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Ruby – July Birthstone Meaning

July is the official month of the ruby. We take a look at this gem’s significance  in mythology and modern culture, and discover its birthstone meaning.

Marco Polo’s amazement at the beauty of the ruby

“To look at, it is the most resplendent object upon earth; it is quite free from flaw and as red as fire. Its value is so great that a price for it in money could hardly be named at all.”

Marco Polo was one of the first history writers to describe the immense impact that seeing a large ruby for the first time had on him.

When the Italian merchant happened on the Island of Ceylon on his travels he was allowed to see the King of Ceylon’s gigantic ruby heirloom.

He was so taken by it that he called it “the most precious article that exists in the world”.

Queen Elizabeth II wearing her rubies

Queen Elizabeth II wearing her rubies

Still coveted by collectors

700 years later, the ruby is still the most sought after gem on earth, bar perhaps the diamond.

Collected by queens, robbed in heists and auctioned for millions, it seems to leave no man or woman indifferent.

Ruby encrusted bird statue, Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Quatar

Ruby encrusted bird statue, Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Quatar

Legendary oriental treasure
The ruby was first discovered by man during prehistoric times in the Orient.

Even today, the Asian region is the main producer of the world’s rubies, bar a handful of mines dotted across other continents.

In both Near and Far Easters mythology, the ruby was said to have immense powers, from protecting whole armies to revealing the presence of poison.

Ancient Chinese and Indian writers claimed the ruby could shine and sparkle in the absence of any light.

Red, red rubies
Did you know, that the word “ruby” is derived from the Latin word “ruber” which means “red”?

The ruby is a red variety of a mineral called corundum, the same substance that sapphires are formed from.

Corundum is almost as tough as diamonds, but chromium trace elements give it its red colour.

It’s no coincidence that rubies are often given as romantic gifts or as meaningful jewellery items that commemorate important life occasions. The colour red symbolises passion and romance.

Different shades of red rubies, via Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

Different shades of red rubies, via Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

Ruby colour

While all red or dark pink gem-quality corundum crystals are called rubies, very pale ones are classified as pink sapphires.

This distinction is often debated, though, as it’s sometimes almost impossible to draw a definite line between light rubies and dark pink sapphires.

The most valuable type of ruby colour is a bright red hue called “pigeon blood”.

However, as with most gemstones, the beauty of a particular ruby colour hue is often in the eyes of the beholder.

As we can see below with the large dark pink ruby set into the Bohemian crown jewels.

Bohemian crown jewels with large pink ruby via yakub88 / Shutterstock.com

Bohemian crown jewels with large pink ruby via yakub88 / Shutterstock.com

Mythological birthstone properties 

For those born in July, the ruby is considered their “birthstone”. In other words, it’s the gem that’s said to be astrologically aligned with the star sign of Cancer.

Since ancient times, the ruby’s fiery red shade has inspired and symbolised feelings of romance, love and passion.

If you’re lucky enough to wear the ruby as your birth month gem, these characteristics are said to multiply by the thousands.

But even if you’re not born under the sign of Cancer, the ruby is still said to nurture friendships and love, as well as inspire devotion, courage and happiness.

Click here to see these ruby jewellery items

A diet of rubies, anyone?
In many classical texts, the ruby was also attributed with healing properties, especially useful for curing blood, heart and circulatory sicknesses.

In ancient Rome, placing rubies on the body was believed to restore vitality and strength. And stimulate good blood circulation, give health through pregnancy and even help wives not gain weight.

Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers
If you’re a fan of The Wizard of Oz, then you’ll know that rubies have magical powers in popular culture too.

In the film, Dorothy only has to click her heels together three times and say ‘There’s no place like home’ – and she’s back home in Kansas.

Even in Hollywood, the red ruby symbolises the deepest human ties of love and family.

Dorothy's ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz

Ruby occasions & gifts
Aside diamonds, rubies make the most meaningful romantic presents you can give to a loved one.

From ruby eternity rings given for 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries to sparkling, red hearts gifted on Valentine’s Day, ruby jewellery is an exquisite way to express love.

A ruby birthstone ring, pair of earrings or a pendant makes a highly significant gift for a July birthday.

Ruby jewellery can also provide a wonderfully symbolic and lasting gift for July engagements, graduations and new mothers giving birth to babies that month!

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Discover your birthstone jewellery now at TheDiamondStore.co.uk. Browse ruby jewellery on our website.

Discover your birthstone jewellery