Julie asked me to do a spotlight on Ruby, which I’ve been really loving in the last couple of years, so I’m delighted to do so! She was specifically hoping for faith-based references beyond the mentions in Proverbs in some translations referring to the value of Wisdom (3:15; 8:11; 20:15) and a good wife (31:10) as being greater than rubies (other translations say “corals,” “jewels,” and even “pearls” instead of rubies — this is a pretty good explanation of why).
This web site said, “The ruby has long been seen as the gem of passion, love, and courage for its vibrant red tone” and this site said rubies signify “friendship, fire, love, royalty, happiness, the opening of the heart,” all of which got me thinking about the courage and blood of Jesus and the courage and blood of the martyrs, and the Passion of Christ and His love for us, and His Sacred Heart, so I did a little research down that path and discovered several products with actual rubies used for Jesus’ heart (e.g., Sacred Heart medal; Sacred Heart with Ruby pendant), and several instances of “ruby” being used instead of “red” to describe the color of an object having to do with the Sacred Heart (e.g., Sacred Heart of Jesus Rosary with Ruby Crystal Beads; Sacred Heart Ruby Chaplet).
As for “ruby” and “red” being interchangeable, I found that “ruby” comes from the Latin ruber, meaning “red,” I loved this description of the reason behind red vestments:
“Red has a dual imagery: On one hand, red symbolizes the shedding of blood and is therefore used on Palm Sunday (when Christ entered Jerusalem to prepare for His death), Good Friday, any other commemoration of the Lord’s passion, the votive Mass of the Precious Blood, the days marking the martyrdom of the apostles (except St. John), and the feasts of other martyrs who offered their lives for the faith.
On the other hand, red also signifies the burning fire of God’s love. For this reason, red vestments are won on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and tongues of fire rested on their heads; for the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation; and for the votive Masses of the Holy Spirit.” (source)
I really wanted to find the significance of rubies in art, but couldn’t find anything — do any of you know?
So I’m totally loving the idea of Ruby for the Sacred Heart or for Jesus’ Passion and Death or for the martyrs, and I like that Ruby could also be sort of a Holy Spirit name, based on the red of the tongues of fire that descended upon the Apostles … using Ruby in these ways feels similar to the usage of Cora for the Sacred Heart, and Halle as part of Hallelujah: they require a little explanation but the intention behind the name is impeccable (and you know how I feel about intentions).
As I’ve mentioned before (here and here), I once saw Ruby used as a nickname for Rebecca and I fell head-over-heels for that first name/nickname combo! I thought of other ways of getting to Ruby as a nickname and came up with ideas like:
Ruth Abigail (although why you wouldn’t go with Ruthie is beyond me)
But I definitely think “just Ruby” could work with the beautiful connections I mentioned above.
What do you think of Ruby? Would you use it on its own as a given name, or would you prefer it as a nickname? Do you know any little girls named Ruby?