Tuesday, July 5, 2011

july birthstone: ruby!

the glowing ruby shall adorn,

those who in july are born;

then they'll be exempt and free

from love's doubts and anxiety

I am constantly asked: "what is your favorite gemstone?" The answer really depends on the season (I'm all about carnelian in the fall and I die for vibrant emeralds in the summer), but rubies always hold a special place in my heart because ruby is my birthstone (my bday is july 16 :) )!

rubies are one of the hardest gemstones (don't mess with rubies!)--they are 9.0 on the Mohs scale and diamonds are 10. one of the most interesting facts I picked up while getting my gemology degree was the fact that rubies and sapphires have the same chemical composition, the only difference is color! so they are the same stone (fun fact: sapphires come in every color of the rainbow...just not red, because then they are considered rubies!).

in rare instances, rubies can have a star affect, called asterism. this is caused when light reflects off dense rutile impurities within the stone. this affect is believed to ward off tension and increase internal strength.

(an example of a star ruby--amazing!)

one of the world's finest and largest rubies (23.1 cts) can be seen at the smithsonian in dc. it is called the carmen lucia ruby because carmen's husband gave it to her as a gift (lucky woman!). this ruby was mined in the mogok region of burma in the 1930s. mogok is known for producing the highest quality rubies in the world.

(carmen lucia ruby, photo courtesy, smithsonian)

(amazing stone from garrard)

rubies are said to possess the powers of love, success, integrity, passion and promise. even if you don't believe in special powers of gemstones, you cannot deny the beauty of a deep red ruby on your finger!

(photo, harry winston)

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