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Ruby - July's Gemstone of Hot and Spicy Fun


By: Stephanie White

Ruby is a semi-precious gemstone frequently incorporated into some of the most modern, beautiful handmade jewelry in the world. It is most often found in shades of opaque or translucent red, and is widely recognized as the July Birthstone as well as the gemstone for the 15th and 40th anniversaries. But beyond its modern-day uses and associations, ruby holds a decadent mythological, spiritual and etymological history that adds nostalgic value to its already strong aesthetic worth.

Ruby is a variety of the species Corundum, and is one of the most sought-after precious colored gems in the world. The word ruby is said to come from the Latin word "rubber" or "rubens," which means red.

Ruby gemstones look best as parts of formal evening jewelry when paired with diamonds, black onyx or dark blue sapphire. More casual combinations include softer contrasts of brilliant ruby reds with clear quartz, emerald or pearls. Ruby is typically considered a sophisticated gemstone that works well with any outfit. In earrings, it works especially well to enhance the luster of green or hazel eyes.

Rubies became a popular colored stone among European royalty and other nobility because of their intense red color. Whenever a ruby was found, the emperor/royalty sent out people to see and welcome the precious stone. The ancient Hindus believed that those who offered fine rubies to the God Krishna could be granted the life of an emperor in their next lives.

The ruby is often associated with the emotions of love, passion, majesty, power and anger. Rubies are also believed to open the heart, attract others, and overcome fear. They were also said to help predict the future if they change color or intensity. Rubies were first mined 2500 years ago. While they originated in Sri Lanka, today rubies are found in Thailand, Mynamar, and Kenya.

Mohs' Hardness score is based on a 10-point scale where 10 is the most resistant, like a diamond, and 1 is easily scratched, such as Talc. Ruby gets a score of 9, meaning that it is very scratch resistant and therefore suitable as a component of jewelry. Ruby gemstones should be regularly cleaned by a professional or with a soft rag and mild soap and water. Other methods, including ultra-sonic cleaners, are also okay as long as they are not oiled. Avoid harsh chemicals when cleaning your handcrafted jewelry as exposure to these elements can damage semi-precious and precious gemstones and pearls.

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