design by rebecca johnson
design by rebecca johnson
  The ruby rules the month of July. Known as the ‘Queen of Jewels,’ July’s birthstone is voluptuous and romantic- associated with passion. Rubies were said to contain an inextinguishable flame within and rumoured to cause water to boil just by placing the gem in water. The word ruby comes from the Latin rubeus, meaning red. In fact, rubies range in color from a light red all the way to the sought after dark color known as “Pigeon’s Blood.” Mined in South East Asia, the highest quality rubies come from Myanmar/ Burma .
In ancient Asia, the ruby was called the glowing or lamp stone because of its luminous quality. It was believed that an Emperor of China used a ruby to light his bedroom. In Greek mythology, Heraclea's kindness to a female stork was rewarded with a ruby so bright she was able to light her bedroom with it. One Burmese king is said to have owned so many rubies that when he took them outside to absorb the moonlight, the rubies lit up the night sky – a truly decadent fireworks display.
Rubies are rumored to have the ‘spark of life’ -enhancing life force, blood flow and romance. Rubies are best worn on the left side of the body, our feminine side. The stones stimulate the chakras , opening the wearer up to self-motivation, personal power and sensuality- activating and restoring kundalini, the life force that is coiled like a snake around our base chakra. When rubbed on the skin, a ruby is said to restore youth and vitality.
Associated with royalty, rubies are believed to provide protection and increase intuition. The Kublai Khan once offered an entire city in exchange for a sizable ruby. The word for ruby in Sanskrit translates to "king of precious stones." In India, if one offered Krishna a large enough ruby it was believed that one would be reborn as an emperor or a king.
In the modern world, rubies can represent the transformative or another mode entirely – perhaps even the grungy and irreverent. Ruby Aldridge is the just slightly rebellious downtown runway mainstay – part hippy, part British boho illustration royalty. Yayoi Kusama plays with a ruby palette in her swirling, mesmerizing dot series. Shinique Smith applies red flourishes to her mixed media street-influenced collage. And Diana Vreeland is well known for her “garden in hell.” "Red is the great clarifier – bright, cleansing, revealing. It makes all colors beautiful,” said the famed editor. “I can't imagine being bored with it. It would be like becoming tired of the person you love.” Red was worldly; red was exotic; it was enlivening; the base of an antique Venetian touch or a fire-lit, darkly romantic mirrored armoire. 
Rubies can also carry unspoken criticism. Marilyn Minter uses ruby red on her signature jewelled lips, making a sly and not so subtle comment on hyper-commercialism by way of the blood red baubles.  It’s not hard to imagine Cindy Sherman smearing rubies on her lips, in gaudy place of chocolate. 
For those who want a less unsavoury taste of ruby red, a glass of fresh pressed pomegranate juice may be the perfect scarlet indulgence—tart, and a little sweet for summer afternoons.
Placed under a pillow, the ruby may ward off bad dreams. In dreams, rubies are said to represent unexpected guests- removing any sense of limitation, and the wearer would be courageous and selfless, joyous and spiritual. This transportive benefit is not so secretly appealing. We’ll look to rubies to remove our subconscious fears, light up a room, or in another moment, signal rich irreverence.
~Alba Brunetti


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