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The Mythology of the Ruby

Any discussion of rubies and the mythology surrounding them has to begin in India, an ancient source for the beautiful red gemstones. The ancient Sanskrit word for ruby translates as “king of precious stones”. In Hinduism, rubies were the stones people offered to the deity Krishna. Many even believed that those who offered a large and beautiful stone to the god would be reincarnated as an emperor. Those who offered a smaller ruby would be reincarnated as a king. 

According to one Hindu legend, after the gods destroyed the demon Vala, his blood formed a deep pool in the earth. It is on the banks of these pools where one can find rubies. It is from one of these pools that the most sacred river in India–the Ganga, or Ganges–flows.   

Due to their red colour, people often associated the brilliant red gemstones with blood and fire, or more precisely, inner fire. Some legends said that if you dropped a ruby into cool water, it would boil. Others said that they could shine through clothing or wrapping and reveal their presence. High-quality rubies were held in such high regard that they were often kept apart from lower-quality rubies, which were believed to contaminate the higher-quality stones. 

Of course, rubies are not only important in India. Their beauty has influenced the belief systems of cultures all over the world. In ancient Burma, warriors often inserted rubies into their own bodies with the belief that this would grant them invincibility in battle. Many across the East believed that the fiery gem would darken to warn the wearer of imminent danger, but that this power would not work if the stone was stolen and not in the hands of its rightful owner. 

The importance of rubies continues even today in the East where you may occasionally see a ruby planted in the forehead of a Buddha statue. This “third eye” can represent reincarnation, and is thought to pierce the thoughts of others to learn their true feelings.  

Check out some of our favourite ruby items below!

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