It’s July, the zenith of summer, the sun a glistening firebomb in the sky. Sure, there’s sweat, but there’s also celebration. And what better birthstone to represent July’s heat than the red, red ruby?
The sanguine stone is sibling to the sapphire: both are a type of mineral called corundum that begins mostly colorless until zesty little impurities make their way into the process, resulting in a vibrant color. And the ruby’s ridiculous red? That’s all chromium, baby. The more chromium, the better (and redder). The purest and reddest stones are called pigeon’s blood rubies, a macabre little moniker that brands only the most exquisite specimens with the richest color and fewest impurities. Though the ruby absolutely must have some flaws — that’s the only way to tell it’s authentically natural. #Relatable
The name itself, ruby, comes from the latin word ruber, which means red. Primarily found in Asia, with a rare few naturally occurring deposits in other parts of the world, the scarlet draw of this stone has hypnotized humans since early civilizations: the ruby is mentioned multiple times in the Old Testament and has long been considered an integral stone within traditional Hindu belief, where it represents the sun.
The desire for these incredible specimens always leads to human ingenuity: if you can’t get your hands on it, how can you make it? Since the early days of Roman civilization, there have been imitations. To the untrained eye, spinel resemble rubies to a remarkable degree, and with a little red foil in the setting (which was created by burning scarlet wool in a furnace and using the ash to coat it), it can appear to be a stone of great color and depth. By the early 19th century, scientists were able to produce a more chemically accurate synthetic ruby, which was lovely for the jewelry industry, but even more exciting for the nascent laser industry. That’s right: over a hundred years later, in 1961, a synthetic ruby became the most integral part of the world’s first optical laser! Ugh, gemstones are so cool.
But let’s not lose track of the important stuff: since rubies were not really available during the Middle Ages in Europe, when people used gems for basically anything, there’s no association with it curing eyes falling out, or like… frog attacks. However, it has long been linked with vitality and romantic love. Wearing one is said to make a love more robust or mend a broken heart. The red of the stone mimics blood and is thought to strengthen one’s lifeforce. There’s a debatably accurate story that warriors in Myanmar believed the vermillion gem would make one invulnerable in battle, though only if the stones were inserted under the skin. Also, ground rubies are said to help with indigestion, but obviously tuck into that tincture at your own peril (or whenever the Goop Ruby Indigestion Powder™ is finally released).
The idea of the ruby’s power has given it a singular place in history. It brings blood and passion and heat — the good kind, not the sticking to a plastic chair kind.
A life-giver, a lover, a sun in the sky. It’s the deep red of a summer sunset, it’s the blush of sunburn after a day at the beach, it’s the sticky sweat of holding hands on the hottest day, it’s the flash of fireworks at twilight. It is July.
Elizabeth BuenaventuraRuby Beloved Eternity Ring
Channel your inner Marlene Dietrich, who famously loved to wear rubies, with this unique take on the eternity ring by Elizabeth Buenaventura. Featuring seven stunning rosy rubies set in a circlet of textured gold, this ring will make you feel like an old Hollywood star any day of the week.