What you Need to Know about Rubies - The July Birthstone
Everyone knows what a ruby is- that breathtakingly crimson precious stone that sparkles like a diamond! Rubies have been used in jewelry pieces for thousands of years due to their rare and strikingly beautiful nature. Rubies also happen to be the month of July’s birthstone!
Each month of the year has a corresponding precious stone. For example: January’s birthstone is garnet and April’s is diamond. The concept and origins of birthstones dates back thousands of years when people started to study the stars (astrology) and the bible more closely. It is believed the concept itself may have originated from the breastplate of the high priest Aaron, which contained twelve gemstones corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel. The wearing of a person’s birthstone is believed to be a symbol of wellness and good fortune (with the added benefit of owning the stone itself).
What should you know about rubies- the birthstone of July? Keep reading to find out the what you should know about purchasing a ruby, their symbolic meaning, history and origins of the precious stone, as well as their recommended care and cleaning regime.
History and Origins
Known as the “king of precious stones”, rubies have been a coveted gem by numerous religions and jewelers. Rubies are exceptionally hardy- they are second only to diamonds. The name ruby is derived from the Latin word “ruber” which means red. Their red colour is often referred to in the gem trade as “pigeon’s blood” and may come in various hues of red and hints of purple. Rubies get their spectacular colour from an element called chromium. The more chromium present in the stone, the deeper the colour of red it will have.
Rubies are believed to have first been mined in the East Asian country of Myanmar. The country still produces some of the most sought-after rubies. Vietnam, Mozambique, Tanzania, Afghanistan and South Africa also produce some of the world’s rubies.
Rubies are regarded to be symbols of passion, love, courage and passion. The stone is also believed to give the wearer good luck and because of this, Chinese and Hindu soldiers would embellish their armour with rubies in the hope that they would provide them with strength, protection and courage.
Like with diamonds, it is important to purchase rubies that are well cut, clear and highly graded. Rubies aren’t graded using the same scale or ranking system as diamonds. In fact, they aren’t necessarily graded at all. To make sure you’re buying a piece of jewelry or stone that is of high quality, you want to purchase a naturally mined ruby (not a synthetic one). Another thing to consider is their colour. Rubies are commonly heat treated to remove purplish coloration that they have when first mined. The deeper and purer the red colour- the more expensive the stone will be. The treatment is also used to remove tiny inclusions (imperfections). These process by which these rubies are processed make them more vulnerable to damage during everyday wear. It’s therefore important to ask if the rubies have been heat treated and by what method.
Caring for Rubies
In most cases, rubies can be safely cleaned with warm soapy water and soft brush. Like with other kinds of precious stones, rubies should be kept away from chemicals, abrasives and extreme heat to avoid damage.
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