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.
You have mentioned some of my favourite things. I make a pomegranate salad with Israeli couscous. It is yummy.
I have my mother in law’s Ruby ring from her 40th wedding anniversary and the Ruby port glasses she was given. For our 40th wedding John bought me a ruby necklace. It is a manufactured ruby so came from a laboratory, not from beneath the earth but it is beautiful just the same.
My birthstone is diamond and I have those in my engagement ring and my mother’s engagement ring which I wear on the other hand.
I don’t wear much jewellery but like pieces that remind me of people I have known.
I bet the pomegranate salad is delicious. How lovely you have your own 40th-anniversary ruby and your mother-in-law’s as well. I love jewelry that reminds me of others as well. Those pieces can be so special.
I love that necklace and I can imagine that hat at the Royal Ascot.
Oh you’re right about the hat – it would fit right in. Once I had a flight that landed me in Kentucky during the Derby weekend, and you wouldn’t believe how many women I saw carrying hat boxes. I wished I could have peeked into all of them and seen the chapeaux.
I adore pomegranates – a food of the gods, I say!
As an April baby, I can claim diamond, as a Taurean, then emerald. I do have one emerald and diamond ring. YAM xx
A food of the gods (or goddesses) indeed. Emerald and diamond make a lovely combination. I hope you’ve been having a lovely birthday month.
Rubies are a gorgeous stone. My birthstone is garnet, which I find very dark. Rubies, though, are so much brighter when they catch the light. One of my sisters is rubious — as it’s her birthstone.
While rubies are a favorite, I like garnets as well. Have you ever seen green garnets? They’re pretty special too.
My August birthstone is the lowly peridot; I rarely wear it since it’s light green. You have such unique and fascinating things, like that necklace. It’s beautiful. I’ve rarely eaten pomegranates; I’m never quite sure how to open them up!
There are alternatives to peridot as August’s birthstone, including spinel and sardonyx – maybe one of those would appeal to you more. I always think of peridot’s green as Spring-like.
I’ve found the best way to cut a pomegranate is to slice to top off enough to reveal the seeds. You can then see there are segments kind of like an orange. If you score through each segment, you can then open the pomegranate like an unfolding flower and eat each section. I’m not sure I’m explaining it very clearly – you might be better off googling it.
I love those ruby beads that look like pomegranate seeds! I like the look of deep red wine, which is a kind of fruit 😉 I like the look of ruby red stained glass or ruby glass stemware.
LOL – I love your expansive definition of fruit! Ruby glass is beautiful. My grandmother had a couple of pieces of ruby depression glass that seemed utterly magical to me.
My daughter is a big fan of pomegranates. She especially loves pomegranate juice.
The pomegranate charm necklace is beautiful. The beads are really interesting and add to the overall look.
Weekends In Maine
Your daughter has good taste. 🙂 The charm delights me as well, and I especially love that it came from Greece. It makes the connection with Persephone deeper for me.
Hi Deborah – this is wonderful … lovely post – gorgeous rubies, luscious pomegranate, and wonderful memories held in jewellery … I cope with ruby red garnet – my birthstone … fascinating post – those hats are amazing … cheers Hilary
I discovered a fascinating thing about garnets today, that quite amused me. “The deep, glossy red color of garnet resembles the juicy seeds of a pomegranate, which is perhaps why its name is derived from the Latin word granatum, meaning pomegranate seed.”
So much to drool over in today’s post Deborah. Thank you.
Love your ruby jewellery.
And I’m very fond of pomegranates, too. Have planted two trees in the garden. They bear a couple of flowers every year but no fruit. Have you seen pomegranate flowers? They’re gorgeous.
My birth stone is amethyst, but I don’t like wearing it. I love anything in turquoise, though:)
I’ve only seen photos of pomegranate flowers. How lovely you have real garden examples! Hopefully someday they’ll gift you with fruit as well. Maybe you need to have a picnic nearby while eating a pomegranate and explaining to the tree what a fabulous additional thing it can create. 🙂
rubious is a cool word but I love ruby as a word, I love looking at it, the sound of it and all the ways we use it. I feel like it is a cheerful word and I wonder if that is how it feels to wear it.
As a stone I know so very little of it .
My first born daughter was a ruby cheeked lass
then those wonderful childrens book ‘ruby red shoes’ and my grandson born in 2010 is ‘they say’ of the ruby generation .
and pomegranates are divine mysterious and one must cultivate patience to eat them
worthy of Persephone who as you say was no victim but sacrificed in service to us all .
It seems clear to me you are blessed with ruby sight Sandra. I’ve not heard the term “ruby generation” before, but I love feeling into it. And I certainly celebrate your perspective about Persephone. I wish this was more widely understood – I think it would make a difference.
In Spanish, someone with red hair is called “Rubia” — fits right in!
Those beads are gorgeous. I am an opal, but I love the deep color of rubies for sure.
Opals are lovely stones. The Mexican and Australian types are my favorite – so filled with fire.
Oh what a fun theme! I’ll have to go back and look at your other words.
Tim Brannan, The Other Side: 2021: The A to Z of Monsters
Hmmm, I love pomegranate too!
For my birthstone, I had to made research, as I had no clue! Well, looks like there are 2 stones: opal and pink tourmaline. I own none of them… 😉
It might be a perfect excuse to get one – both are lovely. 🙂
Once again, we are very similar! 🙂 My birth tree (the tree my family planted for me) is a pomegranate tree. I love pomegranates, and I have several pomegranate necklaces (one from Greece 🙂 ). I also read a whole book about rubies recently, titled Fire and Blood, it was a fascinating read.
The Multicolored Diary
How fabulous to have a pomegranate as your birth tree – that delights me! I’ll be sure to check out the ruby book as well – thanks for mentioning it. The title is quite evocative.
I was reading through your post and then came across your mention of Rabindranath Tagore, and surprised since not many Indians read his books anymore unless they are a part of the academic syllabus.
The pomegranate pendant is awesome.
Oh, that’s interesting about Tagore. I wouldn’t have guessed that.
Rubies is such a common word but I think this is the first I have heard of rubious. \
Words are curious things, aren’t they? 🙂
I, too, am a ruby birthstone child. Here’s my ruby story: I had a beloved great aunt who travelled widely and had the most marvelous collection of Things. When she died when I was maybe about 10 she left me a real gold ring with three real tiny rubies in it. It was by far the most precious, elegant thing I owned. And then I lost it! Must have been some 7 or 8 years later when I was in high school, a friend casually mentioned to everyone, “Hey, did anyone lose a ring with red stones?” Yep, she’d found the ring down the drain of her family’s bathroom sink! I must have taken it off to do some sort of craft project and wash my hands over at her house, and lost it then. It’s such a miracle it makes me love the ring even more.
Black and White: R for Ruritania
That’s a fabulous story! It makes ME love the ring even more. Rescued from a dark drain to see the light years later – now that’s an adventure.