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The July Birthstone
Let's face it. We are living in a superstitious world where everything that happens has a supernatural force behind it. Some people may call it fate, while others describe it as destiny. Whatever the case, humanity has always had strong connections to the spiritual world, as suggested by the birthstones worn by our ancestors since time immemorial.
Just like the twelve zodiac signs, each of these precious stones represents the twelve months of the year.
All birthstones have a unique meaning depending on your birth month and the color of the stone.
Here is a detailed description of July's birthstone, and a rundown on what you should expect from this powerful gemstone.
The birthstone of July is ruby and the secondary is onyx or turquoise
The stone is widely regarded as one of the most esteemed gemstones, thanks to its aesthetic appeal, exquisite shape, and exotic color. Moreover, it is renowned for its rarity, and hardness, second only to diamond (see our article on Mohs hardness). It comes in a crystal, flat tabular hexagonal shape that makes it suitable for various ornamental cuts. It is therefore not surprising that rubies command the highest value for any colored birthstones.
Known since ancient times as the King of Gemstones, ruby, from the corundum family, is widely regarded as the July birthstone, though this has not always been the case. Prior to 1912, when the Jewelers of America officially adopted ruby as the July birthstone, both onyx and turquoise were considered appropriate gemstones for this month. Before gemological instrumentation made the accurate identification of gemstones possible, spinel and rhodolite garnets, both of which also exhibit reddish hues, were mistaken for rubies. Today we have sophisticated methods of identifying true rubies, mainly due to their characteristic rutile needle inclusions, which can, in rare cases, form a spectacular six-pointed star called an asterism, clearly visible to the naked eye. Imagine the look on the birthday girl’s face when she opens a gem box to find such a treasure inside!
In ancient Asia, the natives described the stone as the ‘King of Precious Stones’ because of its unique features which led people to believe that the stone carried mystical powers. So strong was this belief that Burmese warriors claimed that wearing a ruby necklace into battle made one invincible. The ancient Hindus observed a spiritual connection between rubies and the root chakra, or Muladhara (represented by a deep red color) and believed that the gemstone could ward off negative energy, fight evil, enhance sexual drive, and treat inflammation. In practice, men and women would rub the July birthstone on their skin to improve physical and mental health.
In some parts of the world, the ruby signified peace, harmony, and power; while in others, rubies were a sign of good health, wealth, wisdom, and a happy love life. In the modern age, rubies are strongly associated with vitality, energy and physical strength.
Many people believe that if you wear the most prominent July birthstone, you are likely to restore some passion into your life.
July's birthstone, the ruby, derives its name from the Latin word ruber, which translates to red – the color of love and passion. Most rubies are dark red in color, with some variations ranging from pink to purple. Ruby is a crystalline variation of the mineral aluminium oxide found in the corundum family, along with sapphire and emerald. The July birthstone is endowed with its deep red color from the element chromium; the more chromium that is present, the deeper the tone of red.
Interestingly, the color of a particular ruby plays a significant role in determining its value.
In essence, the highest quality rubies have a vivid color saturation and boast of a deep red, slightly purplish shade, popularly known as ‘pigeon's blood’. Rubies with this coveted color profile have been found mainly in Myanmar and Thailand. The shade of the ruby must be neither too dark, nor too light to maintain its high quality. As the color changes in shade, the quality and the value of the ruby moves down the scale.
As siblings often do, rubies and sapphires can resemble each other; it is very easy to confuse pink sapphires for rubies. However, sapphires are cheaper and more easily available than rubies. Incidentally, the July birthstone is a lighter shade of red than garnet, the January birthstone.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects about rubies is their ability to absorb natural light and re-emit it after some time, causing a lustrous fluorescence that adds to the supernatural quality of the July birthstone.
Legend has it that the light was a sign of impending danger or bad luck, giving the wearer ample time to prepare for any eventuality. Most wearers of ruby ornaments today consider the glowing light from a ruby birthstone to signify the essence of life. It acts as a reminder to the bearer that they are full of energy and that they still have a lot to offer to the world around them.
In order to give you a good answer we categorized the rubies as listed below;
- Fracture filled rubies
- Heated only rubies
- Untreated rubies
The first category is the most affordable one and ranges from $20 - $60 per carat.
The second category consist of rubies which have been heat treated in a traditional way, that means no foreign substance has been added to the heating process or gemstone. This category cost between $700 and $8,000 per carat
The third category is the untreated one and as the name suggest, no treatment has been applied to the ruby at all. These are rare gemstones and often used as investment or collector items. The prices can range from $7,000 to $18,000 per carat
The prices above 2ct will grow exponentially. That means the ct price will easily double, triple or even more.
For an oval shaped ruby we would suggest a size range from 6.5-7 x 5-5.5mm which is around 1ct weight. The round shaped ruby should have about 6mm in diameter, this is also in the 1ct weight range. For the pear shaped ruby you can go for the 7 x 5mm range. The weight is again in the 1ct range.
As you already know, a July birthstone ruby is a priceless, precious gemstone of greater significance to you than all the other eleven birthstones. With this in mind, it is imperative to take care of your July birthstone so that it may offer you the energy, protection, love and passion you need to celebrate your birth month.
The good news is that the superficial, daily care of cleaning your July birthstone at home is a relatively simple process that involves immersion of the gemstone in warm, soapy water, then lightly scrubbing it with a soft brush, such as a toothbrush. If your July birthstone has had a particularly tough life and you want to give a spa treatment, ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe for untreated, heat-treated, and lattice diffusion treated stones. Warning: you should only use a damp cloth to clean fracture-filled, cavity-filled, and dyed gemstones!
Yes, prior to 1912, onyx and turquoise were considered birthstones for July, but there is no reason not to use them as secondary July birthstones today. Astrologically, onyx is the gemstone paired with the zodiac sign Leo (July 23 – August 23), while emerald, pearl, moonstone and ruby represent Cancer (June 22 – July 22). Why not honor a loved one’s birthday- or your own – by paying tribute to the universe with a piece of jewelry that features more than one July birthstone? The gift of a ruby and onyx bracelet, or a ruby and moonstone pendant would make anyone feel appreciated on their special day.
Since ancient times, rubies - thought to contain passion and energy – adorned the crowns of kings and queens, the breastplates and sword pommel’s of brave warriors and were, of course, featured in rings, pendants and earrings of all those who sought to amplify energy, heighten awareness, promote courage and bring success in wealth, love and battle. Rubies were even laid beneath the foundations of new buildings in ancient China in the belief that it would bring good luck and fortune.
Jewelry enthusiasts still trust that wearing July's birthstone bestows good fortune to the wearer.