Ruby is the July birthstone, and it’s one of the most coveted and beautiful of gems. The most valuable type of ruby is called the “pigeon’s blood” or “Burmese” ruby, a deep red with a hint of blue. Rubies are a variety of the mineral corundum, so they get their color from the element chromium. Here’s what you need to know about this beautiful gem so you can better choose one for yourself or a loved one who wants the July birthstone!
The search for rubies began in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), the oldest recorded source of fine rubies. For more than five centuries, the Mogok area in Myanmar has produced some of the most sought-after rubies. Vietnam has become a new and important source for the July birthstone. The Luc Yen region is surrounded by rainforests and mountains in the North of Vietnam and produces rubies of red to purplish-red color.
What does the July birthstone represent?
In addition to being the July birthstone, ruby is traditionally given for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries, and many couples even use it as their engagement or wedding ring. The name comes from the Latin word ruber, meaning “red,” the color of love and passion. The Ruby represents love, passion, courage, and emotion; whether or not you were born in July, owning a ruby is rare and special. In ancient India, ruby was called the “king of precious stones” for its rarity, hardness, beauty, and seemingly mystical powers. Associated with the life-force blood, ruby is a symbol of power and youthful energy in Indian jewelry. In past centuries, some believed this July birthstone could predict misfortune or danger, and others claimed it would cure inflammatory diseases and soothe anger. Burmese warriors believed it made them invincible in battle, and Medieval Europeans thought that rubies bestowed wisdom, wealth, and success in love.
As one of the cardinal gems, the brilliantly colored rubies have always been highly valued. Its durability only increases the ruby’s worth — rating at a 9 on the Mohs scale, it is a cousin of sapphires and only marginally softer than diamonds. Burmese Rubies have attracted prices of up to $100,000 per carat, but it is more typical to find a .5-1 carat Burmese Ruby for $300 to $3,000 per carat. Rubies from Myanmar that are above 4 carats have exponentially higher prices as they are immensely rare.
Lab-grown rubies are mined gem alternatives, created under controlled and monitored conditions with cutting-edge technology. The process is started with a “seed” given by a natural ruby and creates a ruby with the same chemical, physical, and optical characteristics as a mined ruby. They have the impurities and the same range of cut, clarity, color, and carat weight that you’d find among mined gems. Some of the more famous laboratory gemstones are sapphires and emeralds.
Diamond vs. Ruby
|Mined Diamonds||Lab-Grown Diamonds||Rubies|
|Made from Carbon||Made from Carbon||Made from Corundum|
|Mohs Hardness Level = 10||Mohs Hardness Level = 10||Mohs Hardness Level = 9|
|Refractive Index = 2.42||Refractive Index = 2.42||Refractive Index = 1.76-1.77|
Which Should I Buy?
Trying to decide between gems or jewelry for yourself or a loved one? Here are the pros and cons of both diamonds and rubies!
The Pros of Lab-Grown Diamonds:
- Incredibly high demand for diamonds
- The hardest mineral, not prone to breaking or scratches
- Ethically and sustainably sourced, so you’ll have a clear conscience!
- Up to 40% less expensive than mined diamonds
The Cons of Lab-Grown Diamonds:
- Lab-grown diamonds are so new and technologically advanced, and some do not understand that they are exactly the same as mined diamonds.
The Pros of Rubies:
- Colorful and unique, breaking from tradition
- The July Birthstone — could be more significant and sentimental to those who were born in July
- Most rubies are lab-grown these days, which makes them ethically sourced!
- Can be less expensive than diamonds, depending on the four C’s
The Cons of Rubies:
- Not as valuable or sought after as diamonds
- Softer than diamonds, therefore it’s easier to scratch or break them