Ruby - July birthstone
If you were born in July, your birthstone is the ruby. Many people consider the ruby to be among the most valued stones in the world. In the past, even diamonds were not considered as valuable as the ruby, possibly because of the ruby's beautiful color. Traditionally associated with desire, encourage, emotion, and passion, the ruby is a beautiful stone that looks fabulous in silver, platinum, or gold settings.
The ruby gets name from the Latin word for red, ruber. In the Bible, very few things are considered more valuable than rubies, while in Sanskrit the ruby is known as the "king of precious stones."
Rubies are harvested all over the world, and many countries are known for producing a specific color of ruby. Myanmar is known for producing pure red rubies. Vietnam is known for its very clear vivid pink rubies. Sri Lanka is famous for pastel pink red rubies. Thailand exports dark red and deep burgundy stones. Kenya is home of pure red gems and Madagascar creates transparent reds. It is important not to judge a ruby by its color, however. Only laboratory tests can tell you where a stone comes from. However, naturally colored stones from Myanmar's Mogok mine are considered the finest rubies in the world.
Most rubies are treated by being heated to almost 2000°. This process allows the color of the stone to shine through and removes colors such as brown and blue which sometimes naturally occur in rubies. In some cases, heat improves the clarity of rubies. In cases where residue from the heat is present, the rubies are devalued, but with careful heating, most rubies become more valuable with the heating process. In some rare cases, rubies are not heated. These are very rare and very valuable stones. These are considered natural color rubies, and must be confirmed by laboratory to prove that they are in fact not heat treated.
When selecting a ruby, you will want to consider the color, cut, and clarity. You'll want to select the color of ruby you prefer -- whether that is pure red or a deep wine color. You'll also want to look at your ruby under magnification at the jewelers to see whether there are any imperfections or residue inside the stone. Generally, you will want the stone as clear as possible. This will allow the gemstones to reflect light. Most rubies are cut in the cushion or oval shapes. Rubies under a carat may be cut in other shapes as well. Like diamonds and other stones, the size of a ruby is measured in carats. Most rubies are under five carats, although in very rare cases there are larger rubies, which are very valuable.
Once you have purchased your ruby, keep in mind that this gem is one of the most durable stones. Rubies are actually a crystalline form of aluminum oxide. Therefore, you can wear rubies as part of your everyday jewelry without worries about damaging the stones. However, you want to store your rubies separately, so they do not scratch your other jewelry. If your rubies need cleaning, use a mild dish soap. You can even scrub behind the stone with a toothbrush -- using very gentle pressure -- to get rid of dirt behind the stone.