It doesn’t matter if your astrological sign is Cancer or Leo, if your birthday is in July, then you share the same birthstone…a red ruby. Known as the “King of Gemstones”, the ruby is not only stunningly beautiful but also symbolizes romance, prosperity, generosity and devotion.

Le Vian “Fiery Red” 14k Rose Gold Ruby and Diamond Fashion Ring RURG03409 $999

What is ruby?

Ruby is the most valuable variety of the corundum mineral species, which also includes sapphire. In its purest form, the mineral corundum is colorless. Trace elements that become part of the mineral’s crystal structure cause variations in its color. Chromium is the trace element that causes ruby’s red, which ranges from an orangy red to a purplish red. The strength of ruby’s red depends on how much chromium is present—the more chromium, the stronger the red color. Chromium can also cause fluorescence, which adds to the intensity of the red color. (www.gia.com)

Ruby Crystals. The ruby crystals on display – each still in its marble matrix – originate from the famous mines of Myanmar’s Mogok Valley, the first known source for fine rubies. Rubies are in such high demand for finished jewelry pieces, it is rare to find high quality specimens, such as this one, intact. www.gia.edu

Where are Rubies Found?

Rubies are found in many places including Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Vietnam, Mozambique, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Tanzania

Rubies from Lukande, near Mahenge. Click on the photo for a larger image. Photo © Richard W. Hughes

Ruby History

Rubies have been used through out the ages to mark special moments.  For example, rubies have a long history in England of being used in royalty coronation rings.  Romans would also wear them into battle for protection. In Japan, the ruby is worn to insure lifelong health, increase energy and overcome exhaustion. Some even believe they have a calming effect and can help prevent nightmares and feelings of panic.

Celebrities and Rubies

Why not match your jewelry to that red carpet?! The beauty of rubies is not lost on todays celebrities. Many an A-lister has been seen sporting these firey gems – even as engagement rings!

Speaking of celebrity rubies, does anyone else’s mind wander here when you think ruby?

Dorothy’s slippers were actually made with sequins.

MGM used sequins on the shoes used for movie production. However, to celebrate the movie’s golden anniversary, Ronald Winston of the House of Harry Winston recreated the slippers with real rubies, 1,350 carats of it from 4,600 pieces, to be exact.  He also added 50 carats of diamonds for good measure. The shoes took two months to finish, and when it was finally done, the result was just over the rainbow.  Only the movie’s lead star, Judy Garland, has gotten the honor of wearing the most expensive pair of shoes in the world. www.therichest.com

Anyway, we digress. Back to jewelry!

How to Buy a Ruby

Like diamonds, rubies are evaluated using the 4Cs. The most important feature of a ruby is its red color, as other hues of this gem species are considered sapphire. The finest ruby is a vibrant purplish red, losing value (and classification as a ruby) as it leans toward brown, orange or even pink.

Rubies also require good transparency. Opaque rubies are much less valuable, even if they display cat’s eye or asterism.

Lower quality rubies are heat treated to improve color saturation and minimize inclusions, making these varieties more affordable. www.americangemsociety.org

A Sotheby’s employee poses with ‘The Sunrise Ruby,’ a rare Burmese ruby weighing 25.59 carats in London. The stone set a new world record for any ruby after it was sold for 28.25 million Swiss francs ($30.42 million) in Geneva. | AFP-JIJI

How to Care for Ruby Jewelry

Corundum (ruby and sapphire) is relatively hard – 9 on the Mohs scale. It has excellent toughness and no cleavage (tendency to break when struck). This makes it a great choice for rings and other mountings subject to daily wear.

Bremer Jewelry “BeColorful” 14k White Gold Ruby and Diamond Necklace RUPE02507 $1,375

Warm soapy water is always safe. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe for untreated, heat-treated, and lattice diffusion treated stones. Fracture-filled, cavity-filled, or dyed material should only be cleaned with a damp cloth.

Let Bremer Jewelry inspect your ruby for FREE to find out if the rubies are safe for ultrasonic or steam cleaning!

Le Vian “Fiery Red” 14k Rose Gold Ruby and Diamond Necklace RUPE02482 $899

And if rubies aren’t really your thing, we have other fun red items that can be used as birthstone stand-ins:

 PDGL01367 $45

For the PANDORA lover in your life, this Murano glass charm shines bright like a ruby! | PDGL01367 $45

Give your July man a red-faced Shinola for his birthday to represent the ruby color. Coming August 2017!

 

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