THE BASICS ---
No gemstone better signifies the blazing heat of summer than the bold and luxurious ruby, the official birthstone of July. This stone is more than just a stunning shade of red or a hot choice for jewelry, however, and learning more about rubies can help you appreciate just how distinctive and beautiful these jewels are.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW---
• About Rubies
Rubies are a form of the natural mineral corundum, or aluminum oxide, that has been colored red by chromium in its crystal lattice structure. Other colors of chromium, including blue, orange, yellow, green and black, are sapphires, but the red shade is reserved for rubies. The intensity of the color ranges from lighter red that is nearly pink to a deep, dark red, though the darker shades are considered more valuable. Different tones can also occur in ruby colors, giving the stones tinges of brown, orange or purple, with purplish hues being the most desirable. Ruby is often confused with other red stones, however, such as garnet, tourmaline and red spinel. Older stones, in particular, may be misidentified as rubies, and it is important to have the stones carefully inspected to ensure their authenticity.
• Bold Color
In addition to its bold color, ruby also has a natural fluorescence caused by the chromium in its structure, giving it a rich glow when exposed to ultraviolet light. Because UV light is a natural part of the spectrum, all rubies will glow to some extent, depending on the intensity of the light.
Rubies are subject to a variety of cracks, inclusions and fissures in the crystal structure, which makes it more challenging to find larger, gem-quality natural rubies. Some inclusions, however, create a cat’s eye or starburst effect in the stone, which can enhance its beauty and value when properly cut and displayed to its full advantage.
• Ruby Mine
Ruby mines have been found throughout the world, though the most historically productive mines with the richest, highest-quality stones are found in southeastern Asia, including Myanmar (Burma). Other countries with good ruby mines include Thailand, Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Scotland and India. In the United States, rubies are mined in Montana, Wyoming and both North and South Carolina.
• Ruby Symbolism
Known as the “king of gemstones,” ruby has been prized for millennia, and was traded as long ago as 200 B.C., when it was recorded along the ancient Asian Silk Road route between east and west. The stones were used to adorn armor, harnesses and weaponry of royalty and nobles in ancient Asia and have been associated with royalty for centuries. In fact, rubies are one of the original cardinal
gemstones labeled as “precious” gems, along with diamonds, sapphires and emeralds.
• Healing properties
Rubies are said to have many strong spiritual properties and can enhance passion, energy, confidence and courage. Rubies are believed to bring good fortune and prosperity, and are even believed to have healing properties associated with improved blood circulation. The glow of a ruby mimics the fiery passion of love, and these stones are often associated with romance. In some Asian cultures, placing rubies under the foundation of a new building is believed to bring prosperity, good fortune and protection to that structure. In addition to being the official birthstone of July, rubies are also the symbolic gemstone associated with
both the fifteenth and fortieth wedding anniversaries.
• Vintage Ruby Rings and Jewelry
Because rubies have exceptional hardness – the only naturally occurring gemstones that are harder are diamond and moissanite – they can easily withstand the rigors of daily wear in all types of jewelry. Rubies are found in rings, earrings, bracelets, pendants, brooches and other pieces, both as the center stones and focal points of jewelry designs as well as accent stones. Because of their dominating richness, rubies are not often paired with other colored gemstones, but they are frequently found with diamonds to enhance their sparkle and draw the eye to their distinctiveness.
• Other July Birthstones
While rubies are an amazing gem, they may not be the right choice for everyone celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other special occasion in July. In that case, consider the historic birthstones associated with July, turquoise and onyx, both of which have their own uniqueness and beauty. Another option is to choose gems linked to the tropical zodiac signs – the sign Cancer (June 21 through July 22) claimsemerald as its birthstone, while Leo (July 23 through August 22) celebrates with onyx. Regardless of what you’re celebrating, what type of jewelry you prefer or what your personal vintage style may be, rubies can make a striking statement not just in July, but all year long.
Antique Rings For Everyone:
No matter which gemstone is your favorite, these time-honored gemstones have a rich history and individualized character and will continue to have a timeless beauty and elegant appeal that is part of a legacy to pass on to future generations.
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