“A drop of the heart’s blood of Mother Earth” is how the ruby is described in the Orient. The Indians call the ruby Ratnanayaka, the lord of the gemstones. The Hindus called the ruby the king of precious stones and the leader of gems. They used to divide rubies into castes, much like social classes.
Rubies were sorted into upper class, middle class, and lower class in terms of flawlessness and beauty. Much like today’s exclusive county clubs and their upper-class clientele, no inferior Ruby was allowed contact with a superior one because it was believed the inferior one would contaminate the better one, thereby diminishing its magical powers.
In India, those who donated rubies to honor Krishna were assured being reborn as an emperor in a future life. Hindus consider light colored rubies to be appropriate for women, and darker rubies to be appropriate for men.
Elaborate ruby earrings have been a popular jewelry choice in India for centuries.
In China, a Mandarin’s rank was indicated by the color of the stone in his ruby ring. A red jewel stone meant he was a key figure among the great. In the 1880’s, French jewelers called the ruby the gem of gems or the dearly loved stone.