Birthstone of July (Ruby) Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"Good advice is rarer than rubies." ~ Salman Rushdie
Until recently, only emeralds, rubies and sapphires were officially labeled "precious" gems. Rubies are the rare red variety of corundum (aluminum oxide), which in any other colour is known as a sapphire. One of the "stones of kings" the ruby has long been considered a talismanic gem which provides the owner with wealth and personal protection. Due to its colour association with blood, the ruby was also prized by soldiers. Burmese soldiers believed that if the stone was physically inserted into the flesh (particularly on the left side), it would become part of the body and keep the owner safe from wounds by spear, sword, or gun! For modern protection, try some ruby slippers or ruby ghillies!
For July's birthstone, the ruby, we have one of the many Ruby dances!
A ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminium oxide). The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. Its name comes from ruber, Latin for red.
Rubies come in many shades of red. Sometimes people refer to the finest pure red color as “Burma Ruby” or “pigeon’s blood.”
Some rubies show a rare twelve-point asterism, or “star,” on the surface when polished in a cabuchon shape rather than facets. The double-star ruby occurs when the asterism is seen from both sides of the jewel, which is even more rare and valuable.
Another of the ‘Stone of Kings’, the ruby has long been associated with wealth and royalty. Possessing a ruby was considered to be beneficial to the owner’s lands and estates, aiding in the accumulation of wealth, protection of holdings and acquisition of other precious stones. Other talismanic properties assigned this stone had to do with protection. If worn on the left, (the side of the heart,) a ruby was thought to allow the wearer to live in peace and concordance with all men, that neither his land nor rank would be taken from him, and that he would be preserved from all perils. The stone would then also guard the wearer's house, orchards and vineyards from storms.
Due to its association with blood, the ruby was also the stone of soldiers. The Burmese prized the ruby highly for this very usage. It was believed to give invulnerability, but it was not sufficient to wear the stone on the left. It had to be physically inserted into the flesh and become a part of the owner’s body. Those who wore the stone in this fashion were then believed to be safe from wounds by spear, sword, or gun.
The ruby is often associated with 40 year anniversaries, such as this dance.
Click the ruby slippers below to learn more about one of the historic rubies in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, the Black Prince's Ruby.
See below for the Ruby Hornpipe performed by the Waikanae SCD Club for their 40th Anniversary dance in 2015.