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The answer is rubies, which are also known as the Kings of Precious Gems, a name which stems from ancient Hindu culture. Rubies are rich, vibrant blood- red gemstones and represent vitality, passion, and following a life path filled with love, and they are thought to protect from evil and danger, and as such have been worn on armour throughout history. The July birthstone has also been the gemstone of royalty for centuries, particularly in India and South East Asia, and unlike other birthstones, there are no rival modern alternatives to steal its throne. For more information on the history of birthstones, check out this link.
Interestingly, rubies and sapphires are chemically the same stone. They’re both part of the corundum family, which are crystals made of aluminum oxide, but some say the key difference is that rubies are red and sapphires are blue. The term ruby comes from ruber, the Latin word for red, so it would be illogical to call sapphires 'rubies', although rubies do range in colour from orangy-red, to red, to slightly purplish-red. The ruby’s colour is due to the presence of chromium, which also makes the gem subject to cracks.
These days many of the rubies you'll find in jewellery stores are likely to be synthetic or lab-grown. Synthetic gems usually have better clarity and colour than natural gems of similar price and are a more environmentally safe option, yet some still prefer the idea of buying a gem that has come from nature. Rubies are usually found in less than 1-2 carats. Anything larger than this is very rare and would be very expensive.
Rubies can be heat-treated to improve colour and transparency. High-quality (and therefore high price) rubies are a transparent, vibrant and purplish red. Cloudier samples, or ones containing brown, orange, or pink tones are less valuable.
Rubies (and sapphires) are one of the hardest precious gemstones, hitting 9 on the Mohs scale and second only to diamonds, which make them a durable and long-lasting choice. A beautiful ruby set in a ring or pendant would be a perfect gift for a loved one, particularly if they were born in July, and if the mystical powers prove true, it may stimulate the recipient's passion for life.
For other birthstone months, click here.