Rubies and sapphires are made of aluminum oxide (corundum). The red in rubies is caused by trace amounts of chromium. The redder the ruby, the more chromium. Some rubies are bi-colored or multicolored. Rubies grow in crystal form and belong to the hexagonal family of shapes, before cutting and polishing.
Crimson with just a tinge of blue, rubies can be even more valuable than diamonds. Like diamonds, rubies are cherished for their color, clarity, cut and weight. Similarly, a large single ruby will bring a higher price than two smaller stones of equal weight and quality. Especially prized are stones exhibiting a six-rayed star when viewed from above. Transparent rubies are valued more than those with tiny, visible inclusions.
Ruby: King of Precious Stones
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. The bible says that wisdom is "more precious than rubies," that is to say very valuable indeed. In the ancient language of Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj, or "king of precious stones" and ratnanayaka, "leader of precious stones."
A common belief was that dreaming of rubies meant the coming of success in business, money matters, and love.
The ruby is thought to change colors (grow darker) when the owner was in danger or when an illness was coming. It was also thought that it would chase off the spirits of the dead and evil spirits not contained in hell.
In China and Europe, in the 10th century, dragons and snakes were carved in their surfaces to increase the flow of money and power to their owners.
Rubies are today still more valuable and rare than even the top quality colorless diamonds.
In 1988, a 15.97 carat ruby sold for $3,630,000.00, that's $227,300.00 per carat. High quality rubies of one carat, are many times more rare than diamonds of one carat and can cost more. This stone was given as offerings to Buddha in China and Krishna in India.
The Naderi Shield
Nader Shah Afshar was one of the most powerful Iranian rulers, ruling as Shah of Iran (Persia) from 1736 to 1747 when he was assassinated during a rebellion.
The Naderi shield made of the hide of an animal, possibly rhinoceros, is about 1.5 ft in diameter. Nadir Shah is said to have carried this shield into battle during his campaigns in Afghanistan and India. The shield was plain and not studded with jewels as we see it today. The gemstone encrustation of the shield with jewels like emeralds, rubies, spinels and diamonds was carried out at a later date.