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Birthstones – July

July’s birthstone is the fiery red ruby, known for its incredibly deep rich red, and perfect for the blazing hot warmth that typically comes with the summer month of July, but not to be mistaken for Januarys warm and cosy red garnet!

July is a single birthstone month allowing Ruby to take centre stage. For the months that are lucky enough to have more than a singular birthstone, these are separated into two lists: Modern and Traditional. The more common of the two is the modern birthstones, which were defined in 1912 by the Jewelers of America in an attempt to standardise (and commercialise) birthstones. This was further updated in the 1950s, to include gemstones such as Citrine for November, or Alexandrite for June. Modern stones are based on what’s easier to sell in large quantities (making it the more affordable choice).

BVLA – Heart of Paul – Yellow gold + Ruby
Photo courtesy of Chloe Victoria

Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum (a crystalline form of aluminium oxide which typically contains traces of iron, titanium, chromium, and vanadium), coloured by the element chromium. All other colours of gem-quality corundum are called sapphire! Ruby gets its red colour from chromium, which also caused fluorescence, making rubies glow deep and fiery. Rubies dominant hue is definitely the red we all know and love, however you can find rubies with undertones of orange and pink! Ironically, despite chromium given rubies it’s most important feature (the colour) it is also what makes it so rare as it can cause cracks in fissures. This makes it incredibly hard for rubies to grow large enough to become quality gems.

Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is one of the oldest recorded sources of Rubies. For more then 500 years, Myanmar has produced the most wanted rubies. These are exceptionally known for providing a vibrant red, with a glowing fluorescence, and softened by light-scattering inclusions. Since the latter part of the 20th century, Vietnam has also been a major player in the mining of Rubies, producing this gem in a variety of red to purplish-red tones. The newest but still important source for this wonderful crystal is Mozambique  in Africa, which  is home to the prolific mines at Montepuez.

For many years in the very late 1900’s, the major source of rubies were sourced along the border between Thailand and Cambodia. Now, other important sources of Ruby include Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar.

In addition to being the July birthstone, ruby is traditionally given for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries!
Dating back a little to ancient India, Ruby was called the “King of Precious Stones” due to its rarity, hardness and beauty. It’s also been known for it’s “mystical powers” and has long been seen as a symbol of power and youthful energy in Indian jewellery. In previous centuries, it has been believed to predict danger and misfortune, as well curing inflammatory diseases.

Following straight after Diamond, Ruby falls at a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it the second hardest natural stone. This means you should store this stone separately to others so it doesn’t cause any damage. Rubies are often heat treated to remove purplish colouration to improve it’s redness, some treatments can make a ruby more vulnerable to every day wear and tear. As usual, the best way to clean this stone is with warm and mild soapy water and a soft toothbrush! If your stone is untreated, heat treated or lattice-diffusion stones, then ultrasonics and steam cleaners are generally safe to use. However, glass filled and dyed stones should only be cleaned with a damp cloth.

Bvla – Live to Tell, Afghan, Muse
Yellow Gold + Ruby
Photo courtesy of Jess Farrar

We stock jewellery from brands from across the world, and can source items in all birthstones imaginable! If you would like to treat yourself to some meaningful pieces, just get in contact with us.

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