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 was past.
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.