Ruby, the bold and beautiful July birthstone color, is truly iconic. The ancient Hindus called it "Rajnapura" meaning King of Gems. With its deep red color, it evokes love and passion. Ancient cultures believed its warmth and luminosity came from an inner flame, similar to the desires of the heart; making it a perfect gift for lovers since its discovery over 2,000 years ago.
Would Dorothy's slippers have been as powerful if they were lemon yellow? I think not. Nor would Snow White's lips against her white as snow skin have excited the imagination as much if they were petal pink. There is something mysteriously seductive about ruby red.
Ruby is One of Four Precious Gems
Rubies are part of the family of minerals called corundum, which encompasses all rubies and sapphires. Rubies are only separated from sapphires by color.
Ruby is one of the traditional rare stones know as cardinal gems, together with amethyst, sapphire, emerald, and diamond. Both the title, cardinal gems and the inclusion of amethyst due to finding large deposits around the world, fell out of favor over the years.
Today, rubies, diamond, emerald, and sapphire are what most people think of when they hear the words, precious gems.
In an area called the "Valley of Rubies" near Mogok, Burma, the earth is rich with the most beautiful red rubies. This area is the original source of rubies including the world's finest deep purple-red ones called "pigeon's blood" rubies.
Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and more recently, Kenya are sources for rubies. With any purchase of a gemstone, there are many things to consider, including mining practices in the source country. The conditions in Myanmar [Burma] are unsafe for the miners. Tiffany's and many other jewelers are committed to not purchasing Burmese rubies until conditions improve.
If looking to buy a Ruby for yourself or a loved one, choose from other sources where the rubies are just as gorgeous and do not bear the mark of human suffering. If you are lucky enough to have rubies as a family heirloom, you can wear them worry-free.
My dear friend Laura inherited her grandmother's ruby ring and earrings. Grandma Fran's birthday was in July. Her grandfather "Bud" was a New York Yankee who in the 1940s helped win 4 World Series! He had his "eye on the ball" when it came to giving delightful tokens of love. Birthdays, Valentines and their 40th anniversary were all celebrated with rubies.
Kate's sister Julie has rubies on her finger. A bright ruby hugs each side of the diamond in her engagement ring. Her husband Tony knew the power of rubies, everlasting love. They are also the perfect color stone to compliment Julie's fair complexion and red hair.
Rubies come in a wide range of quality. This piece is opaque and not gem quality. I designed this big beauty using a large cabochon cut ruby. It is from India and galaxies away from the two beauties above in quality. However, it is a fun everyday ring at an affordable price and I feel like a queen anytime I wear this king of a gem.
See the Other Eleven Birthstone Colors
When I wanted to explore birthstone color, I knew just who to call on to write these articles -- Kimberlin Brown. an amazing jeweler who is inspired by the beauty of flora, fauna and the ocean's seascapes. All of her collections are created by hand in her New York City studio. Take a moment to pop over to her website to see her latest work -- kimberlinbrownjewelry.com. Kimberlin shaped the articles and I added my color expertise. We hope you enjoy the results.
Feature Image Credit: Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com [CC-BY-SA-3.0]
Just thought you might like to know… Emerald is a member of the Beryl Family, not the Corundum Family. I love the article – you obviously have a passion for color – the top graphic is fun!
You’re right, Robyn, thank you! I made that correction.