Ruby: The King of gemstones
July’s birthstone is the second strongest natural gemstone (after the diamond) - the ruby. This alluring, red coloured gemstone is also sometimes referred to as the “king of the gems”. The ruby takes its name from ruber, which means red in Latin.
This popular gemstone is coveted by many and is thought to be steeped in symbolism. You may already know that it is a well-known tradition to give a piece of ruby jewellery to celebrate a 40th wedding anniversary. They are also gifted sometimes as graduation presents as it is thought a ruby brings good luck and success to the recipient in their future career.
Symbolism and meaning
It has long been considered that rubies have the power to ward off evil and diseases. This beautiful, mystical gem is considered to be the stone of passion, energy, power and protection. It is believed that wearing a ruby on your left hand will enhance its powers as it is closer to the heart. For these reasons, along with their value and rarity, rubies have long been adored by royalty across the world.
How rubies are formed
Rubies are formed naturally within the earth under specific conditions. They are made when the red variety of the mineral corundum is exposed to heat and pressure under the earth's surface. It is the presence of chromium that gives the ruby its signature red hue. Rubies can be prevented from forming by the presence of silica or iron, it is for this reason and the fact that corundum is already difficult to find, that rubies are so rare.
Where they can be found
The Mogok Valley in Myanmar (Burma) was the world's leading source for rubies for many centuries. This region is said to have produced some of the finest rubies that have ever been mined, although recently only a few good quality gems have been found there. Historically rubies have been mined in many places such as Thailand, Brazil, Australia, India and Japan. Rubies are typically quite rare due to the way in which they are formed, large rubies are even more difficult to find and due to this, they can actually prove more expensive than a diamond of the same quality and size.
Celebrities born in July
Celebrities and royals have favoured rubies for many centuries and they are often seen showcased on the red carpet and at special events. There are many famous names that celebrate their birthday in July such as Tom Hanks, Margot Robbie, Liv Tyler and Tom Cruise, who also count the ruby as their birthstone. Many celebrities have been spotted wearing rubies recently, whether it is their birthstone or not. Fans of the beautiful gem include Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Heidi Klum to name a few.
Eva Longoria also owns an incredible ruby and diamond engagement ring that is certain to make you green with envy.
There are many noteworthy ruby pieces throughout history and many in particular can be found within the royal family. One of the most iconic pieces is possibly the Burmese Tiara. This stunning tiara is owned by Queen Elizabeth of the UK and was created by Garrard jewellers. This tiara includes rubies that were gifted to her for her marriage by the people of Burma. It features 96 rubies which, in Burmese culture, are believed to protect the wearer from the 96 diseases that can afflict people.
Another well-known piece is arguably the ruby and diamond necklace worn by Julia Roberts in the iconic movie Pretty Woman. Elizabeth Taylor was also known to be a fan of the red gem and had a few statement ruby pieces in her private collection.
Did you know?
- Rubies are found in many shades of red which range from rich darkish red to pinkish red.
- They are extremely strong and register as 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness.
- Rubies that are completely flawless are exceptionally rare. In fact almost all rubies are expected to have flaws.