Ruby – Traditional July Birthstone

The radiant ruby is the traditional July birthstone. Representing integrity, passion, and devotion, the ruby also symbolizes great strength, courage, and happiness. The ruby is one of the hardest materials in the world, third only to the diamond and the moissanite. It is often the preferred choice for engagement rings due to its vibrant coloring. In addition, it is often believed that wearing the ruby on the left hand brings the wearer good fortune.

July Birthstone Ruby

July Birthstone Ruby

Many cultures believe that the ruby contains numerous magical healing powers. Throughout the years the ruby has been used to heal a number of ailments including blood sicknesses and even depression. It is also believed that wearing a ruby on the ring finger will bring prosperity and even lengthen one’s life.

Rubies are available in a variety of shades, sizes, and cuts. From a light berry red to a deep violet, the color variation is often caused from heat treating the stone to improve its color and clarity. The color also varies due to the amount of aluminum oxide the stone contains. A light pink ruby is referred to as a pink sapphire in the United States.

It is said that man began mining rubies as far back as 2,5oo years ago. To this day there are ruby mines in a number of countries including India, Thailand, and Kenya to name a few. In addition, rubies have been found in such U.S. states as Montana, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Wyoming. Most rubies today are mined from Thailand and Burma.

The cost of a ruby is determined by various characteristics of the stone. A brighter, more vibrant red often referred to as “pigeon blood red” is the most expensive, often costing significantly more than other rubies of the same size. In addition to color, the clarity of the stone is also a determining factor when it comes to price. A clearer stone will often bring in a much higher price than a less than clear competitor. Obviously, the particular cut and carat of the stone indicate price differences as well.

True rubies have imperfections in them that assist gemologists in determining whether they are real or synthetic. Some of the imperfections include color variation and the inclusion of tiny needles often referred to as “silk.” Although most rubies in today’s market are treated in some way, usually with heat, those that are untreated are the most valuable. In most cases, however, rubies are heated before cutting. In addition to heat treating, some rubies are filled with lead glass. This dramatically enhances the clarity of the stone.

One of the world’s largest and most valuable rubies is located in Washington D.C.’s National Museum of Natural History. At 23.1 carats, this magnificent ruby is set in a platinum ring also containing a number of diamonds. It was mined in Burma. This ruby was donated by businessman Peter Buck as a memorial to his late wife. One of the largest rubies was featured on a London Jeweler’s web site in 2007, weighing in at 40.63 carats. That stone would have made an incredible birthday gift in July.