One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A spinel of a delicate rose-red variety.
- ‘Ironically red spinels, often referred to in ancient texts as balas rubies, are actually more rare than ruby but, unlike ruby, they can sometimes be found in very large sizes.’
- ‘Set with three balas rubies, pearls, and a central diamond, the Three Brothers passed among European royalty to raise money for armies until bought by the Tudors.’
- ‘Hence, in 1402, Berry convinced the king to open the royal coffers and disburse 14,000 of the 18,000 ecus he needed to purchase a fabulous balas ruby.’
- ‘But what is found here is slightly different: balas rubies otherwise known as spinels.’
- ‘Richard II. had a coat, valued at thirty thousand marks, which was covered with balas rubies.’
- ‘A highlight will also be a visit to Badakhshan's long lost balas ruby mines and a side trip to the Russian emerald mines.’
- ‘Anything goes, including gauds of pearls, of enameled gold, even of balas rubies and sapphires.’
- ‘In the past, spinel has been referred to as ‘balas ruby’, a reference to the mines of Badakhshan.’
- ‘The coronation crown featured large balas rubies (red spinel), surrounded by emeralds, pearls, oriental sapphires, and rubies.’
- ‘Composed of three balas rubies and four pearls clustered around a pyramid-shaped diamond, the clasp was twice part of the crown jewels of Britain before disappearing in early Victorian times.’
- ‘The balas, or balas ruby, for example, is a type of spinel.’
- ‘The crown is lavishly decorated with twenty pearls and ninety-six gemstones including sapphires, rubies, balas rubies, emeralds and lynx sapphires.’
- ‘The passage offers a poetic description of the Buddhas and their former adornments of painted robes and balas rubies.’
- ‘Some garnets, e.g., Arizona ruby, Bohemian ruby, Cape ruby, and some spinels, e.g., balas ruby, ruby spinel, are ruby colored.’
- ‘In the inventory of the crown jewels of France the price of balas rubies is four or five times less than that of spinels.’
- ‘But from the middle ages spinel was often referred to as ‘balas ruby’, as you mentioned.’
Late Middle English: from Old French balais, from Arabic balaḵš, from Persian Badaḵšān, a district of Afghanistan where it is found.
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