The name first came into wide use for girls in the late Victorian era along with other jewel names. Ruby is a currently popular name in English-speaking countries. It was the second most popular name given to baby girls in England and Wales in 2007, was the 26th most popular name given to baby girls born in Scotland in 2007; was the 17th most popular name given to baby girls born in New South Wales, Australia in 2007 and was the 116th most popular name given to baby girls born in the United States in 2007. The name was also once rarely given to boys in the United States and was ranked in the top 1,000 names given to boys born in that country between 1900 and 1940. In its masculine form, it is occasionally used as a nickname for the name Reuben.
Authors Pamela Redmond Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz noted in their 2007 book Baby Name Bible that Ruby is a "vibrant" name with a "sassy and sultry" image, while Laura Wattenberg wrote in her 2005 book The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name For Your Baby that Ruby has the image of a woman "kicking up her heels" at a music hall.