Ruby is the July birthstone – and it’s one of the most coveted of gems. The name is derived from the Latin word ruber, meaning “red” – the color of love and passion. The deep red with a hint of purple, is called “pigeon’s blood” in the trade- a color that comes from trace amounts of the element chromium within the stone. The more chromium, the stronger the red.
Rubies are a variety of the mineral corundum, specifically the RED variety- all other colors of corundum, including colorless, are called sapphires. Scientifically speaking, rubies and sapphires are the same mineral (corundum), they just differ in color.
Long associated with the life force blood, rubies have often been seen as a symbol of power. It has also been claimed to help inflammatory diseases, sooth anger, increase health & wisdom, and success in love. In addition to being the July birthstone, ruby is traditionally given for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.
For many years in the late 1900s, the ruby deposits along the border between Thailand and Cambodia were the major source of rubies in the marketplace. Other important producers of the July birthstone include Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar.
Hardness: 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness
Care: Rubies can be safely cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft brush, or with ultrasonic and steam cleaners.