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The Royal Red Ruby: Regal Birthstone of July

Is red your favourite colour? July's birthstone gem is the ruby

What is the Birthstone for July?

The July birthstone is the incomparable ruby, cherished over centuries as a symbol for passion, power, courage and protection. The ruby's deep colour is tied with love, raw emotion and wisdom. Often associated with wealth and prosperity, they're a favourite for crowns and other royal jewellery, as well as modern celeb royalty, most notably by such fabulously-dressed gals as Penelope Cruz, Naomi Watts, Scarlett Johansson, Taylor Swift, Emily Blunt, and of course, Elizabeth Taylor.

If you're shopping for a beautiful birthday gift or memorable jewellery, the ruby's lustre and cachet is extraordinary. Learn more about the exceptional ruby birthstone gifts carried by Blue Nile and be inspired!

Petite Ruby and Diamond Heart Pavé Pendant

Ruby Birthstone

Known as the king of gems and worn by kings the world over, rubies are one of the five cardinal gems—those most prized for their rarity and beauty, which also include diamond, sapphire, emerald and amethyst. The Sanskrit ratnaraj translates to "king of precious stones," and this phrase has followed the ruby from antiquity as a mark of its esteem. The name ruby more specifically comes from the Latin ruber, rubens, or rubeus, all of which mean "red." Whether you're actual royalty or not, the crimson power of the ruby makes everyone stop and take notice.

What Makes Rubies Red?

Did you know that rubies and sapphires are made of the same mineral? They are. They're both made of the mineral corundum, but the desirable and distinctive red colour come from trace amounts of chromium. Chromium incidentally cause cracks and fissures inside the crystal—these imperfections, called "silk" are in nearly all rubies, and are used to distinguish genuine rubies from lab-created ones. Rubies without imperfections are exceptional and can command prices higher than diamonds of comparable quality.

Rubies mostly form in marble or basalt, and the most-prized for many centuries came from Myanmar, which yielded the famous "pigeon's blood," vibrantly red rubies that have been used in spectacular jewellery. Other sources of rubies include India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Africa, Kenya and Tanzania.

Oval Solitaire Ruby Pendant

Colours & Characteristics of Ruby Birthstones

Rubies run the colour gamut from orange-red to purple, but the most valuable are a vibrant red with a slight, violet hue. These blood-red rubies are known as "pigeon's blood," and they are exceptionally brilliant, transparent and intense, with a blue-tinged fiery red.

All these colours have strong emotional and cultural associations, and when they're connected with a rare gemstone, the ruby is an object that elicits a great desire!

Rubies rate 9 on the Mohs scale, edged out of the top spot by diamonds only, which means that they are exceptionally wear-resistant in jewellery and perfect also for practical use in such items as surgical instruments and mechanical watches. The ruby's fluorescent effect (from its inclusions) is what made it a viable choice to be used in the first working laser, created in 1960 by Theodor Maiman.

Ruby Birthstone Qualities and Meaning

Rubies, because of their brilliant red hues, are often related to themes concerning the essence and vitality of life. Rubies are said to amplify energy, strengthen the life force, promote courage and passion, bring success in battle, and encourage wealth and satisfaction in love. Because of its deep crimson, the ruby clearly has the power to attract, seduce, and ensure love everlasting.

They've been recognized as talismans that create equilibrium and guard against sorrow. They were placed beneath foundations of buildings by the Chinese to elicit good fortune. Ancient Chinese and Hindu nobility embellished their armor with rubies for protection, and Burmese warriors went drastically further and planted rubies in their skin to protect them during battle. Those protective powers worked out pretty well for Dorothy Gale of Kansas, too. (Is there any pair of slippers more famous than the ruby pair in the Wizard of Oz?)

Ruby and Diamond Vintage Inspired Bracelet

Famous Rubies

The most expensive ruby and the most expensive coloured gemstone ever sold was the Sunrise Ruby, a pigeon-blood at 25.59 carats, flanked by diamonds and set into a Cartier ring, which was purchased by an anonymous bidder in 2015 for $30 million. It was originally mined in Myanmar, and its named for a poem of the same name written by Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi poet.

Famous lover of rubies, Elizabeth Taylor, had quite a collection upon her death, and when her jewellery was auctioned at Christie's in 2011, her 8.24 carat ruby sold for $4.2 million!

Now that we've ignited your passion for rubies, express yourself and discover your favourite at Blue Nile. Whether you believe in its mystical powers or you can't get enough of its mesmerizing, crimson glow, the powerful magic of the ruby is truly compelling.

If you're a ruby lover but not a July baby, rubies are also perfect choices for Valentine's day and traditional gifts for 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries, so indulge in your passion.