The name of July’s birthstone, the ruby, comes from the Latin word ruber, meaning red. Its beautiful, deep and mesmerizing color has often been associated with wealth, power and protection, and it was often featured in jewelry designed for kings or high-ranking leaders.
In ancient times it was believed that wearing the stone on your left side, near your heart, would protect you and bring you peace of mind. If wearing the stone, no one could take your land or your rank, and you were further protected from storms and other disasters.
A Stone of Soldiers
In Burmese culture, rubies were believed to be a stone used by soldiers. Because of the ruby’s deep red color, it became associated with blood and battle. Burmese soldiers would have rubies physically placed into their flesh in the belief that it would render them invincible to being wounded by guns, spears or swords.
Rubies as a Stone of Health
Not surprisingly, the association of rubies with blood didn’t end with the battlefield. Other cultures and civilizations believed that rubies, garnets and other similarly-colored red stones could stop bleeding and heal inflammation, as well as stave off the gold. Before the advent of gemstone classification, it was believed that all red gemstones were the same.
Ruby’s Inner Light
Rubies have a unique inner glow that almost looks like a tiny flame. This interesting bit of trivia was not lost on ancient civilizations, who thought that a ruby dropped in water would make it boil. Rubies shine particularly bright under an ultraviolet light, to the point where you can even see them seem to shine in sunlight. It was for this reason that rubies gained a close affinity and association with fire and sunlight.
The Ruby as Birthstone
The ruby is traditionally associated with the month of July, but how did this association come about? The tradition of birthstones dates all the way back to the Bible, and twelve distinctive stones are mentioned as being part of the breastplate of Aaron, described in the book of Exodus. The twelve stones in the breastplate were originally associated with the twelve tribes of Israel and later associated with the twelve signs of the zodiac.
The idea of signing a specific stone to a certain month began in the 18th century, in Poland. There are, in fact, three different lists of birthstones: an ancient list, a traditional list and a modern list. The modern list, which contains the ruby as July’s birthstone, has been around since 1912.
The Ruby in Modern Times
Rubies are still associated with royalty, beauty and riches even today. To own a piece of ruby jewelry is to enjoy exceptional artisanry and craftsmanship in a bold, fiery stone. Whether you’re simply a fan of ancient mythology or cultures, or you’re attracted to the more modern idea of having a stone associated with your birth month, the flaming beauty of the ruby is not to be overlooked.
Visit our extensive showroom today to see all of our beautiful birthstone pieces, including ruby jewelry for the month of July!