July Birthstone – Ruby
What is the Birthstone for July
Ruby, the July birthstone – is one of the most coveted of gems. The name is derived from the Latin word ruber, meaning “red” – the color of love and passion. Few things catch the eye like the ruby birthstone. The finest color of the birthstone for July is a deep red with a hint of purple, called “pigeon’s blood” in the trade. A variety of the mineral corundum, ruby gets its color from trace amounts of the element chromium. The more chromium, the stronger the red. Here’s what you need to know about this beautiful July birthstone so you can better choose one for yourself or a loved one who was born in the month of July.
Ruby – July Birthstone
Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, colored by the element chromium. All other colors of gem-quality corundum are called sapphire, which means color is key for this royal gemstone.
Accordingly, the name “ruby” comes from rubeus, the Latin word for red. In ancient Sanskrit, ruby translated to ratnaraj, which meant “king of precious stones.” These fiery gems have been treasured throughout history for their color and vitality.
The chromium that gives ruby its red color also causes fluorescence, which makes rubies glow like a fire from within. Paradoxically, chromium is also what makes this gem scarce because it can cause cracks and fissures. Few rubies actually grow large enough to crystallize into fine quality gems, and these can bring even higher prices than diamonds.
Burma’s Mogok Valley historically produced the finest ruby material, famous for its deep blood-red color with purplish hues. These Burmese Rubies, also called Pigeon’s Blood Rubies, command a premium over brownish or orange-tinged varieties from other regions.
The Mong Hsu region of Myanmar began producing rubies in the ‘90s after discovering that heat treatment improved the color saturation. Other ruby deposits exist in Vietnam, Thailand, India, parts of the Middle East, East Africa, and even the United States.
Tough and durable, ruby measures 9 on the Mohs scale. Diamond is the only natural gemstone harder than ruby.
Ruby’s strength and red fluorescence make it valuable for applications beyond jewelry. Both natural and synthetic rubies are used in watchmaking, medical instruments, and lasers.
Ruby Meaning & History
Symbolic of passion, protection, and prosperity, ruby, July birthstone, has been revered since ancient times. Rubies have been particularly prized in Asian countries. Records suggest that rubies were traded along China’s North Silk Road as early as 200 BC. Chinese noblemen adorned their armor with rubies because they believed the gem would grant protection.
Burma has been a significant ruby source since at least 600 AD. Burmese rubies are still some of the most prized of all ruby gems.
After classical Burmese mines were depleted, the Mong Hsu region of Myanmar started producing rubies in the 1990s. Though these lacked the rich red hue of traditional Burmese rubies, they were treated with heat to improve saturation and transparency. Heat-treated rubies is a common practice nowadays.
Though July birthstone, the ruby, has a long history, it wasn’t recognized as a variety of corundum until 1800. Prior to that, red spinel, tourmaline, and garnet were also believed to be ruby. Even the Black Ruby, one of the famed crown jewels of England, was considered one of the largest cut rubies until determined to be spinel.
Imitation ruby dates back as far as Roman times, though it wasn’t synthesized until the early 1900s.
The red fluorescence power of ruby helped build the first working laser in 1960. Rubies—both natural and synthetic—are still used to make lasers, as well as watches and medical instruments.
In ancient India, ruby was called the “king of precious stones” for its rarity, hardness (second only to diamond), beauty and seemingly mystical powers. Long associated with the life force blood, ruby was a symbol of power and youthful energy in Indian jewelry. In past centuries, some believed this birthstone for July could predict misfortune or danger, and others claimed it would cure inflammatory diseases and soothe anger. Burmese warriors believed it made them invincible in battle. Medieval Europeans maintained that rubies bestowed health, wisdom, wealth and success in love.
How to Buy Ruby Gemstones
Whether you’re showing your love for someone born in July, or celebrating a 15th or 40th wedding anniversary, there’s no better gift than ruby gemstone jewelry.
Like diamonds, rubies are evaluated using the 4Cs—cut, clarity, carat, and color—plus size and geographic origin. The most important feature of a ruby is its red color, as other hues of this gem species are considered sapphire. The finest ruby is a vibrant purplish red. Rubies lose value (and classification as a ruby) as they lean toward brown, orange or even pink.
Rubies also require good transparency. Opaque rubies are much less valuable, even if they display cat’s eye or asterism.
All natural rubies contain imperfections, like rutile inclusions called “silk.” These can actually increase the value of ruby (when displaying a rare cat’s eye or star effect) and are often used to determine a gem’s authenticity.
The Sunrise Ruby is the world’s most expensive gemstone other than a diamond. A 25.6-carat Burmese Pigeon Blood Ruby set between two diamonds weighing 2.5 and 2.7 carats respectively, sold at auction in 2015 for nearly $30 million, setting a new record price-per-carat.
Lower quality rubies are heat treated to improve color saturation and minimize inclusions, making these varieties more affordable.
Discover The Birthstones for Each Month
If you’re curious about the birthstones associated with each month, click the links below to learn more:
January Birthstone | February Birthstone | March Birthstone | April Birthstone | May Birthstone | June Birthstone | July Birthstone | August Birthstone | September Birthstone | October Birthstone | November Birthstone | December Birthstone
Last Updated on March 19, 2023 by JewelryNStyle