Many cultures consider certain gemstones to signify a given birth month or sign. Each of these cultures specifies a slightly different set of birthstones. However, most include Ruby as July’s Birthstone.
In a set of poems released by Tiffany & Co. in 1870, each month is matched with a gemstone. The poem for July reads:
“The glowing ruby shall adorn,
Those who in July are born;
Then they’ll be exempt and free
From love’s doubts and anxiety.”
The Ruby is considered to be very powerful. Its deep red color is said to represent power, love and friendship. Spiritually many cultures feel it has the power to bring out passion, ward off danger, aid in blood circulation, detoxification and making wise decisions. In some cultures it also represents peace and contentment. Traditionally Ruby represents a 40th wedding anniversary.
Ruby is a close relative of Sapphire, in the mineral family of corundum, or aluminum oxide. The red color of Rubies mainly comes from the element chromium as part of the compound. In fact, if a Ruby is too light of pink in color saturation it is then referred to as a Pink Sapphire. In the corundum family, red is only Ruby and all other colors of corundum are Sapphires.
Ruby is one of the hardest naturally occurring minerals on the planet at 9.0 on Mohs scale of hardness, just below Diamond. In 1903 Auguste Verneuil created a process to make synthetic Rubies in his lab using a flame fusion method. Synthetic Rubies are used in some industrial lasers and mechanisms in heavy wear applications, and now that they are more commonly produced in gemstone quality they are used in jewelry.
High gemstone quality Rubies are extremely rare in nature which is one reason why they are one of the main four most sought precious gemstones along with Sapphire, Emerald and Diamond. For thousands of years and across many cultures Rubies have signified royalty or extreme wealth and importance. What better gem to represent this social significance, considering Ruby is a beautiful rich color, next in hardness to Diamond and very sparkly.
It is nearly impossible to find a natural Ruby that is free of imperfections. Many consider these imperfections to be part of the beauty and proof that the gem is natural or its “finger print.” Because of this, there are several Ruby look-a-likes that have been mistaken for Rubies for ages. Only recently (about 200 years ago) was the relation between Sapphire and Ruby known. Many red Spinel and Garnet have been mistaken for Rubies and even many historic royal jewelry pieces actually contain these look-a-likes instead of the true corundum Rubies.
No other gemstone in history has been as symbolic as the Ruby, “king of gemstones.”