The King of gemstones, rubies are a vivid red colour which brings to mind heat and passion. This red colour reminds us of the summer heat as well as the gorgeous produce of summer: tomatoes, watermelon and summer-ripe berries. In fact, the wide spectrum of reds in summer produce is reminiscent of the many hues of red that a ruby can be.
A ruby is a variety of the mineral corundum that displays a range of pink to blood-red tones caused by the presence of chromium in the mineral. The name comes from the Latin ruber, meaning red. In fact, the only chemical difference between a ruby and a sapphire is the presence of this mineral—both are made of the same corundum.
Given its brilliant colour, it’s no wonder Ruby is the birthstone for those born in summery July.
The story of the July birthstone traces all the way back to the ancient Silk Road of China. Notes about the transport of rubies can be found tracing all the way back to 200 BC, as Asian traders imported rubies back to their native cultures, where they were held in very high regard for their gem quality and red colour, a good luck colour in many Asian cultures.
Rubies were used not just for jewellery but also to ornament armour, scabbards and harnesses for notable noblemen. Some wealthy people even laid rubies into the foundations of their homes as a good luck charm. The ancient Hindus called the ruby “Rajnpura” – King of the gems – and believed that wearing a ruby could ward off evil and help warn the wearer of danger.
Although not every culture has the same mystical association with the birthstone of July and its colour, we still associate rubies and their deep hues with passion, vividness, and power. Glowing rubies connote love, warmth and vitality, making them a popular choice for engagement rings.
Which may be why they are the traditional gift for a 40th Wedding Anniversary. With the stone’s bright red hue, it’s only fitting that rubies symbolise the strength of love that has lasted for 40 years!
Many of my Ruby jewellery must be specially pre-ordered, due to the cost of the stones. As well as being able to source gorgeous Rubies on demand, I do also keep a supply of Corundum Rubies in stock. While natural rubies are the red variety of the mineral Corundum (turned red by the presence of ‘chromium’), Corundum itself can be dyed red to imitate rubies. They aren’t the real thing, but they look just as pretty and are much cheaper!
These pieces are made with Corundum Rubies: