The birthstone for July has been the riveting ruby for thousands of years. They are also associated with the 15th‘and 40th‘wedding anniversaries.
Due to the bright and flashy red coloring, ruby jewelry reminds us of great passion, fiery tempers and undying love unmatched in any other gemstone.
Rubies are judged by the red-color quality, the deeper and more intense the more valuable.? However, most people cannot tell the difference between the various hues and they are all beautiful to behold.
The metals used in ruby jewelry can enhance the stone is different ways depending on what is appealing to the wearer.
A gold setting will make the ruby appear brighter, making the red even more intense. Silver metals such as white gold or platinum will complement the stone and showcase the stone’s particular hue.
Even smaller rubies are brilliant, making something like a teardrop pendant or earrings sparkle nicely.
Rubies can be set with just about any other gem either as the centerpiece or as an accent. Many people today choose rubies to replace the traditional diamond such as in men’s ruby rings or ruby engagement rings. Like the diamond, they are expensive but highly durable and forever gorgeous.
Ruby Mystical Meanings
Rubies were once a valuable mystical item of trade in China over two thousand years ago. The strong color of ruby jewelry was thought to protect against evil spirits and to stave off possible danger. Strength of mind and personal will were other properties linked to wearing rubies in other cultures, royalty in particular.
Ancient warriors wore rubies during battle for divine protection and to aid in attaining victory. Other legends say that the brightest of rubies were used to light up the homes of the Gods.
Ruby Jewelry Facts
There is tool and mining evidence to support the suggestion that rubies were being used as long ago as 2500 B.C. Today they are primarily mined in India, Asia and areas of the Middle East.
Second to the diamond, rubies are the hardest of all the crystal gems rating a 9.0 on the Mohs scale (mineral hardness scale). This allows jewelry such as ruby rings to be worn everyday without fear of damage. It is still recommended to keep such a valuable stone away from harsh cleansers and only use solutions made for cleaning jewelry.
July Birthstone Alternatives
As the ruby is an extremely expensive gemstone, often even more expensive than diamonds, alternatives are sought by people all over the world.
Good alternatives are onyx and turquoise, as they are the traditional July birthstones.
Both are quite cheap, though it is probably a lot easier to find high quality turquoise than it is finding high quality onyx, which for a number of reasons has fallen out of favor.
If you would rather wear a transparent red gemstone the red spinel is a great alternative. Spinels and rubies look very similar, so similar in fact that many of the ‘rubies’ adorning royal jewelry are in fact spinels.
Spinel is still quite expensive, a high quality eye clean 1 carat red spinel will sell for $200+. However, this is nothing compared to high quality rubies that often sell for $1000+ per carat. If you see a high quality ruby far below this price you are dealing with a Mahaleo ruby (be careful!).
How to Care for Ruby Jewelry
Ruby jewelry can be cleaned by soaking for a few minutes in warm water mixed with a squirt of dish washing soap. A soft brush can be used to loosen dirt and grime if needed. Rinse under cool water thoroughly and dry with a clean soft cloth.