Birthstone Series: July’s Ruby

This post is the first of a series of twelve discussing the creation and meaning of the different birthstones. The concept of birthstones dates to the Breastplate of Aaron described in the Bible. The breastplate was a ceremonial religious piece of armor set with twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel and corresponding with the twelve months of the year.

Where Do Rubies Come From?
The gem’s name has some interesting meanings in different languages. Ruby’s name comes from the Latin word “ruber,” which means “red”. The Sanskrit word for Ruby is Ratnaraj, which translates to “king of gems”. The mineral that makes up rubies is called Corundum. Trace minerals found in the gems’ crystal structure are responsible for the variations in color. The trace mineral that gives ruby its deep red color is chromium.

Throughout the course of history, the ruby became one of the most sought-after gems of the upper classes in the Western world. Today, the mineral is still very admired, often commanding the highest per-carat price of all colored gems.

Ruby Meanings
Ruby is the birthstone of Leo and Cancer babies born in July. A common thing the gem is known for is being the gift that is given on 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries. For this reason, rubies are seen as symbols of eternal love. Because of their color, they are also said to have a fire within them. A great deal of mysticism surrounds all of the birthstones. The ruby is no exception. Rubies were thought to give special powers to the wearer and bring good fortune. For example, if one wanted to be reborn as an emperor in Ancient Hindu society, one would offer rubies to the god Krishna.

How Can You Wear Ruby Gems?
Depending on the kind of ruby you’re sporting, the fashionable way to wear it may differ. Rubies that come from marble have a brighter color and are more desirable. They’re brighter because the marble they come from has less iron in it. On the flip side, rubies found in basalt rocks have more iron in them, which results in a darker gem.

Lighter rubies should be worn in isolation because they make a bolder statement. Wear anything more than neutral jewelry with a light ruby and you risk overdoing it. Of course, if you’re willing to experiment with different gems, you might discover a killer combination. Think of light rubies as statement pieces. They are like flaming accents to an outfit. They are perfect for a romantic occasion or for a day in the sun.

Inspired by history and fantastic story of the ruby’s creation? At Joseph Gann Jewelers, we understand the importance and value of the ruby. We feature a beautiful collection of ruby jewelry at our store in Boston, Massachusetts. Have questions? Feel free to stop by our store or contact us here. We’d love to chat and answer any questions you might have.