The birthstone for July is the ruby. The ruby is commonly considered the “king” of gemstones and is believed to carry good fortune.
Rubies come from the mineral, corundum – which also forms sapphires. The difference is their color. The name “Ruby” comes from the Latin word “ruber” which means “red” representing the vibrant color of the gemstone.
The July birthstone color is red. Rubies range from a light pink to deep crimson in color, depending on where they are mined.
Corundum comes in blue and red varieties; the red variety is considered a ruby, the blue – a sapphire. Since corundum comes in all different colors of the rainbow, ones that have too much purple, pink, or other colors that overpower the red, are not considered rubies.
Ruby can be found in many different countries; Burma, Sri Lanka, United States, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Australia, India, Brazil, and Cambodia.
The finest rubies are found in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and Thailand. Myanmar rubies have a red color that is commonly described as “pigeon’s blood.” Thailand rubies have a deeper, more burgundy-red color.
The world’s largest ruby is the 125 West Ruby which weighs 8.2 pounds or 18,696 carats and is certified by the Gemological Institute of America. There is also another July birth stone that is not certified yet, but is reported to have been found in Myanmar and weighs 21,450 carats.
The Chaiyo Ruby is another July birthstone that could be the largest ruby found, but there are claims that it is fake. It weighs 109,000 carats but is believed to have been manufactured by the Burmese.
In ancient times, ruby was used to fight infectious diseases, encourage blood flow, and treat fevers. The July birthstone used to be worn because its vibrant color, red, was believed to resemble blood that runs through veins and hold the power of life.
The July birthstone is also believed to balance the heart, encourage passion, and helps to retain wealth.
Corundum, the mineral that forms the July birthstone, is harder than any other gemstone except diamonds. The ruby is a 9 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness and can only be damaged or scratched by something harder than it. The only gemstone that ranks higher on the Mohs Scale of Hardness is the diamond, at a 10.
The ruby is an extremely valuable gemstone. The color and appearance of the ruby is what determines a majority of its value. Jewelers also look at the measurements and carat weight, shape, and clarity in order to decide how valuable a ruby gemstone is.
The most ideal and valuable ruby has a clear, bright, and vibrant red to very slightly purple-red color.
Gemstones that have been treated to enhance their clarity or color are less valuable than those that are completely natural.
The July birthstone is very durable so it can withstand normal wearing conditions. Ruby is a great stone to put in rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces for everyday wear because it is easy to clean and less likely to break than other gemstones.
Jewelry containing the July birthstone can be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner using the proper solution. Heat treated rubies are safe to put into ultrasonic cleaners because they won’t reverse any treatment or damage the gemstone. Due to the heat and vibration that these types of cleaners use, if the ruby is fracture-filled, it should only be cleaned with a damp cloth.
Fracture-filling is a process where a transparent material like oil, wax, or glass, is put into deep crevices or scratches on a gemstone that interrupt with the way the light passes through it. The scratches may deflect the light and make the stone appear more dull.
Rubies are also able to endure contact with high temperatures and common chemicals as long as they are not fracture-filled or dyed.