Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’m sharing my thoughts and reflections on a lexicon (vocabulary specific to a certain subject) of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words. Ludic is defined as “playful, in an aimless way” and that’s my plan for approaching this challenge – keeping my feet on the joy trail and meandering wherever the daily word takes me.
R is for…
rubious – ruby red. First known usage circa 1616.
Rubies are one the most historically significant stones, both in the East and West, with traditions and folklore abounding. Ruby is often considered the birthmonth stone for July. I’m a July baby, and for this, and many other reasons, I often wear rubies.
Rubies tend to grow in a roughly hexagonal shape. Typically, the surface of a ruby is flat rather than having the spiky protrusions seen in other crystalline formations. The type of host rock in which a ruby grows may impact its overall shape, with some raw rubies appearing blocky and others adopting a more tapered shape. Although a raw ruby won’t have the sheen of a cut and polished stone, rubies in nature will still have a distinctive red hue.
Here’s a peek at some of my ruby jewelry stacked on pieces of raw ruby rough.
But it’s not so much rubies I’m inspired to muse about today. Rubious makes me think about pomegranates and their seeds, and that of course makes me think of Persephone.
I have a strong connection with Persephone, and I’m deeply interested in reclaiming her story not a tale of victimhood as it is most commonly portrayed, but rather as a reflection of sovereign choice of a powerful female who becomes Queen of the Underworld.
I love pomegranates – their taste, their seeds, their wonderful shape. Isn’t this screenprint by artists Sonya and Nina Monetenegro of The Far Woods fun?
I love this necklace I made using a pomegranate charm that came from Greece. The beads, my version of luminous rubious pomegranate seeds, are real treasures themselves – beautiful vintage Japanese beads.
Another pomegranate treasure is this image from a cigarette card circa the 1920s. It’s from the series “Floral Beauties and the Language of Flowers” which was available packed in Duke cigarettes.
I also love this image – it’s exactly the kind of hat I imagine Persephone might wear during her above times. She may need to give up her crown as Queen of the Underworld for half the year, but I think perhaps she’d be happy to wear the pomegranate reminders.
In 1879, Bengali scholar Tagore compiled a list of ruby colors from the Purana sacred texts. They included “like the China rose, like blood, like the seeds of the pomegranate, like red lead, like the red lotus, like saffron, like the resin of certain trees, like the eyes of the Greek partridge or the Indian crane…and like the interior of the half-blown water lily.”
Clearly there are many things that can be considered rubious. Do you have a favorite? Do you love rubies? Pomegranates? Persephone? What’s your birthstone? Do tell – you know I’d love to hear.