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Ruby, the Fiery Birthstone For July

The ruby, the Firestone, a signifier of passion, is the birthstone for July is said to bring love and success to people who keep a ruby close to them. The word ruby is from the Latin word for red: rubeus. Magical powers have been associated with rubies, for example, it was believed that casting a ruby into a pot of water would cause the water to boil instantly.

Rubies can be found with brown, purplish and pink tones as well as the classic red. The most desirable stones have a deep red colour called “pigeons blood”.

The History Of The Ruby

Rubies are among the most ancient of gemstones with a history going back several thousand years they are mentioned in the bible. The Chinese were buying and selling them as long ago as 200 B.C. It was customary for Chinese warriors to set rubies into their swords as protection against death or injury from their opponents. Because of their long history, rubies have been called the "King of Gemstones."

Although rubies have been mined, collected and used in many ways for centuries, until the 19th century they were seen as being the same as other red stones such as tourmaline, garnet and spinel. All red gems were rubies. For this reason, many famous stones that are called rubies, particularly the largest ones, are not real rubies. For example, the Black Prince’s Ruby, a 170-carat stone used in the Imperial State Crown of England is a spinel. This Black Prince’s Ruby has been in the possession of English rulers since the 14th century. If you have any heirloom jewellery that has ‘rubies’ in it then it is possible that the stones are not what we, today, call rubies.

Meanings Associated With Rubies

When we think of July, in most parts of the world, we think of heat, at the peak of the summer. The stone is associated with passion, fire, heat and strength. The ruby brings good luck and protection to its owner. The red colour sets off the passionate personalities of those people fortunate enough to be born in July!

Because of their ancient history, over the years many beliefs have grown up around this rare gemstone. Many of our beliefs, around the world, come from the colour. We understand that the bright reds make the ruby a perfect gift for Valentine’s Day or a wedding anniversary. The redness conveys the vigour of fresh blood, lending energy to the body. At the same time, the ruby protects against negative energy, promoting wellness and vitality.

The Geology And Chemistry Of Rubies

Rubies are a form of a mineral called corundum. The red colour in the stones comes from trace amounts of chromium. Some rubies have a pink appearance, this is due to only a low proportion of chromium, these are called pink sapphires. In fact, sapphires are rubies that do not have chromium in their makeup.

The ruby is one of the hardest materials known to man with a Mohs hardness index of 9, second to diamond in hardness.

All natural rubies contain imperfections. The only perfect rubies are made artificially. Gemmologists use the presence of flaws to tell the difference between natural and manufactured stones.

Rubies In Jewellery

Due to their hardness rubies make an excellent choice for all kinds of jewellery, they can be used in pieces designed to be worn every day, not just for special occasions.When buying jewellery containing a ruby, there are some points to watch out for:

  1. Due to their hardness, rubies are very durable. They can withstand impacts and knocks but should not be worn when doing manual labour! Rubies usually have inclusions, and it is possible that the stone might break along the line of the inclusion under excessive force.
  2. Larger stones will always cost more than small ones of the same quality. The depth of colour has a significant effect on price. It is possible to buy almost flawless rubies, but the cost will be as much as twice the price of a larger stone that has more visible inclusions.
  3. There are no flawless natural rubies. When buying try to compare prices on similar stones, based upon weight and clarity, to understand the best deals.
  4. Always check the jewel under magnification. If the stone is cloudy, do not buy it. If the flaws reach the surface of the stone do not buy it as the gem might split along the crack.
  5. Inspect rubies under the right light. Fluorescent lights do not have much red light, and so the colour of the stone will not be strong. Check how the stone looks under different lighting types to gauge the colour effect.

A few rubies show a three or six-pointed star. To show such stones off at their best they are cut into a cabochon. The effect is due to needle inclusions in the gem and is the only time when inclusions in the stone will increase the value of a ruby.

What better gift can there be for a July birthday than the King of Gems? Protection, power and passion in one distinctive and beautiful gemstone.