The idea of “birthstones” is believed to have originated with the 12 stones on the breastplate of Aaron representing the 12 tribes of Israel with a different stone for each tribe. The current list of birthstones dates back to 1912 with one exception. Tanzanite has been added as a December birthstone.
The ruby is the rarest and most valuable of all gemstones
Rubies are a variety of the gem species corundum. It is the hardest of all the natural gemstones, with the exception of diamonds, which makes it a good choice for everyday wear. However, fine-quality rubies are extremely rare and the value depends on the depth of color with the very best stones being a medium to dark vivid red or a slightly purplish red.
The best rubies come from the Mogok region of Myanmar, formerly Burma, and one of the several legends surrounding the origin of the ruby tells a story of a serpent, about 2,000 years ago, that laid three eggs. The first egg produced the King of Bagan, the second hatched an emperor of China, and the third egg bore the first rubies found in the gemstone mines of Mogok.
Rubies have long been the choice of royalty and have been used for centuries in crowns, tiaras, and swords. The Duke of Windsor gave his wife Wallis an exquisite ruby and diamond necklace for her 40th birthday containing more than 120 priceless Burmese rubies to match other ruby jewelry he had already given her. These jewels were so stunning she was said to be “dripping in rubies.”
Rubies are said to aid the emotions, arouse the senses, and increase integrity, devotion and happiness.
Interesting fact: If the color of a red piece of corundum is too light, or contains too much orange or purple, it will be classified as a fancy colored sapphire!