstone of love. Its deep red color is thought to represent the fiery intensity of love and desire. In many cultures, it is exchanged as a token of affection on special occasions such as anniversaries and engagements. The belief in its power to kindle the flame of love has made it a popular choice for engagement rings.

2. The Gem of Protection

In ancient times, rubies were believed to possess protective qualities. Warriors would wear them into battle, believing that the ruby’s vibrant color could shield them from harm. The ruby was also thought to protect against evil and misfortune, making it a cherished amulet for travelers and adventurers.

3. Symbol of Royalty

The association between rubies and royalty can be traced back to their Sanskrit name, ratnaraj (king of gemstones). Throughout history, rubies have adorned the crowns, jewelry, and regalia of monarchs and nobility. Their deep red color was seen as a representation of power, wealth, and prestige.

4. Stone of Vitality

Rubies are often linked to vitality and life force. Ancient cultures believed that wearing a ruby could boost energy levels and improve one’s overall health. It was also associated with the heart and believed to promote cardiovascular health.

5. Burmese Beliefs

In Myanmar (formerly Burma), the ruby has special significance. Burmese culture has a deep-rooted belief that rubies are imbued with protective powers. The “Nga Mauk” ruby, a particularly vibrant red variety, is highly prized and considered to be a guardian stone, protecting the wearer from harm.

Gemology: Ruby’s Geological Origins

Beyond its cultural symbolism, understanding the geological origins of rubies adds another layer of intrigue to the gemstone’s name. Rubies are a variety of the mineral corundum, which is primarily composed of aluminum oxide. The intense red color of rubies comes from trace amounts of chromium in their chemical composition.

Rubies are typically formed in metamorphic rocks, where the high temperatures and pressures are conducive to their crystallization. These geological processes occur deep within the Earth’s crust, over millions of years, as minerals slowly crystallize under extreme conditions.

The most renowned rubies often hail from Myanmar, specifically from the Mogok Valley. These Burmese rubies are celebrated for their exceptional color and quality. Other sources of rubies include Thailand, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and even parts of Africa.

See Also: Is Red Beryl a Ruby: Everything You Need To Know

Historical Significance: Famous Rubies in History

Rubies have not only played a role in cultural symbolism but have also left their mark on history through some famous gemstones. Here are a few noteworthy examples:

1. The Black Prince’s Ruby

This famous “ruby” is, in fact, not a ruby at all but a spinel. It is part of the British Crown Jewels and has a history dating back to the 14th century. It is set in the Imperial State Crown and was worn by Henry V during the Battle of Agincourt.

2. The Sunrise Ruby

This Burmese ruby set a world record when it was sold at auction for over $30 million in 2015. The 25.59-carat gemstone is celebrated for its mesmerizing pigeon blood red color, a term used to describe the finest hue of rubies.

3. The Rosser Reeves Ruby

Named after its owner, Rosser Reeves, an American advertising executive, this 138.7-carat ruby is one of the largest star rubies in the world. It displays a striking star-like pattern when viewed under certain lighting conditions.

4. The Liberty Bell Ruby

This 8,500-carat ruby, shaped like the Liberty Bell, is one of the largest rubies in existence. It was discovered in Greenland in 1950 and was cut from a single crystal. Its size and unique shape make it a true marvel of nature.

Modern Uses: Beyond Jewelry

While rubies continue to be highly prized in the world of jewelry, their uses have expanded in modern times. Their exceptional hardness, second only to diamonds on the Mohs scale, makes them suitable for various industrial applications. Here are a few ways in which rubies are utilized today:

1. Laser Technology

The exceptional optical properties of rubies make them ideal for laser technology. Synthetic rubies are often used as laser gain mediums, producing highly focused and intense beams of light in applications such as medical lasers and barcode scanners.

2. Mechanical Bearings

Due to their hardness and resistance to wear, rubies are used as bearings in precision instruments and watches. The smooth surface of a ruby bearing reduces friction and ensures accurate timekeeping in watches and clocks.

3. Watchmaking

Rubies also find their way into luxury watchmaking. Watchmakers use small synthetic rubies as pivot points for the gears in mechanical movements, ensuring smooth and reliable timekeeping.

Conclusion: The Enduring Allure of Ruby

The name “Ruby” carries with it a rich tapestry of history, symbolism, and geological wonder. From its ancient Sanskrit roots as the “king of gemstones” to its association with love, protection, and royalty, the ruby has captivated humanity for centuries. Its geological formation in the depths of the Earth and its modern applications in technology and precision instruments further add to its mystique.

Whether you’re drawn to rubies for their cultural significance, historical importance, or their stunning beauty, it’s clear that this gemstone’s name is far more than just a label. It represents a journey through time, a connection to the Earth’s deep processes, and a testament to the enduring allure of precious gemstones. So the next time you admire a ruby, remember the centuries of history and culture that have shaped its name and reputation, making it a gemstone truly fit for royalty.


You May Also Like


Giacoloredstones is a colored gem portal. The main columns are Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Tourmaline, Aquamarine, Tanzanite, Amethyst, Garnet, Turquoise, Knowledges, News, etc.【Contact us: [email protected]

© 2023 Copyright