1 July 2021
Ruby – Birthstone of July
With their warm red hue and fiery spirit, rubies are a fitting birthstone for the month of July, which heralds high summer for much of the world.
Once described as “the heart of Mother Earth”, these rich red gemstones have long been prized – with early cultures believing they contained the power of life and represented the blood flowing through our veins. They are as eye-catching as they are steeped in history, the pinnacle of both old and new world glamour.
Rubies have long been thought to possess talismanic properties – to many, symbolising passion, prosperity and protection. In the days of old, warriors would wear them into battle, and even in the present day, they are still sometimes laid beneath the foundations of buildings to bless those who live and work there.
Their name comes from the Latin “ruber”, meaning red. Ancient Hindu texts refer to them – in the earliest written accounts of them, in Sanskrit – as “the king of gemstones”; and the Chinese have always embraced rubies, and hailed the “lucky” colour red. This perception of an aura of healing around rubies has endured: Fabergé even has a Rose Gold Fluted Healing Ring with Hidden Rubies in its current Colours of Love collection.
But rubies are not just pleasing to look at. They have their roots deep beneath the earth’s crust, where they were formed between 500 and 800 million years ago under extreme heat and pressure, in a remarkable quirk of nature. They are amongst the most rare and valuable of the world’s gemstones, with larger ones often costing more per carat than colourless diamonds. Contrary to the popular perception, rubies come in a range of colours – not only pure red. They can vary from more purplish to orangey reds, with the most sought-after shade being vivid red. Rubies contain many structural and chemical similarities to another beloved, coloured gemstone – sapphire – differing only in terms of the quantity of the trace element chromium.
Jewellery specialist Joanna Hardy, who is the author of the book Ruby, enthuses about the unique qualities of these rare red gems. “There is no coloured gemstone that fuels passion more than the ruby,” she says. “Place a ruby in front of any man or woman and there will be an instant response to this vibrant red gem.” And after a difficult year with the pandemic, and life beginning to return to normal, what better way to mark the start of the new Roaring Twenties than with a sizzling red ruby?
As iconic as they are precious, rubies have endured in popularity on the red carpet and beyond. They are a firm favourite with A-listers. Jennifer Lopez, Sandra Bullock and Margot Robbie are amongst the famous names born in July who embody the spirit of their uniquely spirited birthstone.
“There is no coloured gemstone that fuels passion more than the ruby, place a ruby in front of any man or woman and there will be an instant response to this vibrant red gem.”