As the summer begins to heat up, romantic ruby takes its place as the July birthstone. With a deep red color and a long and complicated history, these stones are steeped in tradition and beauty. Learn more about this gem and browse some of our most popular ruby birthstone jewelry on the Shane Co. blog.
What are rubies?
Rubies are the red variety of the mineral corundum, which you might recognize as the mineral sapphire is made of, too. In fact, all colored corundum is considered a sapphire except for this particular gem. This red stone gets its color from the element chromium, and when treated to extreme heat and pressure over millions of years, crystals are formed under the earth’s surface. The presence of silica or iron, two minerals that are extremely common within the earth’s crust, will prevent the formation of ruby, making them one of the rarest stones known to man. Scientists have said that it’s a “minor geological miracle” that they’re formed at all — we’re actually still unsure how the exact conditions are met.
Did you know?
Besides being our July birthstone and a beautiful choice for Valentine’s Day jewelry, ruby is also the stone for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries.
Their formation is not the only thing that makes this special stone so unique. The chromium that gives rubies their red color can cause fluorescence, which causes them to appear to glow like a fire from the inside out. However, chromium can also cause cracks and fissures, so few grow large enough to crystallize into gem-quality stones — another reason why they’re so rare. Despite this, rubies are durable, rating a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, second only to diamond. This strength and fluorescence means the gem has uses beyond just jewelry; it’s also used to create watches, medical instruments and even lasers.
Myanmar (formerly Burma) is famous for its ruby deposits, producing deep red stones that are known as “Pigeon’s blood.” Other deposits exist in Vietnam, Thailand, East Africa, India, parts of the Middle East and even certain areas of the United States. Thailand is today’s main source and produces gems of a dark red shade.
Did you know?
The first ever laser was created in 1960 using the red fluorescence emitted by a ruby crystal.
Myths and symbolism
There are a variety of myths and legends associated with the ruby, particularly because of its unique red color. In the Orient, this stone was described as a “drop of the heart’s blood of Mother Earth,” while other ancient cultures believed that they grew on trees like fruit, starting off as small white stones and ripening in the sun to the red gem we know today. In the Middle Ages, these gems were viewed as a stone of prophecy, as well as having a number of purported health benefits. Ivan the Terrible of Russia stated that rubies were good for the heart, brain and memory, while in the 15th and 16th centuries, they were thought to counteract poison and restore youth and vitality.
Coupled with a strong association with the sun, the ruby is considered the stone of love, energy, passion and power, believed to restore vital life forces and increase energy and vigor in its wearers. Also known as the stone of courage, this gem is thought to preserve mental and physical health, making it a great choice for any special occasion.
The Sunrise Ruby
This Burmese stone is the most expensive piece of ruby jewelry ever sold at auction, raking in close to $30 million. Weighing in at 25.29 carats, the ruby is named after a poem by Rumi and is said to have extraordinary color, purity and cut.
The DeLong Star Ruby
This gem was named after its owner, Edith Haggin DeLong, and uncovered in Burma during the 1930s. It was donated to the American Museum of Natural History in 1937, and later stolen in a notorious heist by J.R. Murphy in 1964. A massive ransom was paid by a wealthy businessman to get the DeLong Star Ruby back to its original home.
The Liberty Bell Ruby
Discovered in the 1950s in eastern Africa, this stone is the largest mined ruby known to man. It was sculpted to represent a miniature version of the Liberty Bell, with 50 diamonds also included in its design. It was stolen during a jewelry heist in 2014 and is unfortunately yet to be recovered.
The Burmese Ruby Tiara
When Queen Elizabeth married her husband, Philip, she received a number of spectacular-quality rubies from the people of Burma. In 1973, she commissioned Gerrard & Co. to create a tiara using 96 of the gems she received as a gift and named it for the Burmese people.
Ruby birthstone gifts
With hundreds of high-quality styles to choose from, Shane Co. has the largest selection of exclusive ruby jewelry and birthstone gifts. With our Free Lifetime Warranty, your purchase is protected — even when the ruby is the center stone of an engagement ring. And with free 2-day shipping for all online orders within the U.S., as well as the option to buy online and pick up in store, you’re sure to get your gift right on time. Worried about getting what you really want for your birthday? Use the “Drop a hint” button to email your sweetie with all your favorite designs. Here are some of the most popular ruby jewelry styles for our July babies:
Highlighting this gem’s unique color with a halo of diamonds adds a trendy and elegant touch to an already-beautiful ring. Try this Oval Double Halo Ring with 72 round diamonds to surround the loose ruby of your choice for superior sparkle.
This versatile stone looks beautiful on its own or complemented by other gems, as in this Ruby and Diamond Pendant in high-quality 14k yellow gold. Created by our design team, this necklace offers sophisticated simplicity to show off your July birthstone.
If you’re looking for some old Hollywood glamour, these Vintage Ruby and Diamond Earrings were carefully crafted with 24 round diamonds and delicate details. Pair them with a matching necklace for the ultimate birthday gift.
No matter what you choose, you can feel good knowing that Shane Co. rubies are ethically sourced. We buy our gems directly from the stone cutters, eliminating the middlemen and their markups, and pass the savings on to you. Our high-quality rubies are hand-picked by Tom Shane himself, then recut to maximize their brilliance. In fact, we’re so confident you’ll love your purchase that we offer a 60-Day Money-Back Guarantee. Find a Shane Co. store near you using our store locator, or start shopping online at ShaneCo.com.