|Antiques Digest||Browse Auctions||Appraisal||Antiques And Arts News||Home|
Leo: Ruby And Jade
[Aquarius Gems] [Pisces Gems] [Aries Gems] [Taurus Gems] [Gemini Gems] [Cancer Gems] [Leo Gems] [Virgo Gems] [Libra Gems] [Scorpio Gems] [Saggitarius Gems] [Capricorn Gems]
( Orginally published November 1937 )
In various periods of history the ruby has. been considered the stone of royalty. Among Oriental peoples it was held to guard its wearer from sorcery and the plots of enemies, and to be an antidote against grief, evil thoughts, and discord. It was, believed to strengthen the heart against poison, to prevent or cure headaches, and to restore health after illness.
As evidence of high regard for the ruby, the Egyptians chose it to represent uraeus, the serpent, in the scepters of the Pharoahs. The star ruby, with its six-pointed ray of light, was prized as the stone which attracted attention of those in authority and which assured success in making petitions to those in high offices. Its cloudy effect, which gives a rosy softness to the stone, was as highly valued as the deep ruby tone of the transparent gem.
The ruby was early believed to preserve the health of the wearer throughout a long and vital life. A woman wearing the ruby was assured of the love of her husband, and peace and concord with all others. Savage races held such an implicit belief that the ruby protected life that warriors are said to have inserted this precious gem beneath the skin and bandaged the incision to secure safety from the spears or arrows of the enemy.
The ruby was also considered the emblem of devotion, and as such was permitted in the rings of bishops. It was held to foster the type of devotion which made it possible for the devotee to approach his God with his head up, not slavishly, as if afraid to lift his eyes.
The ruby is one of the stones. supposed to have the power to fade as an indication that the wearer is in ill health or danger. During medieval times this protection from poisoning or the evil eye was considered an especially valuable property of the gem. When the danger had passed or the tragedy was over, the stone regained its original color.
Today the perfect ruby is valued at three times the diamond of comparable quality. Rubies of more than a few carats in weight are seldom found, but size seems to be a minor concern to the owner of a ruby of deep red tone and fiery brilliance. Worn by those whose birthstone it is, the ruby exercises its harmonious influence, making reconciliation easy if disagreements, have separated friends or lovers, and strengthening the ties of affection already existing.
Jade seems to have been the sacred stone of many of the ancients. Among the Chinese, known as one of the oldest races and believed to have existed even in the time of Atlantis, jade was considered to have powerfully magic properties of a most beneficent kind. It was supposed to give its wearer wealth and good luck. Among the early Chinese it was customary for young maidens to wear a girdle composed of seven large pieces of carved jade, which assured protection and good fortune.
That jade was often used in the sacred burial rites of the ancient Chinese is proved by the finding of carved jade amulets in tombs, amulets which had been placed on the forehead or eyes of the dead. Burial tablets have also been found, still bearing inscriptions telling the name and deeds of the personage thus honored. Jade was often used to decorate maces or wands carried by priests in religious processions or ceremonies, or used in marriage ritual or on the occasion of the induction into office of a high-ranking individual.
To the Chinese, jade symbolizes longevity and eternity. Confucius regarded jade as an emblem of intelligence and harmonious living. Today the Chinese who wish to pay a tribute to friends give gifts of jade, frequently preferring the creamy white specimens or the translucent green flecked with brown, a combination which they believe intensifies the power of the stone to ward off illness.
Today as in times past, the Chinese prize jade more highly than the diamond. Only the first wife is permitted to wear jade; the second, or lesser, wife must content herself with diamonds. Amulets of jade are believed by the Chinese to be efficacious in preserving the wearer from sorcery or from dangerous accidents. Buried with the dead, jade amulets had power to preserve the body as if in life.
In our own time jade is highly valued among occultists as a bringer of prosperity and happiness. It is one of the few stones which may be worn universally with prospects of good fortune by anyone, the other stones being lapis lazuli, amethyst, and tourmaline. Jade shares with the emerald the property of relieving eye strain by its green color.
These characteristics are attributed to Chinese jade only, because of its finer vibrations. Australian and New Zealand jade is supposed to possess coarser vibrations. Among the Maoris of New Zealand their talisman, the tiki, is a grotesque figure often carved out of jade or made of wood with jade eyes. These amulets are jealously guarded and handed down for generations in the belief that they have a cumulative power for good. When the last of a line dies, the tiki is buried with him.
It is reported that when an Australian native wishes to honor a friend, he presents him with a piece of carved jade to protect him from all harm. Though the belief in the magic power of this stone may be questioned by the modern scoffer, many a solid British business man in the antipodes today carries a small pocketpiece of carved Australian jade. Such a stone was presented as an amulet to the writer after it had served to bring exceptional success in a business venture to its previous possessor.
A strange tabu concerning jade flourishes today in such widely separated lands as China and New Zealand. In neither land will the lapidary continue cutting this stone if a woman approaches the scene.
The ancient Greeks and Romans both believed that jade was a sovereign remedy in ailments of stomach and kidney. It is strange, therefore, that the earliest Spaniards in the Americas found the same belief among the aborigines. Among the distinctive pieces of jade described by the Spaniards was a clasp used to fasten the imperial robe of Montezuma.
For some unrecorded reason jade has been regarded as a lucky stone for racing men in recent years, the green jade being their preference. In China white jade is prized far above the green.