When it comes to birthstones, each month has its own unique gemstone associated with it. For those born in July, the birthstone is the stunning ruby. Known for its vibrant red color and rich history, the ruby is a gemstone that has captivated people for centuries.
What is a Ruby?
A ruby is a precious gemstone that belongs to the corundum mineral family. It is composed of aluminum oxide with traces of chromium, which gives it its distinctive red color. Rubies are one of the hardest gemstones, second only to diamonds, making them highly durable and perfect for everyday wear.
Symbolism and Meaning
Rubies have long been associated with power, passion, and protection. In ancient times, they were believed to possess magical properties and were worn by warriors to bring them strength and courage in battle. Today, rubies are often seen as a symbol of love and devotion, making them a popular choice for engagement rings and anniversary gifts.
The Four Cs of Rubies
Similar to diamonds, rubies are also graded based on the four Cs: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.
Color: The most important factor in determining the value of a ruby is its color. The finest rubies are a deep, vibrant red known as "pigeon's blood" red. The presence of any secondary hues, such as purple or orange, can significantly affect the value of the stone.
Clarity: Rubies, like most gemstones, can have natural inclusions. However, unlike diamonds, these inclusions are often accepted and even expected in rubies. In fact, inclusions can sometimes enhance the beauty and character of a ruby.
Cut: The cut of a ruby refers to its shape and faceting. A well-cut ruby will maximize its brilliance and color, enhancing its overall beauty.
Carat Weight: Rubies are measured in carats, with larger stones being rarer and more valuable. However, the value of a ruby is not solely determined by its size, but also by its color and quality.
Where are Rubies Found?
Rubies are found in various parts of the world, including Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Mozambique. Each location produces rubies with slightly different characteristics, such as color and clarity. Myanmar is particularly renowned for its exceptional rubies, known for their intense red color.
Caring for Rubies
To keep your ruby looking its best, it's important to take proper care of it. Here are a few tips:
- Avoid exposing your ruby to harsh chemicals or extreme temperatures.
- Clean your ruby regularly using mild soap and warm water. You can also use a soft brush to remove any dirt or debris.
- Store your ruby separately from other gemstones to prevent scratches.
- Have your ruby professionally inspected and cleaned every few years to maintain its beauty.
As the birthstone for July, the ruby is a gemstone that exudes beauty, passion, and power. Whether you're celebrating a July birthday or simply drawn to its mesmerizing red hue, a ruby is a timeless and meaningful choice. With proper care, your ruby will continue to shine brightly for generations to come.