July 12, 2016
Each month of the year traditionally has a gemstone associated with it, this custom started in ancient times but the canonical version we know today was set down in 1912. For those born in July, your birthstone is Ruby!
Rubies have frequently been associated with passion and love, their glowing colours representing the flame of the heart. They are particularly associated with close, committed and faithful love making it very appropriate as the stone for a 40th anniversary. These traditions are shown in the Gregorian poem:
The glowing ruby shall adorn, Those who in July are born; Then they’ll be exempt and free From love’s doubts and anxiety.
Ruby is named after the Latin word "ruber" for red. Despite the idiom ‘ruby-red’, rubies tend to be more pink than garnets but they can vary in colour from quite clear to very red or 'pigeon's blood red'. All other colour varieties of ruby are in fact sapphires; both gems are varieties of corundum. Until 1800 when gemstone testing become more advanced, many red and pink stones were referred to as rubies whether they were red Spinels, pink Tourmalines or even Garnets so historical references to rubies may not be what you think!
Our 9ct Gold Spiral Necklace set with a pinkish-red ruby.
In contrast to its silky shine, corundum (ruby and sapphire) is the second hardest gemstone on the Mohs scale after diamond. Rubies and sapphires have a hardness of 9 after diamond's 10 which makes them suitably durable for everyday wear. This hardness combined with their sumptuous colouring makes rubies one of the four stones still listed as 'precious' along with diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. In fact, large rubies are rarer than comparable diamonds.
One of our bespoke designs: an 18ct gold band set with diamonds and rubies.
Many of the earliest myths and legends about rubies originate from India where the stones have been mined for well over 2000 years. The ancient Hindus named the red stone "Rajnapura" or King of Gems. Ruby jewellery was supposed to bring health, wealth and fortune to the wear and darker stones were considered appropriate for men to wear while the lighter hues were set in women's jewellery. Rubies were arranged according to classes which were kept distinct as it was believed that the lower classes of stones could contaminate the more valuable.
The Patiala State Necklace containing the worlds seventh largest diamond and a number of Burmese rubies.
Many of the most famous rubies are mesmerising star rubies. Natural rubies will always have a certain number of imperfections or inclusions in them. This is one of the aspects that distinguish the natural stone from synthetic varieties and some of these inclusions can actually increase the value and rarity of the stone. Oriented rutile crystal inclusions occuring in a stone cut en cabochon can cause a chatoyancy or "cat's eye" effect or even a six-rayed star called asterism which causes a star to shimmer across the surface of the stone when it is moved. The largest star ruby is the Neelanjali Star Ruby which weighs 1,370 carats and has a very rare double star asterism but sadly no images are available for this record breaking gemstone.
One of the most famous star rubies is the Delong Star Ruby which is currently at the Natural History Museum in New York City. It is named after its previous owner Mrs Edith Haggin de Long who purchased the gem in 1937. The Delong Star ruby has a 6-rayed star, a deep purplish red colour and originated from Burma. It hit the news again in the 1960s when it was stolen by the jewel thief Jack Murphy, Murph the Surf and his accomplices. It was recovered when the ransom was paid and the ruby was left in a phone booth in Florida.
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