The July Birthstone: Ruby
They all agree, modern, traditional, mystical, and ayurvedic - the July Birthstone is the dazzling ruby.
The Ruby's rich red color speaks of love and passion and fire. Some have said that the July birthstone gets its
color from an everlasting eternal fire, which cannot be extinguished. This makes it the perfect representation of
Perhaps it's just a coincidence, but Ruby is second only to diamond in terms of hardness and durability. This
makes it a perfect gem for all kinds of jewelry. Perhaps not so coincidentally it looks fabulous when combined with
Called the "Rajnapura" or King of Gems by the ancient Hindus in India, July's birthstone is one of the most
treasured gems throughout history. With its deep red color and glow many people considered the ruby to have magical
In some cultures it was worn by nobility as a way to ward off, and warn of approaching, evil, others
thought it was a drop of the heart blood of Mother Earth. Ancient Orientals believed that the ruby
burned with its own internal fire and as such called it a lamp stone. Some stories tell of Emporers using large
rubies to light their chambers!
The July Birthstone was said to be able to cause a pot of water to boil if the gem was thrown in. Healers have
used rubies to cure various ailments, such as indigestion. It represents love and carries the red ray.
Some say that it allows them to overcome fear.
Dictionary.com says of the July birth stone:
- A deep red, translucent variety of the mineral corundum, highly valued as a precious stone.
- Something, such as a watch bearing, that is made from a ruby.
- A dark or deep red to deep purplish red.
The word Ruby comes from the Latin "rubius" meaning red. The darker and richer the red color the more
valuable the gem (along with size, clarity, etc.) It's a variety of mineral called corundom. Corundum is
the second hardest mineral, after diamond, and comes in a variety of colors. If the corundum is any color other
than red or white then it's a sapphire.
Actually, the word ruby used to describe all red gemstones. This means that many of the reg gems
describes throughout history might not actually have been rubies, especially if they were large. An example is a
famous "ruby" named the Timur Ruby which turned out to be a red spinel.
Rubies also tend to be tiny gems. They don't seem to approach the size of diamonds, but fine rubies will
certainly approach, and even exceed, the value of diamonds. As their size increases over a couple of carats Rubies
start to get very rare. As such their value increases with size more quickly than that of other
The history of Ruby mining dates back more than 2,500 years ago. The most beautiful crystals are thought
to be from Burma, but quality Rubies are also found in India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Kenya, Tanzania, Afghanistan,
Pakistan, and the United States. Rubies can even be found in ancient literature. In Exodus (Ex. 28:17) the
breastplate of the high priest held twleve precious stones, one of which was a sadius, the ancient word
Rubies have a famous place in science - the first lasers were made from artificial ruby crystals. They
still are used for this purpose although other materials offer improved efficiency. Some ruby crystals show
the fluorescence (actually very short term phosphorescence) that makes a laser possible. (Ruby is also a
programming language, but that's beside the point!)
With its hardness and durability, it is a perfect engagement gem and if you were born in July and wear a ruby
(or rubies) in July ancient lore has it that the Ruby will bring good fortune to you.
Birthstone jewelry, which tends to be affordable, generally uses either synthetic or treated rubies to
improve their appearance and to keep costs down. Another way to get an affordable natural ruby is to
go ruby hunting. In various places in the US, such as the ruby mine in Franklin, North Carolina, you can actually
hunt for rubies and sapphires. While the rubies you find won't be high quality (unless you're really
lucky) it's fun to search for them. You can then have a craftsman cut and set your gems into your own
unique piece of ruby jewelry.
How's that for a July Birthstone?
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