For thousands of years ruby has been considered one of the most valuable gemstones on earth. It has everything a precious stone should have: magnificent colour, excellent hardness and outstanding brilliance. In addition to that, it is an extremely rare gemstone. For centuries South East Asia and India were regarded as classical countries of ruby origin. And yet a mine near Prilep in Macedonia yielded some nice pieces too, of which the most beautiful one thankfully reached us.

In the Natural History Museum in London this precious stone is signed as ruby from Macedonia, since it can be only found on the territory of this land in whole Europe. Even though the interest in Macedonian Ruby is constantly increasing, it was not until recently that almost no one knew that the soil hides such a real treasure. This story is about Macedonian Ruby, the national gemstone of Macedonia.

The name comes from ruber, Latin for red and it's considered one of the four precious stones. Rubies have a hardness of 9.0 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness (among natural gems only diamond is harder). It's a pink to blood red gemstone, a variety of aluminum oxide. Two magical elements are associated with the symbolism of ruby colour: fire and blood, implying warmth and life. Like no other gemstone, ruby is the perfect way to express powerful feelings. The colour one spontaneously associates with love and vivacity, passion and love. In the fascinating world of gemstones, ruby is fit to be a gift for lovers.

The difference between Macedonian Ruby and other rubies is in the colour. Macedonian Ruby has a specific raspberry-pink colour, while the most famous ones from Asia usually have the so-called pigeon blood colour. What is typical of Macedonian Ruby is an intense pinkish red hue which expresses the state of our spiritual being. Katrina Raphaell, one of the experts of worldwide crystal therapy and healing, said that it has one of the most powerful rays of a crystal in the world which treats the energetic field of the heart: "The colour of this ruby is really the most important feature. Its transparency is only of secondary importance. Inclusions within a ruby could be said to be its fingerprint, a statement of its individuality and, at the same time, proof of its genuineness and natural origin. The treatment of this ruby started in 1996 with the help of several artists, who have been working on the filigree in order to achieve a complete adornment. The jewel is unique and it is hand-made. The cut is essential: only a perfect cut will underline the beauty of this valuable and precious stone in a way befitting the king of gemstones".

"A really perfect ruby is as rare as perfect love. If you do come across it, you should feel fortunate. But when you have found your ruby, don't hesitate: hang on to it! I did. Thanks to the craftiest pair of artisan hands in Macedonia we managed to preserve and house this specific Macedonian Ruby, making possible for the loved one to ware and project it", Deko said, while we were entering his gemstones processing laboratory, based in Skopje. We were standing in a space filled with colourful stones, crystals with fascinating forms and where by every minute the rough stone was becoming a beautiful gemstone and finally we held a heart-shaped ruby in our hand.

The story begins in Trieste in 1991, when Dejan Shkartov, Deko, embarked on a journey to Italy with his bike, backpack and keyboard, looking for a better future and leaving behind Yugoslavia, which has already begun to fall apart. The war was knocking on Yugoslavia's door. He decided to check his luck in Trieste, where his aunt lived. Months passed by, he started to work, doing the shopping for sick pensioners, since he realized that he had arrived in a country which was not the right place for his kind of music. Soon, he read an article in a newspaper: Brazil seeks agricultural engineers, just like him – highly educated fruit expert. He soon knocked on Primo Rovis' door, a famous coffee-magnate from Trieste, honorary consul of Brazil.

"Mr. Rovis was a rich businessman in the coffee industry, who at some point got fascinated with minerals and decided to compile a large collection. Back then, I did not know anything about stones. I was only yet to immerse into the universe of minerals, their crystal shapes and rainbows of colour. One of the fascinating things about gems is that all this colour is created in the darkness of the earth. They bring all this light without having ever seen the light of day. The other fascinating thing is that they are created over millions of years, in some cases hundreds of millions. This dimension of eternity struck me", Deko said.

"When I returned to Macedonia in 2001, I wanted to continue what I had learned. I brought a large amount of minerals with me. I first started presenting them at fairs. People were amazed. We had generally very little knowledge of stones in Macedonia. When someone first mentioned to me that there were ruby deposits in the country, I was skeptical. Then, I started exploring. I got several samples, I took them to contacts I had in Italy to assess them. They confirmed they were rubies, not of the highest quality but nonetheless rubies. You see, precious stones are like sports cars. Your Ferrari may be old, or second-hand, but it is still a Ferrari. I realized that we could promote this as a national product. Ruby is a challenge to cut, since it is the second hardest mineral after diamond, but by 2006 we had the first several gemstones called Macedonian Ruby in our store window. By 2009 we completed the procedure for registering it as a trademark".

Today Macedonian Ruby is well-recognized and can be a beautiful diplomatic present from Macedonia. Now Macedonia has got its own national gemstone as China has its Chinese jade and Australia has its Australia opal. As a promotion of Macedonian Ruby several important people in the world have been presented with this gift: Pope Benedict XVI, the great Indian yogi Paramhans Swami Nikhileshwaranand, the Hollywood actress Daryl Hannah, as well as Warwick Davis, one of Hollywood's shortest leading actors.

In literature ruby has been described as a "metaphysical rock of love and wisdom" with healing effect on the energy center of the heart. When this energy system is balanced, one can feel and give more love. The balance makes one become more humane. Maybe the influence of Macedonian Ruby has such an effect to people who come to visit our country to make them see us as they do – as warm hearted, welcoming and nonviolent people.