A red form of corundum, second only to diamond in hardness. The red colour is caused by the presence of chrome, and the name derives (14th century) from the Latin Rubrum meaning “red”.Ruby and sapphire, the blue form of corundum, have a very long history of recognition as precious stones. Although it is likely that they were found much earlier, the first written references to ruby deposits come from the 6th century AD and mention Burma which is still the main source. Rubies were worn by Burmese soldiers to protect them against wounds in battle. The ruby is said to have been one of the stones used in the breastplate of the ancient high priest and during the Middle Ages was regarded as the “Lord of gems and the most precious of the twelve stones God created”. It is thought to improve one’s success in controversies, encouraging gentleness and discouraging violence. It has been said that as long as one retains a bit of ruby, wealth will never depart and that it will protect against unhappiness, distressing dreams and lightning. The ruby has been used in the treatment of fever and some heart disorders and can be used to decrease the length of time for toxins and chemicals to exit the body. Ruby is the birthstone for July, symbolizing contentment, and the zodiac gem for Capricorn as well as Wednesday’s gemstone (star ruby).