Ruby (ROO-bee), which gets its name from that Latin word ruber, meaning “red”, is red corundum; nearly all other types of corundum are called sapphires. Ruby is one of the four “precious gemstones”, the others being sapphire, emerald, and diamond. It is very easily confused with red varieties of spinel and garnet — so much so that, prior to the 1800s, they were all considered rubies.

Burmese warriors believed that rubies, especially when inserted into their flesh, would make them invulnerable. During the Middle Ages, Europeans believed that rubies conferred good health and wisdom, could resolve conflict and eliminate negative thoughts, and would bring success to one’s love life. It has long been associated with royalty; for example, Ancient Hindus believed that gifting a ruby to Krishna would ensure reincarnation as an emperor.

It has a Mohs hardness of 9 and a trigonal crystal structure.

It is the main birthstone for July (the alternate being carnelian).

Location: Ruby comes mainly from Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Thailand. It can also be found in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, India, Cambodia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, the United States, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

Properties: Ruby has a strong connection with root chakra energy; this means that it is associated with all bodily and worldly things. It brings energy and vitality to one’s being, facilitating flow of energy throughout the body while simultaneously grounding the person; this makes it a good companion for those who get “spacey” or are easily overloaded energetically. It also has the potential to help activate kundalini, and improves one’s ability to meet their needs and manifest their desires. It is particularly good at attracting wealth, and resonates strongly with sexual energies, which means it may lend itself well to helping overcome sexual dysfunction. Because it helps heal connections with the body and has sexual resonance, it is potentially very useful to those who are trying to process sexual abuse. It provides encouragement to cultivate self-love through taking care of one’s bodily needs. This means it can also be helpful to those overcoming addiction or self-abuse. It is a stone of courage, guiding the wearer in overcoming doubt and anxiety. It holds the lesson that courage is not the absence of fear, but the will to continue in situations which inspire fear. In a similar fashion, it can encourage the bearer to stand up for the people and causes that they care about.

Ruby is believed to have a positive effect on some types of infertility, circulation, fever, and dispelling toxins.