The oriental ruby is next in value, as a gem, to the diamond. Indeed, a ruby of this kind, above a certain size, is more valuable than a diamond of the same weight. The oriental ruby is a red variety of the sapphire its color is usually between a vivid cochineal and crimson. The word "rubies" occurs several times in the English Bible, as Job 28:18; Pr 3:15; 8:11; but the corresponding word in Hebrew is thought to denote red coral, or perhaps pearls; while the true ruby is more naturally designated by the "agate" or "carbuncle" of Isa 54:12; Eze 27:16.
(Heb peninim), only in plural (La 4:7). The ruby was one of the stones in the high priest's breastplate (Ex 28:17). A comparison is made between the value of wisdom and rubies (Job 28:18; Pr 3:15; 8:11). The price of a virtuous woman is said to be "far above rubies" (Pr 31:10). The exact meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain. Some render it "red coral;" others, "pearl" or "mother-of-pearl."