July's birthstone : Ruby

 Ruby ring by Katie Poterala

Those fortunate to be born during one of the hottest months of the year, have the honor of wearing one of the most sizzling birthstones around -- Ruby!

Ruby is derived from “ruber”, the Latin word for red. Rubies are the red member of the corundum family, ranging from dark blood-red to orangy-red and even purple-red with sapphires being the other corundum family members. In fact, aside from their coloring, rubies and sapphires are essentially the same stone. Trace amounts of chromium is what causes ruby's red coloring -- the more chromium, the stronger the red color. All other colors of corundum, including pink, are classified as sapphires. However, the boundary between pink sapphire and ruby is not a clearly defined one. Even within the professional gemology associations there is a question of classification, due to subjective and personal perception. Generally speaking, red must be the dominant hue before a stone can be called a ruby.

Lore has it wearing rubies brings good health, increased wealth and success in love and relationships. Also people who wear the July birthstone are thought have integrity, courage and are full of confidence, vitality and both physical and emotional strength. Rubies are considered a positive stone; one that increases positive thought patterns and lessens the severity of infection and certain blood disorders. In fact, during medieval times rubies were ground to a fine powder and ingested to treat digestive disorders and stop internal bleeding.

Gem quality mined rubies can command the highest per-carat price of any colored stone. As a result, many of the stones available today are lab-grown. These lab grown stones are also used as tiny bearings in self winding wristwatches, turntable styluses and in the scientific community as an important component to the ruby laser used in military range finding.

Whether earth mined or lab-grown, if you were born during the heat of the summer, why not consider a piece of jewelry that packs the same amount of fire and passion?

Gifting Ruby: Ruby is always a perfect birthstone for a July baby, but it is also the customary 40th wedding anniversary gift.  

Origin:  One of the oldest recorded sources of rubies is Burma, now known as Myanmar. Thailand is another important source for the July birthstone, as well as, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mozambique, Madagascar and Tanzania. Here in the United States rubies are rarely found but some of the finest one’s on record have been discovered in both North Carolina and Montana.

Ruby Care:  With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale this July birthstone is durable enough for everyday wear. Caring for the gem is easy. Use warm water, mild dish soap and a toothbrush to scrub behind the birthstone where dirt can collect. Ultrasonic cleaners and steam cleaning are usually safe options as long as it is not a dyed or fracture-filled gem.

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