Birthstone for July – Ruby

Ruby, July Birthtone
Ruby, a symbol of power and wealth

Birthstone for July – Ruby. Ruby gemstone is the birthstone for July, and is considered symbolic of harmony, peace and nobility.

There is a Gregorian poem for the July birthstone, you can find it here. These little poems are instantly downloadable after payment and are ready to print and frame, They make a great extra birthday or holiday gift.

If you are thinking about buying a ruby, please read this article first to help you make a wise purchase.

The ruby, as with most gemstones, gains value depending on its size, color, and clarity, much of which is determined by the skill of the stone cutter.

The ruby is also a good durable stone for everyday wear, and will not scratch or crack as easily as some other colored gemstones, it rates a 9 on the Moh’s scale, with diamond being the hardest at 10.

Real or Synthetic (Lab Grown)?

There are both real rubies and synthetic or lab grown rubies available in the marketplace. Real rubies are rarer and usually much more expensive. They also will often have inclusions or imperfections within the stone.

It is also common for such stones to be ‘filled’ generally with glass or plastic to cover undesirable imperfections and improve the outward appearance of the finished stone, (this is also true for emeralds).

Large natural ruby crystal
Large natural ruby crystal

Rubies as with most gemstones nowadays are often heat treated to enhance both their appearance and/or color

While many of the rubies found in lower end jewelry are often synthetic, or “lab grown”. There is nothing wrong with this so long as you are made aware before you purchase.

There are synthetic rubies on the market which have been produced from as early as the mid 1800’s, so buying an antique ruby does not mean it is a natural ruby..

However since the physical, optical and chemical makeup of lab grown rubies are essentially the same as a natural ruby – they are no less appealing to the eye, just more affordable.

When buying a ruby, it is ultimately down to personal preference, and how much you can afford to pay for your ruby, the jeweler should also disclose whether your stone of preference is natural of lab grown.

What are Star Rubies?

This is a phenomenon called ‘asterism’ and occurs in stones that are cut encabochon – a smooth rounded stone, rather than faceted. It looks like a star in the stone. In a good quality stone the star should appear unbroken and centered.

Star Ruby
Example of a Star ruby

If you are in a jewelry store, ask to have a look at the stone through a jewelers loupe, you may be able to see inclusions such as rutile needles, more commonly referred to as silk. These are not always a bad thing since they create the star ruby, or cat’s eye, both of which are caused by the formation of silk.

Rubies are mined in various places but probably the best known are from Thailand or Burma. Thai rubies can vary tremendously in hue and tone, going from a light to a dark red varying degrees of a bluish undertone, giving them a purplish cast and making them look like the much cheaper reddish purple gemstone, the garnet.

While some Thai rubies can have very fine color rivaling the Burmese (these are among the most expensive), most Thai stones fetch much less money than the Burmese, primarily because the color can’t compare.

Ceylon, rubies are also encountered with relative frequency. However, these are usually so pale that in the United States they would be called “pink sapphire” rather than ruby since the tone is consistently so light. The saturation of color is too weak to be technically be described as ruby.

These rubies are in the Smithsonian Museum and originate from Cullinan, South Africa

In the United States, the color must be deep enough to be considered red to be called “ruby” while in other parts of the world, the name “ruby” may be applied if the stone falls anywhere in the pink to red range.

Ruby Folklore and Myths

Rubies have long since been associated with power and wealth, and the protection of, which maybe why in many cultures they were considered a stone of Kings, it became one of the most sought after gems of European Royalty and upper classes.

The rubies powers were also believed to extend to personal protection if a stone was worn on the left side (heart), allowing the wearer to live peacefully and guaranteed health, wealth, wisdom and success in love.

Hindus often leave gems and jewelry as a ceremonial offering, ancient Hindus believed that those who offered fine rubies to the god Krishna, would be granted rebirth as emperors

Some Famous Rubies

The Liberty Bell Ruby
The Liberty Bell Ruby

The Liberty Bell Ruby was actually sculpted from the worlds largest mined ruby which was discovered in East Africa in the 1950’s.

It is eight and a half thousand carats and weighs around 4 pounds set with 50 diamonds..

This beautiful sculpture was stolen in 2011, and although arrests were made, police have little hope of ever recovering it.

Ruby- July Birthstone
Black Prince’s Ruby



The Imperial State Crown pictured right, is part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

Known as Black Princes ruby, this is actually a red spinel cabochon and not a ruby at all. It sits just above the Cullinan II diamond on the front of the crown.

This spinel is one of the oldest parts of the crown jewels dating back to the 14th century.  Back then all red gemstones were referred to as rubies or “balas rubies”. This spinel is the biggest uncut spinel in the world.

It was not until the 17th century that it was discovered the chemical composition of spinels differed from that of ruby (corundum).

Further information on the rubies can be found on Wikipedia.