An Introduction to Rubies, July's Birthstone

July 11, 2019


If you are born in July, then you are very fortunate because your birthstone is the ruby. Known as the “king” of gemstones, rubies also represent the 40th wedding anniversary.

Ruby’s name comes from the Latin Rubeus, meaning “red”. Although rubies can come in a range of colors, red is the dominant color. Ruby is essentially a much more rare, red variety of corundum and is a sibling of sapphire, which is the name used for all the colors of corundum that are not red. Rubies owe their characteristic red color mainly to trace amounts of chromium present in their composition.

Additionally, it is one of the hardest gemstones to exist. It has a 9 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it only second to diamond in hardness which measures 10 out of 10 on the Mohs scale. Its durability means it can be worn daily as well as be cleaned via ultrasonic cleaning and steam.

Spinel: The Mistaken "Ruby"

4 Uncut Spinel GemstonesUncut Spinel Gemstones by Rob Lavinsky


There are also stones that resemble rubies. For example, spinel is a gemstone that can have a fine red color like ruby and is often found in the same gem gravels as rubies. To the untrained eye, a red colored spinel can resemble rubies so closely that they can be mistaken for one.

There is a very famous stone known as “The Black Prince’s Ruby” that is in one of Britain’s crown jewels. It is, in fact, not a ruby at all but a 170 carats spinel.

The British Crown with The Black Prince's RubyThe British Crown

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 Photo Courtesy of G.I.A.
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