my life. It also serves another purpose. It is as good an excuse as any other to embark upon the subject of rubies in general.
It was presumably the Oriental ruby
which King Solomon had in mind when he appraised its worth as being
less than that of a good woman; few who have expert knowledge of both
would be prepared to challenge his statement—which is, however, clear
proof that his generation, no less than all succeeding ones,
considered the red transparent variety of crystallised corundum as the
gem of gems.
The word "ruby" is derived quite straightforwardly from the Latin rubens; that
is, "red". When you talk of an Oriental ruby you mean a particular kind
of ruby which is found in Upper Burma, not just any sort of ruby that
might be "picked up" east of Suez! This Burmese ruby ranks next in the
scale of hardness to the sapphire. There is, as a matter of fact,
little to choose between the Oriental ruby and the sapphire in respect
of hardness, that of the former being 8.5 and that of the latter 9.
are other rubies. The spinel ruby, another red transparent stone, is
closely allied also to corundum, but is of lesser density and inferior
hardness, and for these reasons it is not held in the same esteem as
the Oriental ruby.
rubies vary in colour from pale rose to deep crimson. Frequently the
stone has a tinge of purple. Particularly valued by the connoisseur is
the "pigeon-blood ruby", whose very name conveys even to the layman the
idea of a high-grade gem. There is a place called Magok,