The Ruby Birthstone

The Ruby Birthstone

Ruby is the birthstone for July, and the traditional gift for celebrating 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries and birthdays. Its name comes from “rubens”, the Latin word for red. Rubies have been associated with good fortune, passion and love, the sun, freedom and power. In Sanskrit, ruby is “ratnaraj”, meaning “King of Gems”. It is believed that rubies worn close to the heart can increase energy levels and bring the wearer health, wealth, wisdom and love.


Fine quality rubies are quite rare, and can be very, very expensive. Top quality rubies can even be more expensive than diamonds! The largest and most expensive diamonds may sell for upwards of $100,000/carat, but Sothebys sold a ruby in 1988 for more than $200,000/carat at auction! Mineralogically, rubies are a type of corundum and are chemically identical to sapphire except that rubies get their red colour from the presence of Chromium ions in their crystal structures. The less iron present in the earth where rubies form, the brighter and more fluorescent a ruby is. The most valuable colour of ruby is “pigeon blood” red. Most of the rubies we get at studio1098 are from Sri Lanka or Southeast Asia. The Mogok region of Burma/Myanmar is famous for its rubies as well, and these are some of the finest in the world.

Ruby Birthstone

With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs’ scale of hardness, rubies are relatively durable. They are also relatively tough and easy to keep clean. While a ruby worn every day for years is likely to show some wear and tear, rubies and sapphires are among the few gemstones suitable for use in engagement rings.Most rubies are heat treated. Heat treatment is generally not detectable, and the treatment is stable, so much so that heat treatment is not among the treatments for ruby that have to be disclosed. Gemmologists watch out for other ruby treatments like oiling, laser-filling, dyes, beryllium diffusion and other artificial colour or clarity enhancers. Red spinel, garnets and coloured glass are sometimes passed off as ruby, though they are easily separated using simple gemmological testing.We also have to keep a sharp eye out for synthetics. The first artificial rubies were created in 1837, and synthetic rubies were widely available by the early 1900’s, so the age of a piece of jewellery is no guarantee of its authenticity. That having been said, synthetic rubies can be an affordable alternative to the real thing.


Contact us to help you create your unique ruby birthstone engagement ring, necklace or other unique birthstone jewellery piece

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