July Birthstone – Ruby

5 July 2023

The ruby is one of the most desired gemstone and is the symbol of July births. The word comes from the Lati ruber, or red. If it is very deep red, with just a bit of purple, jewelers will call this “pigeon’s blood”. The more chromium with the primary mineral corundum, the deeper the red. Interestingly corundum is clear and it is the ancillary materials that give it a specific color. Sapphires are also primarily corundum but different additives provide a different hue.

With its scarlet color, it is no wonder that the ruby is associated with blood and a symbol of power and energy. In India, this “king of precious stones” was thought to predict danger but other folks thought it could mediate anger and cure inflammations. Burmese warriors felt it would make them invincible in battle. In Medieval Europe they felt the stone would provide heath, wisdom, wealth, and success in love.

The oldest site for rubies is Myanmar (formerly Burma). During the 1900s the area between what is now Thailand and Cambodia produced one of the largest mines. In the late 20th Century Vietnam has emerged as a reliable source for this gem. Mozambique is another prolific site. Other sources are Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar.

In processing rubies they are frequently treated with heat to enhance the red and to remove imperfections. While this is an accepted technique in the jewelry industry, the treatments can often leave the stone more vulnerable to damage. Before making a purchase, you should ask for documentation about whether the stone is natural or synthetic and if it has had any treatments.

Second in hardness only to diamonds, natural rubies can be tidied up with warm soapy water and a soft brush, ultrasonic, or steam cleaning. Just be sure it is a natural stone. Those that have been treated in some way like filled with glass or dyed should only be cleaned using a damp cloth.

Considered as a symbol of commitment, rubies are a favorite gift for both 15th and 40th anniversaries.

Many cultures have other feelings about this gemstone.

  • Chinese noblemen put rubies on their armor for protection and buried rubies under building foundations for luck.
  • Hindus had a belief that if they offered rubies to Krishna, they would come back in their next life as emperors.
  • There is a legend that they could boil water or melt wax.
  • The Burmese would implant rubies under their skin for protection in battle.
  • Even today we hear stories that if a ruby’s color fades or dulls, there will be a disaster around the corner, but only if it was in the possession of its rightful owner.
  • Sports teams who wear red average better results than other teams. Possibly because we associate red with power or aggression.
  • In statues of Buddha, the “third eye” is a ruby representing reincarnation and the ability to read the thoughts of others revealing their true feelings and intentions.
  • Some think that a ruby will clear any factors blocking energy to the heart so that their passions can be correctly channeled and provide good vibrations.

Whether you believe these assertions or not, the ruby is an exciting gemstone to wear and makes a lovely gift to celebrate a July birth.

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