Birthstone Jewellery

July Birthstone Ruby – History, Meaning & Symbolism

July Birthstone Ruby, The King of Precious Stones

If you are looking for a gemstone that can ignite your passion and inspire your creativity, look no further than the ruby, the birthstone for July. This fiery red gem has been revered for centuries as a symbol of love, courage, royalty and wisdom. In this blog article, we will explore the meaning, history and properties of this stunning stone, and show you how you can incorporate it into your jewelry collection.

A ruby is a variety of the mineral corundum (same as the Blue Sapphire, the Birthstone of September), which is composed of aluminum and oxygen and the color of a ruby is caused by trace amounts of chromium, a metal that gives the stone its characteristic red hue. The more chromium, the stronger the red. In addition to being the birthstone for July, rubies are also traditionally presented as gifts honoring the 40th wedding anniversary.

The Hope Ruby set with diamond accents on a ring by Chaumet, Source: Christie's

A selection of rough, unpolished rubies, Source: Wikicommons

Elizabeth Taylor ruby and diamond necklace, Source: Christie's

Ruby's History & Origins

Ruby is one of the oldest and most revered gemstones in history. Its name comes from the Latin word ruber, meaning “red”, the color of love and passion. The July Birthstone is one of the most historically significant gemstones, being mentioned in the Bible 4 times, in association with attributes like beauty and wisdom.

Rubies were first discovered in India over two thousand years ago, and rapidly made their way out of the country along trade routes through China. To Indians the ruby is called ratnaraj, Sanskrit for king of precious stones. As early as 2500 B.C., rubies were discovered in the Mogok region of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Here, in ancient times, warriors possessed rubies to make them invincible in battle. However, it wasn’t enough to just wear the rubies. They had to insert them into their flesh and make them part of their bodies.

Ruby retained its importance with the birth of the western world and became one of the most sought-after gems of European royalty and the upper classes.

Today, Myanmar (Burma) still produces the majority of the world’s rubies, and the finest as well. Other significant producers of the July birthstone include Vietnam, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar.

Mogok Ruby Specimen in a pigeon-blood red, Source:

Rosser Reeves Star Ruby, Source: Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Rosser Reeves Star Ruby displaying famous asterism

Ruby's Properties

The July Birthstone is a very hard and durable gemstone, with a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, making it one of the hardest gemstones after diamond. Ruby gemstones have a hexagonal crystal structure, and the crystals are usually prismatic with flat, basal terminations.

The finest ruby has a pure, vibrant red to slightly purplish red color, which is often called pigeon blood red. This color is most associated with rubies from Myanmar (formerly Burma), which are considered to be the most valuable and sought-after. Other sources of rubies can produce different shades of red, such as orangy-red, purple-red, brown-red or even pink-red. Also, rubies can change their color under different types of light. This is called the alexandrite effect. Some rubies can appear red under incandescent light and purple under fluorescent light, but the color change is a subtle one.

One interesting fact about the ruby is that it has a very high dispersion, which means that it can split white light into its spectral colors. This creates a fire-like effect in the gemstone, similar to diamond. Ruby can also exhibit asterisms, which means that it can show a star-shaped pattern on its surface when cut and polished in a certain way. Star rubies are very rare and valuable, and the most famous one is the Rosser Reeves Star Ruby, which weighs 138.7 carats and is displayed at the Smithsonian Institution.

How Valuable Is the July Birthstone?

Rubies can command the highest per-carat price of any colored stone. This makes ruby one of the most important gems in the colored stone market. Rubies are one of the four precious gemstones, along with diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires.

The value of rubies is determined by several factors, such as the origin, treatment, clarity, cut, and shape of the gemstone. However, the most important factor is the color, which is the main attraction of rubies.

Their value can range from a few pounds to thousands of pounds per carat, depending on the quality and size of the gemstone. For example, one of the most expensive rubies ever sold is the Sunrise Ruby, which weighs 25.59 carats and sold for £19,5 million in 2015, setting a record price of £764,009 per carat.

The Famous Sunrise Ruby, Source: Sotheby's

Real Ruby Slippers by Harry Winston for the 50th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz

July Birthstone Mythology, Symbolism and Meaning

Ruby has many meanings, symbolism, and folklore that relate to its color, properties, and origin. Ruby is considered a stone of passion, protection, and wealth. For example, the ancient Greeks and Romans associated ruby with courage and power and wore it as a talisman in battle. The ancient Chinese valued ruby as a symbol of good luck and prosperity and adorned their armor and weapons with it.

Hindus divided ruby into four castes, calling the true Oriental ruby a Brahmin. Someone in possession of a Brahmin was believed to have the advantage of perfect safety. Alos, people in India believed that rubies enabled their owners to live in peace with their enemies.

Ruby is also associated with royalty and nobility, as well as leadership and authority. It has been worn by kings, queens, emperors, and rulers throughout history.

Ruby, the July Birthstone, is said to stimulate both the root and the heart chakras, enhancing our life force, passion, and courage. Ruby can help us feel more grounded, stable, and confident in our physical existence. It can also help us feel more connected, generous, and loyal in our relationships. Ruby can balance these two chakras and harmonize our physical and emotional needs.

Ruby also has metaphysical properties that can benefit the wearer in various ways. Ruby is said to promote clear visualization and positive dreams. It is said to stimulate the pineal gland and regulate the sleep cycle. It is also said to attract abundance and help retain finances. Ruby is said to promote dynamic and effective leadership. It is also said to bring out negative issues into the open where they can be resolved.

Ruby is a beautiful and powerful gemstone that can enhance your life in many ways. Whether you choose a ruby ring, necklace, earrings, or bracelet, you will be wearing a piece of history and legend that will make you feel special and confident.

Buying & Gifting July Birthstone Jewellery

Ruby jewellery is a great gift idea for someone who was born under the signs of Cancer or Leo or for those that love to express their personality and passion. The July Birthstone is a vibrant and powerful stone that enhances love, joy, and vitality and can suit any style and occasion.

We hope you enjoyed learning more about the July Birthstone, the passionate Ruby, and whether you are looking for a gift for someone born this month, or simply want to treat yourself to a beautiful piece of jewellery, you can’t go wrong with this fiery gemstone.

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