Calling all July babes!
This month's birthstone? The ever-enchanting ruby. A 9.0 on the Mohs scale, rubies are just shy of a diamond in hardness, and are the most valuable per carat of all the colored gemstones. They can be semi-transparent to opaque, and range in hue from anywhere from light pink to a deep red.
Rubies are known to symbolize passion, protection, loyalty, and prosperity. Ancient peoples believed rubbing rubies on the skin would lead to increased blood circulation, improving both mental and physical health. Records suggest they were traded as early as 200 B.C. along China's North Silk Road, and Greek legends claimed a ruby's warmth could melt wax. Warriors in Burma (a significant source of rubies since 600 A.D.) even embedded rubies into their skin to grant protection in battle.
Susan Wheeler Ruby Pebble Necklace
The red variety of the mineral corundum, rubies get their color from the element chromium (symbol CR, atomic number 24). It's chromium that leads to the gem's scarcity, causing cracks and fissures in the stone's growth, and therefore increasing the rarity of large, fine-quality gems. Chromium also gives the stone its fluorescence, creating a fire-like glow from within.
Prized for their rarity and beauty, rubies feature at the center of much folklore and well-known jewel heists. Their popularity and value has increased in recent years, leading seasoned auctioneers to liken buying a ruby 10 year ago to buying Google stock in its early days.