Ruby – the birthstone of July – is one of the most sought-after of gems. Rich in symbolism and history, it gets its name from the Latin word ruber, meaning “red” – the colour of love and passion.
Few stones can match the brilliance and sparkle of the ruby birthstone, which is why it commands the highest per karat price of any coloured gemstone. In addition to being the July birthstone, ruby is also the traditional gemstone for 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.
Whether you’re looking for a July birthstone for yourself or a loved one, here’s all you need to know about the beautiful ruby.
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Ruby Birthstone History
Known as the King of gemstones, rubies are famous for their stunning deep red colour and incredible durability. But what makes rubies so special?
Due to their rarity and blood red colour, rubies have been treasured gems for centuries and have played a vital role in many cultures and religions. The deep red colour of a ruby has long been associated with passion, love, and power. In ancient times, rubies were believed to have protective powers that could ward off evil and bring good fortune to the wearer. Many warriors and royalty throughout history have adorned themselves with rubies as a symbol of strength, courage, and nobility.
Rubies also hold significant religious and spiritual importance. In Hinduism, the ruby is one of the nine gemstones that are considered sacred and holds a special place in the Navaratna. It is believed to bring good health, wealth, and success to the person wearing it. In Christianity, rubies were associated with the blood of Christ and were used to portray his crucifixion.
In more modern times, rubies have been seen as a stone of vitality and strength, believed to help invigorate energy and promote bravery. Its fiery red hue has been known to inspire creativity, passion, and motivation in individuals.
Overall, the rich history and symbolism associated with rubies make them one of the most coveted gemstones in the world.
Ruby Birthstone Meaning
Ruby is a talisman of passion, protection, and prosperity.
Its fiery red flame banishes sadness and increases vitality both in the physical body and the spirit.
Ruby’s energy overcomes exhaustion and fills the wearer with a sense of power that sharpens the mind and brings heightened awareness and concentration.
Ruby birthstone Properties
Rubies are not just any red stone. In fact, it is their breathtaking colour that sets them apart from other gemstones. Rubies come in various hues of red, from pinkish-red to blood red. The deeper and more intense the hue, the more valuable the stone. Its finest colour is a deep, vibrant red with a hint of purple that is known as “pigeon’s blood” in the trade. This stunning hue is created by trace amounts of the element chromium, with the more chromium present, the more intense the colour.
Rubies are also known for their clarity, which refers to the absence of blemishes, inclusions, or cloudiness within the stone. The clearer and more transparent the ruby, the more expensive it is. The combination of colour and clarity is what makes rubies such a sought-after gemstone, with collectors and enthusiasts alike seeking out the finest specimens.
In addition to their striking colour and clarity, rubies are also known for their remarkable hardness and durability. On the Mohs scale, which measures a mineral’s resistance to scratching, rubies score a 9 out of 10, making them one of the hardest gemstones in the world. This exceptional hardness is due to the crystal structure of rubies, which is composed of aluminum oxide molecules tightly packed together.
Not only are rubies hard, they are also highly resistant to damage from heat and chemicals. This durability makes them an excellent choice for everyday wear, as they can withstand the wear and tear of daily use without losing their beauty or value.
Ruby birthstone Care
Rubies have a naturally deep, pure red hue, but not all gems are perfect quality. To enhance their colour, many rubies are heat treated to remove any purplish tints, as well as any inclusions that can make the gem appear lighter and more opaque. For lower quality rubies, surface-reaching fractures and cavities may be filled with a glass to make them appear more transparent. Unfortunately, this treatment can make them more prone to damage during normal wear.
Before buying any ruby jewelry, always ask about the quality of the stone and if it has been treated or not. For larger, more expensive stones, request a GIA report or equivalent that lists any inclusions and treatments.
Despite their tremendous durability, natural rubies are prone to some types of damage, including sudden changes in temperature, exposure to chemicals, or physical impacts. While soaking in warm, soapy water and brushing with a soft bristled brush is generally safe for most stones, reserve ultrasonic or steam cleaners for untreated stones.
If your ruby has been dyed or filled, it’s important not to soak it at all, so a wipe with a damp cloth is the best cleaning method.