Ruby Is July's Birthstone
By Sam Serio
If you're still young enough to remember your birthday,
you probably also remember the special birthstone assigned to it. But at your age, we bet
you don't really know the SIGNIFICANCE of your birthstone and what power the ancients felt
would be bestowed about you by wearing it.
July's Birthstone: Ruby
Birthstone Properties: Fire and emotion
Alternative Birthstone: Sapphire
Ruby is the birthstone for July and also the anniversary
gemstone for the 15th and 40th years of marriage. The history of ruby mining dates back
more than 2,500 years ago, and today the coveted gemstone is found in Burma, Thailand,
Kenya, Tanzania, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Cambodia, Kenya, Tanzania, Afghanistan,
Pakistan, and the United States.
Called the "Lord of Gems" by ancient Hindus,
rubies are one of the most highly prized gems throughout history. The fiery glow of rubies
is said to come from the gemstone's internal and eternal flame.
For this reason, the gift of a ruby is a symbol of
everlasting love. If worn on the left hand, ancient lore has it that the Ruby will bring
good fortune. It is a perfect engagement ring gemstone and a popular alternative to or
addition to diamond engagement bands.
Hard, but Soft The word ruby comes from the Latin
"ruber," meaning red. It is a variety of the mineral Corundum that is called
sapphire when it is any color except red
only when it is red does it earn the
designation of "ruby."
But that's not to say that there's only one
"red" for rubies. Rubies range in hue from an orangey red to a purplish red,
although the most treasured rubies are still true red in color.
The ruby is a very durable gemstone, surpassed in hardness
only by diamonds. But despite its hard nature, it has a soft side. According to legend,
you should never make faces at a ruby in a museum or ignore it because it will grow dull
if slighted or not worn or seen.
Deliver Me From Evil
Royalty chose rubies as a powerful talisman that could
help protect them against evil by anticipating its arrival. Monarchs thought that rubies
would darken when peril was danger, and then return to its original color once the threat
In an interesting way, rubies had their own built-in
anti-theft device: it was believed that in order for rubies to act for good, it was
believed that they had to be in the hands of their rightful owner.
A Ruby By Any Other Name
Gemstones that are not rubies are also called rubies. The
Balas Ruby is a type of spinel (a hard glassy mineral). Bohemian Rubies are derived from
rose quartz, and Siberian "rubies" are really red or pink tourmaline. In the
United States, the American, Cape, Montana, and Rocky Mountain "rubies" are
really different varieties of garnet.