July Birthstone Ruby

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Ruby lore says this gemstone protected wearers against disaster and brought love, courage, and wealth. The fiery ruby is one of the world’s rarest gems.

The passionately red ruby is naturally associated with love, fire, and power. Ruby has been a precious gemstone for thousands of years, worn by kings and emperors and used to treat disease and ward against danger. Rubies are prized in jewelry for their hardness, rarity, and their deep red color. They are often given as a token of passionate love and are one of the most popular alternatives to diamonds in engagement rings and other jewelry.

Red Ruby

The ruby is prized for its vibrant red color, its rarity, and its hardness – 9 on the Mohs scale, almost as hard as diamond. Ruby is the red form of the mineral corundum, the same alumina (aluminum oxide) crystal that makes up blue sapphires.

The name ruby is derived from “ruber,” the Latin word for red. Rubies are valued first for their depth of color, and then for their clarity. Most untreated rubies possess some slight inclusions in the form of delicate rutile needles, called “silk.” Rutile is a mineral that occurs within many other rocks and gemstones, also named for its color, which is usually red.

Rubies in History and Myth

Ruby has a long and honored history as a gemstone of rulers, warriors, and lovers. It was worn by rulers, including in the traditional coronation rings of the Kings and Queens of England, and was used finely ground as a medicine to treat blood diseases and indigestion. Ruby was said to bring valor in battle and was often worn as a talisman to protect against danger.

India has an ancient tradition of gemstone lore, and Indian texts call the ruby “ratnaraj,” the king of gemstones. Rubies were used in India and China to decorate armor, swords and scabbards, and were laid in the foundation under buildings to provide good luck. When an especially large ruby was found, Indian rulers sent emissaries to “greet” the beautiful gemstone.

Ruby is the most commonly occurring gemstone in modern English translations of the Bible, repeatedly highlighting the stone’s value. Today, the Ruby is traditionally associated with the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.

Magical Significance and Powers of the Ruby

Like most gemstones, rubies have been attributed with a long list of healing and magical powers. Rubies are said to:

  • bring empowerment
  • enhance love and passion
  • open the base or root chakra, allowing kundalini energy to flow through the body
  • give courage and endurance
  • shield and protect the wearer against troubles
  • bring wealth and good luck

Ruby Gemstones in Jewelry

Rubies make beautiful necklaces, pendants, bracelets, and earrings, and they are often found in fashion and engagement rings. Unlike diamonds, which speak of true, pure love, rubies proclaim their love with the red of fire and blood. A gift of rubies speaks of warm, passionate feelings.

The most valuable rubies are those with the darkest red color. Called “Burmese rubies,” these gemstones may or may not be Burmese in origin. The color is also called “pigeon blood red.”

It has been possible to manufacture synthetic rubies since 1902, in a reaction called the Verneuil process. Only experts can tell the difference between natural rubies and manmade, but the naturally occurring gemstones are, of course, more valuable. They are mined in Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan, Tashmir, Laos, Nepal, Tadzhikistan, India, Afghanistan, Kenya and Tanzania.


  • Friedman, Hershel, “Ruby,” Minerals. net, 2000.
  • Gemnation Corp., “Ruby History,” Gemnation.com, 2009.
  • ICA, “Ruby,” Gemstone.org, 2009.

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