July’s Birthstone: Ruby | Madison Gems
For those fortunate with July birthdays, you’ve been royally graced with the birthstone Ruby. Ruby has been acclaimed as the king of precious gems and likewise, has been revered since ancient times. It’s symbolic for passion, protection, prosperity and the energy associated with the color red, which is said to bring love and success.
Accordingly, the name “Ruby” comes from the Latin word for red, rubeus. However, in ancient Sanskrit, the word ruby translated to ratnaraj, which meant “king of precious stones.” For that reason, these fiery gems have been treasured throughout history for their unequivocal vitality.
Colored by the element chromium, Ruby is a red variety of the mineral corundum. Nonetheless, all the other colors of gem-quality are however, called sapphire. Therefore, this means that color is clearly the key for this royal stone and harmoniously, the chromium that gives rubies its red color, in the same way, causes fluorescence. Thus, this makes rubies glow like a fire from within.
Ironically, chromium makes this gem scarce, because it can cause cracks and fissures. For that reason, few rubies grow large enough to crystallize into fine quality gems, as they can potentially be higher in price than diamonds. In fact, because of rubies toughness and durability, it measures 9 on the Mohs scale; therefore, diamonds are the only natural gemstone harder than a ruby. Successively, a Ruby’s strength and red fluorescence makes it valuable beyond jewelry. As a matter of fact, the first working laser was made from rubies in 1960. As well, they’re also used in watchmaking and for medical instruments.
Prized particularly in Asian countries, records suggest that rubies were traded along China’s North Silk Road as early as 200 B.C. As well, Chinese noblemen believed that rubies would grant them protection, so they adorned their armor with the gem. Similarly, they also buried rubies beneath building foundations to safeguard good fortune.
On the other hand, Hindus offered rubies to the god Krishna, as they believed they would be reborn as emperors. According to Hindu folklore, the glowing fire within a ruby burned so hot that they allegedly boiled water. Likewise, Greek legends also claimed that the ruby’s warmth could melt wax. Moreover, the gems deep red color has long been correlated with the life force and vitality of blood. That’s why, rubies are believed to amplify energy, heighten awareness, promote courage and bring success in wealth, love and battle.
The city Burma (currently known as Myanmar) has had a considerable ruby source since at least 600 AD. The warriors there believed that rubies made them invincible. As a result, they even implanted rubies into their skin in order to grant protection whenever they were in battle. Following this, in the 90s the Mong Hsu region of Myanmar began producing rubies after discovering that heat treatment improved the color saturation. Likewise, other ruby deposits exist in Vietnam, Thailand, India, parts of the Middle East, East Africa and even the United States.
Just like diamonds, rubies are evaluated using the 4Cs (Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight), size and geographic origin. However, the most important feature of a ruby is its red color. The finest ruby is a vibrant purplish-red and rubies of lesser value lean toward brown, orange or even pink. For instance, the World’s most expensive gemstone other than a diamond is The Sunrise Ruby and in 2015 a 25.6-carat Burmese Pigeon Blood Ruby was auctioned for nearly $30M, setting a new record price-per-carat.
Accordingly, if you’re purchasing a ruby for yourself or a loved one, it’s a great way to recognize and celebrate a July birthday, symbolize passion, protection and prosperity or salute a 15th or 40th wedding anniversary. Ultimately, you’re making an investment in something beautiful with symbolic attributes and the wearer gets to feel powerful emotions of love.
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