Early civilization as far back as the Assyrians (1400 BC) invested rare and beautiful gemstones with magical properties. Some minerals were thought to contain a force or possess certain values and powers. For instance, amethyst was said to prevent intoxication. Tradition associates a gem with each sign of the zodiac based on a color system. Color was thought to unleash the power attributed to the birthstone. In time, birthstones became associated with calendar months rather than the zodiac. And people began to select birthstones in colors other than the original.
The idea that certain birthstones were associated with certain months goes back at least to the 1st century CE. Oddly enough, the idea of wearing one's birthstone - that is, wearing a piece of jewelry containing the gemstone associated with the month one was born in - appears to be much more recent. George Frederick Kunz, in The Curious Lore of Precious Stones, states that the custom began in Poland during the 18th century. The wearing of your birthstone is traditionally thought to be lucky. Thus, if you were born in the month of July, and you wear rubies, you should attract good fortune.
The word Ruby comes from the Latin "ruber," meaning red..It has been said that the Ruby's red glow comes from an internal flame that cannot be extinguished, making a gift of this stone symbolic of everlasting love. With its hardness and durability, it is a perfect engagement gem. And if worn on the left hand, ancient lore has it that the Ruby will bring good fortune to its wearer as well. Ruby has been the world's most valued gemstone for thousands of years. Ruby was said to be the most precious of the twelve stones God created when he created all things, and this "lord of gems" was placed on Aaron's neck by God's command.
In the Bible, Job says that “wisdom is more precious than rubies” Rubies were thought to represent heat and power. Ancient tribes used the gem as bullets for blowguns, and it was said that a pot of water would boil instantly if a Ruby was tossed into it. Ground to powder and placed on the tongue, this crystal was used as a cure for indigestion. Among the multitude of legends and strange beliefs concerning gemstones, it was thought that the wearer of a ruby was blessed with health, wealth, wisdom and outstanding success in ‘heart affairs '.Furthermore, the wearer acquired the ability to live in peace with his enemies. In some places ruby was even thought to confer invulnerability. Rubies are today even more valuable and rare than the top quality colorless diamonds. A 16 carat ruby was sold at auction for $227,300 per carat at Sotheby's in 1988.
The finest rubies emanate from Burma, having been mined there since ancient times. Other sources include Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, Cambodia, Afghanistan and India.