For those born in July, be prepared to cash in your cheques for this birthstone! Known for being the most expensive coloured gem, ruby is the birthstone for July. The name ruby originates from the Latin word for red, “rubeus.”
Pure aluminum oxide corundum crystal is a colourless mineral. Coloured varieties arise from contaminants in the minerals crystal structure. Trace amounts of chromium cause the red colour of rubies. The colour of rubies range from an orangey red to purplish red due to secondary hues. All other coloured varieties arising from contaminants to corundum are known as sapphires.
Ruby is the most valuable of the corundum varieties. In fact, rubies are the most expensive coloured gemstone per-carat. Some rubies greater than 10 carats have even sold for comparatively more than diamonds.
The most expensive ruby ever auction is the “Sunrise Ruby.” At an enormous 25.59ct, the Burmese ruby sold for $30 million dollars breaking records for highest priced ruby, highest price-per-carat ruby and highest price of a Cartier piece.
The largest mined ruby in the world is the “Liberty Bell Ruby.” As the name suggests, the 8,500 ct ruby is sculpted into a replica liberty Bell. In 2011 it was stolen in a heist and has not since been recovered.
Rubies measure 9 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale, second only to diamond making them a very durable gemstone.
Rubies are believed to offer protection and ward off evil. Chinese noblemen adorned armor and Burmese warriors implanted rubies under their skin to protect them during battle. In the well-known film The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s ruby slippers protect her from the evil Wicked Witch of the West. In Chinese culture, rubies were buried beneath building foundations as they are believed to offer good fortune.
Symbolic of the passion, nobility and energy associated with the colour red, the vibrant ruby is said to bring love and success to those who wear it.