Brief Guide to July Birthstone
Ruby is the July birthstone. The ruby is a lovely red gemstone and has been a favorite since ancient times. The ruby is said to be a gem of passion and promotes balance in love and all spiritual undertakings. The ruby has also been said to promote health and courage.
The gemstone ruby is a variety of the mineral corundum. Ruby is actually rare and one of the most precious and valuable gemstones. Rubies are the second hardest gemstone, after diamonds. Ruby is said to represent the sun.
The most popular ruby color is deep vivid red to slightly purple red. The best source for rubies is Burma. Burmese rubies are very well known for their pigeon blood color. These particular rubies come from Mogok in Upper Burma. Today any ruby that has a deep, rich color is called a Burmese Ruby. Thailand is also well known for its dark red rubies.
Over the centuries, different cultures have exalted various types of stones. In some instances, the choice of stones was understood to have some sort of historical or social significance. In other cases, the stones were considered to be some sort of religious connection and were understood to be powerful conduits to things spiritual. For some people, the birthstone is simply an element of tradition and a source of fun.
Over the years, more than one list has emerged as being a source of authority when it comes to what stones are associated with which birth month. The diversity on the lists has made it possible for people to enjoy more than one birthstone as part of their heritage. July is one of those months that has a collection of brilliantly vibrant stones, with each of them having their own sense of style and background.
July Modern and Traditional Birthstone
From the traditional and modern listing, the ruby is understood to be the birthstone for the month of July. The tradition in this case appears to have religious overtones, as it is often associated with the Judeo-Christian tradition, as part of the list of precious stones that were encrusted onto the Breastplate of Aaron. With a vibrant red hue, the ruby is one of those stones that can be used for dressy occasions or also step out for a night of fun on the town. At times associated with blood as the essential essence of life, the ruby tends to be one of those stones that people easily recognize, love to wear, and generally enjoy seeing and wearing.
The traditional listing also includes the designation of the onyx as associated with the month of July. Dark and mysterious, the onyx carries a sense of being both elegant and subdued, making it an ideal birthstone for July babies who lean toward the conservative in both look and demeanor. Also mentioned in the biblical passages related to the Breastplate of Aaron, there is also a clue of how to properly show off the onyx to best effect; set the onyx in a gold setting, and the stone will seem to be perfectly at home.
January Alternative Birthstone
Today, there is also an alternate list of birthstones that may be attractive to the July birthday celebrant. Here, it is possible to enjoy the lush coolness of jade. Well known as a popular stone in a number of different jewelry pieces, jade is considered to be a lot of fun to wear, and is especially great for celebrations. The alternate list also offers the selection of carnelian as a birthstone for the month of July.
They all agree, modern, traditional, mystical, and ayurvedic - the July Birthstone is the dazzling ruby.
The Ruby's rich red color speaks of love and passion and fire. Some have said that the July birthstone gets its color from an everlasting eternal fire, which cannot be extinguished. This makes it the perfect representation of eternal love.
Perhaps it's just a coincidence, but Ruby is second only to diamond in terms of hardness and durability. This makes it a perfect gem for all kinds of jewelry. Perhaps not so coincidentally it looks fabulous when combined with diamonds.
Called the "Rajnapura" or King of Gems by the ancient Hindus in India, July's birthstone is one of the most treasured gems throughout history. With its deep red color and glow many people considered the ruby to have magical powers
In some cultures it was worn by nobility as a way to ward off, and warn of approaching, evil, others thought it was a drop of the heart blood of Mother Earth. Ancient Orientals believed that the ruby burned with its own internal fire and as such called it a lamp stone. Some stories tell of Emporers using large rubies to light their chambers!
The July Birthstone was said to be able to cause a pot of water to boil if the gem was thrown in. Healers have used rubies to cure various ailments, such as indigestion. It represents love and carries the red ray. Some say that it allows them to overcome fear.
The word Ruby comes from the Latin "rubius" meaning red. The darker and richer the red color the more valuable the gem (along with size, clarity, etc.) It's a variety of mineral called corundom. Corundum is the second hardest mineral, after diamond, and comes in a variety of colors. If the corundum is any color other than red or white then it's a sapphire.
Actually, the word ruby used to describe all red gemstones. This means that many of the reg gems describes throughout history might not actually have been rubies, especially if they were large. An example is a famous "ruby" named the Timur Ruby which turned out to be a red spinel.
Rubies also tend to be tiny gems. They don't seem to approach the size of diamonds, but fine rubies will certainly approach, and even exceed, the value of diamonds. As their size increases over a couple of carats Rubies start to get very rare. As such their value increases with size more quickly than that of other gemstones.
The history of Ruby mining dates back more than 2,500 years ago. The most beautiful crystals are thought to be from Burma, but quality Rubies are also found in India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Kenya, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States. Rubies can even be found in ancient literature. In Exodus (Ex. 28:17) the breastplate of the high priest held twleve precious stones, one of which was a sadius, the ancient word for ruby.
Rubies have a famous place in science - the first lasers were made from artificial ruby crystals. They still are used for this purpose although other materials offer improved efficiency. Some ruby crystals show the fluorescence (actually very short term phosphorescence) that makes a laser possible.
With its hardness and durability, it is a perfect engagement gem and if you were born in July and wear a ruby (or rubies) in July ancient lore has it that the Ruby will bring good fortune to you.
Birthstone jewelry, which tends to be affordable, generally uses either synthetic or treated rubies to improve their appearance and to keep costs down. Another way to get an affordable natural ruby is to go ruby hunting. In various places in the US, such as the ruby mine in Franklin, North Carolina, you can actually hunt for rubies and sapphires. While the rubies you find won't be high quality (unless you're really lucky) it's fun to search for them. You can then have a craftsman cut and set your gems into your own unique piece of ruby jewelry.