Ruby gets its name from the Latin word for red, ruber. It is one of the four precious stones along with diamond, sapphire and emerald. Ruby is the third hardest gemstone--with a Mohs rating of 9--after diamond and moissanite. For centuries, rubies have been mined, collected, traded, treasured and used in fashion, such as the breastplate of high priests and to adorn weapons. Ruby is known as the gemstone of nobles. "Blood red" rubies are considered the most valuable. In some ancient cultures, ruby gemstones were used to cast lots to predict the future. Famous rubies include a ruby and diamond ring by Van Cleef and Arpels from Elizabeth Taylor's collection that set a record for price per carat: $4.2 million/8.24 carats.
Ruby is the birthstone for the month of July. It is also used to commemorate the 40th anniversary of weddings and other milestones.
Ruby is believed to promote loving, nurturing, health, knowledge and wealth. It has been associated with improved energy and concentration, creativity, loyalty, honor and compassion. Ruby is thought to be protective of home, possessions and family. Ruby is said to stimulate heart chakra and bring spiritual wisdom while shielding against psychic attacks.