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Custom Ruby Engagement ring

Ruby Is The July Birthstone

What is the July Birthstone?

Ruby, the king of precious gems, is the birthstone for those fortunate enough to be born in July. Whether you’re showing your love for someone born in July, or celebrating a 15th or 40th wedding anniversary, there’s no better gift than ruby gemstone jewelry. And boy, oh boy is it beautiful!

Custom Ruby Engagement ring
The 5.00 ct oval ruby in this designer ring is set in platinum with 18k rose gold, surrounded by halos of round rubies and diamonds. Courtesy: Omi Privé

Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, colored by the element chromium. All other colors of gem-quality corundum are called sapphire, which means the color is key for this royal gemstone.

Accordingly, the name “ruby” comes from rubeus, the Latin word for red. In ancient Sanskrit, ruby translated to ratnaraj, which meant “king of precious stones.” These gorgeous, fiery gems have been treasured throughout global history for their color and vitality.

The chromium that gives ruby its red color also causes fluorescence, which makes rubies glow like a fire from within. Paradoxically, chromium is also what makes this gem scarce because it can cause cracks and fissures. Few rubies actually grow large enough to crystallize into fine quality gems, and these can bring even higher prices than diamonds.

Where is the Ruby found?

One of the oldest recorded sources of fine rubies is Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). For more than five centuries, the Mogok area in Myanmar has produced some of the most sought-after rubies. These are the vibrant red beauties softened by light-scattering inclusions and a glowing red fluorescence. This region is a place of weathered marble and ancient Buddhist temples.

Vietnam has been another important source for the July birthstone, since about the late 20th century. The Luc Yen region in northern Vietnam produces rubies of red to purplish-red color. Farther south, the Quy Chau district has also yielded many fine rubies. Today, Artisanal workers still mine the fields in search of a life-changing gemstone in the rough.

New sources

Mozambique is an important new source for the July birthstone. This African nation is home to the prolific mines at Montepuez. Rubies found there have been compared to the famed gems of Mogok.

For many years in the late 1900s, the ruby deposits along the border between Thailand and Cambodia were the major source of rubies in the marketplace. Other important producers of the July birthstone include Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar.

~ information provided by GIA.edu

Care and Cleaning

Rubies can achieve a purer red and have purplish colorations removed through heat-treating. Heat treating is a common practice for the July birthstone, and this process can also remove “silk” (minute needle-like inclusions) that can cause a gem to appear lighter in tone and be more opaque. The trade typically accepts heat treatment, as it is stable to normal conditions of wear and care.

Rubies may also be subjected to lattice diffusion treatment and dyeing. In lower-quality material, surface-reaching fractures and cavities may be filled with glass to decrease their visibility so the gem appears more transparent. Some of these treatments may make the ruby more vulnerable to damage during normal wear and care.

Before you buy a ruby, always ask your jeweler if your ruby has been treated and by what method it has been treated. The Federal Trade Commission requires disclosure of treatments that affect a gemstone’s perceived value. A GIA Identification Report is important in identifying if a stone is natural or synthetic and whether it has been treated in any fashion.

Cleaning Tip: Warm, soapy water and a soft brush are your best bet in most cases for cleaning your July birthstone. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe for untreated, heat-treated, and lattice diffusion–treated stones. Glass-filled or dyed stones should only be cleaned with a damp cloth.

Ruby Buying Guide

Ruby can command the highest prices of any colored gemstone. The per-carat prices of fine-quality rubies have been rising consistently, many times breaking auction records.

On May 12, 2015, a 25.59-carat ruby ring sold for $1,266,901 per carat, setting a new record at auction for a colored gemstone. That’s $32.4 million dollars.

What to look for

  • Color. The finest ruby has a pure, vibrant red to slightly purplish red color. As the color becomes too orangy or more purplish, the ruby moves down in quality. The highest-quality rubies have vivid color saturation. The color must be neither too dark nor too light to be considered finest quality.
  • Carat. Fine-quality rubies over one carat are very rare, but commercial-quality rubies are commonly available in a wide range of sizes. The price per carat goes up significantly for ruby as it increases in size.
  • Cut. Several factors affect the cut and proportion of rubies on the market. A ruby’s crystal shape dictates its suitability for certain cuts. The most common shape is a flat tabular hexagonal shape, but ruby crystals from some sources can be elongated. Cut is one of the most important factors in buying a ruby.
  • Clarity. People in the trade expect rubies to have at least some inclusions because inclusion-free rubies are rare. Ruby value depends on how visible the inclusions are. Obvious inclusions or inclusions that reduce transparency or brightness lower a ruby’s value dramatically.

Contact Gittelson Jewelers

Gittelson Jewelers, located in the skyway in downtown Minneapolis can help you source the perfect gemstone or diamond. We can also custom-design the ring or piece of jewelry of your dreams through CAD modeling. Gift the perfect piece of birthstone jewelry or design your own engagement ring.

Call us, stop by or schedule an appointment today.

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