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Getting to Know the Ruby: Folklore and Political History 

Whether you think of the July birthstone or Judy Garland’s famous slippers, the ruby is a hallmark of pop culture. What you may not know, is just how much this famous gemstone has undergone to end up in your local jewelry stores. When it comes to choosing a piece, all of us at Sorg Jewelers want our clients to feel completely in the loop from start to finish. Join us on this month’s birthstone journey as we uncover and learn about the mystery of the regal ruby.

Burmese Rubies: The Search for Pigeon’s Blood

What is a Burmese Ruby? 

If you have a ruby on your hand, your neck or in your jewelry box, there is a good chance you might own a Bermese ruby. The majority of top-quality rubies on the market today originated in Burma and these stones are renowned far and wide for their deep color, reminiscent of the color of Pigeon’s blood. It is said that the ideal ruby is the same color as the first two drops of blood from a freshly killed pigeon’s nose. These stones possess more market value than rubies sourced from anywhere else in the world, and account for more than 90% of the global trade. 

Political Turbulence: President George Bush and the Burmese Ban 

Burma, sometimes known as Myanmar, has been under a variety of U.S. economic sanctions since the late 1990’s due to the military regime in control in the country. President George W. Bush issued an executive order in 2003 that tightened the ban on the import of Burmese gemstones to the United States. The order prohibited the import of rubies and jade into the country that had been mined or extracted from Burma. This skyrocketed the prices on rubies that were still in the United States, tenfold. The penalties of international travel with a Burmese ruby or jade were so intense, many in the jewelry industry coined the phrase, “If it’s green, they’re mean. If it’s red, you’re dead.” 

As of 2016, the Obama administration lifted the ban on Burmese trade, making it once again legal to transport the gemstones! 

Rubies & Health: Ancient Protection 


Rubies have long been associated with bloodshed and life itself. Ancient cultures believed the ruby grew from the soil like a fruit and that they carried healing powers capable of purifying the blood or acting as an antidote to poison. Soldiers were known to imbed rubies into their skin to protect against battle wounds, and in some instances, to create the possibility of immortality. These healing powers may not be all talk, however, as the science of spectrum analysis strongly supports this idea. The red light from the ruby’s inner fire creates a sense of warmth throughout the body, while the blue-violet rays are therapeutic. Looking at or holding a ruby during times of high anxiety or stress may actually help to calm you and protect against the negative emotions. 



At Sorg Jewelers we pride ourselves on service, having offered outstanding guidance and craftsmanship for over 120 years. From custom pieces to folkloric traditions, we have you covered from the moment you walk through our doors. Have more questions about the world of rubies? Do you have a stone you’d like to see a deep dive done on? Let us know! Visit our website for more!