Ruby - July birthday gemstone
Ruby is the accepted birthstone for July. It is also the accepted anniversary gemstone for the fifteenth and fortieth year.
Ruby is known as the 'Lord of the Gems' because of its rarity and beauty. Derived from the Latin word 'ruber, it simply means red. Ruby, like sapphire, is a variety of corundum and only exists as a true red in color. The finest color is a vivid, almost pure spectral red with a very faint undertone of blue, as seen in Burmese rubies, which are considered the finest.
The highest quality rubies are said to protect their owners from all kinds of misfortune. A fine ruby assured the owner he would live in harmony with his neighbors. It would protect his stature in life, his home and land. Its protective powers were intensified when set in jewelry, and worn on the left side. Many believed rubies possessed an inner flame, which burned eternally.
As part of the customary fashioning process, virtually all rubies are heated to permanently improve their color and appearance.
As with all gemstones, care should be taken to protect them from scratches and sharp blows.
The finest rubies emanate from Myanmar (Burma, having been mined there since ancient times). Other sources include Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, Cambodia, Afghanistan and India.