Ruby not only stands in the very.foremost class of coloured gems, but
it occupies among Precious Stones in general a position which is
unquestionably supreme. By the Ancients it was regarded as the very
type of all that was most precious in the natural world ; and its value
is amply attested by the numerous allusions to it in the Old Testament,
sometimes under the name of Jasper.
price paid for this stone by the Ancients was very high. According to
Benvenuto Cellini, in his time a perfect Ruby of a carat weight cost
800 ecus d'or, whilst a Diamond of like weight cost only 100. Even at
the present day a fine Ruby of 5 or 6 carats may be worth ten times the
value of an ordinary white Diamond of equal weight ; for the former is
very difficult to obtain, whilst the latter may be readily procured.
Although it is not always easy to distinguish in ancient writings between the description of the Ruby and