Traditionally, each month is accompanied with a certain gemstone. However, there are months that are associated with more than one birthstones. Today’s birthstone association differs from the one that existed in ancient times. For ancient people, colour was the most important feature of a gemstone.
July Birthstone – Ruby
Ruby is the birthstone of July. Ruby is among the most desired of gems. This gem was considered the “king of gems” in ancient India. Nowadays, you can find Ruby with the highest per-carat price among all other colored stones.
The name “ruby” comes from “rubeus,” which means “red” in Latin. In ancient Sanskrit, Ruby was translated to “ratnaraj,” which meant “king of precious stones.” Ruby has been treasured throughout history for its vitality.
Ruby symbolizes love, passion, courage, and emotion. A fine red Ruby was believed to bring good fortune to its owner. For ages, emperors and kings had them as prized possessions. Ruby hasn’t lost its value even today.
The colour is the most important feature of Rubies. You can find them in a range of red hues from purplish and bluish red to orange-red. The brightest and most valuable colour of Rubies is often “a Burmese Ruby.” This indicates it’s a rich, passionate, hot, full red colour with a slight blue hue. This colour is also called “Pigeon Blood” red, a Ruby colour only associated with the Mogok Valley mines in Myanmar. The color Pigeon Blood Ruby red doesn’t have to do with the colour of a pigeon’s blood: it’s associated with the colour of a white pigeon’s eye.
Below you can read the most important properties and facts about Ruby.
- Ruby as a Gem
Ruby is a variety of the mineral corundum that contains trace amounts of chromium. The latter is responsible for the gem’s colour. If the gem has a strong red colour, this means it contains more chromium. All other colors of gem-quality corundum are known as “Sapphire.”
Chromium can also result in red fluorescence, which makes the gems’ colour even more intense. There are Rubies that form in marble when heat and pressure act on minerals in limestone. These Rubies are, as a rule, highly prized, as they come with a higher concentration of chromium and little iron, which causes a bright red colour. They’re also highly fluorescent. Some Rubies are found in basalt. The latter forms when molten lava cools and solidifies. Basalt-hosted Rubies typically come with much more iron as compared to marble-hosted Rubies, so they have a darker colour.
Since Ruby has the colour of blood, ancient people believed the gem could be used against hemorrhaging. Moreover, they believed Ruby could cure inflammatory diseases and soothe anger.
Burmese warriors believed if they wore Rubies, nobody could defeat them in battles.
According to medieval Europeans, Rubies could bring health, wisdom, wealth, and success in love. Ruby isn’t only the July birthstone; it’s traditionally given for the 15thand 40th wedding anniversaries.
Rubies have been highly prized in Asian countries. Based on records, Rubies were traded along China’s North Silk Road as early as 200 B.C. Chinese noblemen decorated their armor with Rubies because they believed the gem would protect them. What is more, they buried Rubies under buildings as they believed they’d be granted good fortune.
Ancient Hindus believed they’d be reborn as emperors if they offered Rubies to the god Krishna. According to Hindu folklore, the glowing fire within Rubies burnt so hot that they could boil water.
In Greek legends, Ruby’s warmth could melt wax.
- Where Does Rubies Come from?
For more than 5 centuries, the area called Mogok (in Myanmar) has been the producer of the finest Rubies. The region is famous for weathered marble and ancient Buddhist temples.
Vietnam is another important place for marble-hosted Rubies. The region called Luc Yen produces Rubies of red to purplish red colour.
Mozambique is an important amphibole-related source for Rubies these days.
For many years in the late 1900s, the marketplace boasted Rubies from the basalt-related Ruby deposits along the border between Thailand and Cambodia.
Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Madagascar are also considered important producers of Ruby.
- Properties of Ruby
Like Diamonds, Rubies are evaluated based on the 4Cs, as well as size and geographic origin. The red colour is the most important feature of a Ruby, as other hues of Ruby species are considered Sapphire. Rubies should also have good transparency. Rubies that aren’t transparent are much less valuable, even if they display a cat’s eye or asterism.
All natural Rubies come with some imperfections, like rutile inclusions called “silk.” These can cause the value of the gem to increase (when they show a rare cat’s eye or star effect) and are often used to figure out gem’s authenticity.
The Sunrise Ruby is considered the world’s most expensive gemstone other than a Diamond. A 25.6-carat Burmese Pigeon Blood Ruby set between 2 diamonds weighing 2.5 and 2.7 carats respectively was sold at auction in 2015 for nearly $30 million. This was a new record of price-per-carat.
Rubies with a lower quality are heat treated to improve colour saturation and reduce the number of inclusions. These are more affordable.
So, what about the 4Cs?
- Colour – Colour is the most important feature of Rubies. The finest Rubies come with a pure, vibrant red to slightly purplish red colour. A colour that’s too orangey or too purplish isn’t considered that much desirable. Rubies with the highest quality have vivid colour saturation that isn’t extremely dark.
- Clarity – Rubies without any inclusions are rarely found. The value of the stone can change based on the visibility of inclusions. Inclusions that can easily be detected or those that make the gem less transparent or bright can lower Ruby’s value.
- Cut – Ruby’s crystal shape makes it suitable for certain cuts. Ruby crystals often feature a flat tabular hexagonal shape, but crystals from some sources may have an elongated shape.
- Carat Weight – You can find Rubies in a wide range of sizes. However, fine-quality Rubies over a carat aren’t widespread and are too expensive.
- Care for Rubies
Warm soapy water won’t damage Rubies. Don’t forget to find out if your Ruby has been treated before you buy it. According to the Federal Trade Commission, treatments that affect a gemstone’s perceived value must be disclosed. A GIA Identification Report will tell you if a stone is natural or synthetic and whether it has been treated this or that way.
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What is your birthstone? What’s the most important feature of your birthstone? Feel free to share your comments below.