The Birthstones of July: Rubies and Onyxes
We have good news for all those who are born in July: you have two birthstones! The birthstones of July are the Ruby and the Onyx, one being modern, and one being one of the traditional birthstones. However, the ruby is the most recognized gemstone for both the modern and traditional titles. We’ll discuss more in depth a bout the history of these birthstones, as well as all of their gemstone features and fun facts.
Why does July have two different birthstones?
The months of the year differ from each other as they have different amounts of birthstones, some having only one birthstone, and others even having up to three gemstones associated to the month.
There are different numbers of birthstones per month as there are the associated gemstones that are classified as either modern or traditional. The more common of the two types are modern birthstones, which were officially named by the Jewelers of America in the 1950’s. Traditional birthstones are the gemstones that were more commonly associated with its respective month in the early 20th century and even beyond. Many of these traditional birthstones have become too rare and are not as available on the market in this day and age, and therefore some months have modern birthstones that differ from its traditional associations.
The modern birthstone of June is the Ruby. The origin of the name “ruby” comes from its Latin word “rubeus,” which means “red.” Through history, the word was adopted as “rubinus” from Medieval Latin and “rubi” in Old Fresh, thus becoming “ruby” in English. The word “ruby” in Ancient Sanskrit is also translated to “ratnaraj,” which is defined as the “king of precious stones.” So you July babies can technically say your birthstone is the most precious!
That being said, the ruby is one of the most famous and four precious gemstones alongside emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds. There is no doubt that it has earned its place amongst the four, being known for its blood-red color. Its red color comes from being the red variety of the mineral corundum gem family, which sapphires are also a part of.
There are no other colors of rubies in the world in existence besides red and pink.
The science behind the red glow of fire that these gemstones give off are caused by the chromium within its properties. The more chromium present, the more red the gemstone will be, with some red colors so deep with impurities that there are hints of purple, and sometimes blue, with the right lighting. Ironically, chromium is also the cause of the rarity of the ruby gemstone itself as it causes fissures and cracks. Due to this chemical paradox, fine quality rubies in large amounts is extremely rare and therefore causes the value of this birthstone to be quite high and well above diamonds.
Diving deep into the history of rubies, one of the oldest known sources of rubies comes from Myanmar. Other sources of rubies can be found in Vietnam, India, East Africa, the Middle East, Thailand, and the United States. With all of these different deposit origins, there are also different types of rubies, with five major kinds being Burmese ruby, Thai ruby, Mozambique ruby, Madagascar ruby, and Tanzanian ruby, all commonly recognized in terms of jewelry.
These radiant red gemstones are commonly associated with good fortunate, health, wisdom, and success in love, as they were in Medieval Europe. There are some that believe that the ruby holds a healing power, protecting its owner and bearer from harm and illness. Furthermore, these powers included the regeneration of the physical and spiritual heart as it enhanced circulation and strengthened immunity for the entire body and mind. Although most are ancient beliefs of strong powers, the ruby gemstone is indeed one of the most strongest gemstones, right behind the diamond.
Rubies have a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This makes rubies the hardest of the colored gemstones, and the second hardest when including the diamond. To put this in perspective, quartz has a hardness of 7 – 7.5 and are present in the particles of dust seen floating in the air and settling on uncleaned objects in your home. These particles have the hardness that is able to remove the polish from your table and the finish from your car. Diamonds have a hardness of 10, which is the hardest gemstone, and the softest includes talc, which is a gemstone that even your fingernail can scratch.
These minerals can only be scratched by the hardness level above it, so ruby owners wouldn’t need to worry too much unless you’re planning on having diamonds around. However, your precious gemstones still deserve care and maintenance to keep it looking as sparkly and pristine as possible. It is recommended to use warm water and soap and a very soft brush to keep your ruby gemstones clean.
With the ruby being the gemstone associated with the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries, this stone of love and passion is a great gift for those celebrating those milestones as well as a July birthday!
To learn more about the history and proper maintenance your pearls, visit our Ultimate Ruby Guide for more information!
Some consider the traditional gemstone of July to be the Onyx. It is more commonly recognized that the Ruby is both the traditional and modern gemstone, but those in the 15th to 20th century did consider the onyx to be one of the July birthstones. In history, the word “onyx” comes from the Latin word, which also was adopted from the Ancient Greek word “onux,” which means “claw” or “fingernail.”
The onyx gemstone is very similar to the traditional birthstone of May, which is the agate. These gemstones are both banded stones varieties from the chalcedony group. These black gemstones usually have a black base with intense white band patterns that different between individual stones. There are also red varieties of the onyx in existence that are called the sardonyx.
In modern times, most black onyx gemstones that are commercially available are color enhanced through heat and dye to increase the intensity of its color.
This optimal gemstone be found in Brazil, India, California, and Uruguay. It is associated to be a gemstone to absorb negative energy, having stronger powers the darker the color is. The onyx is also known to symbolize strength, boldness, balance, and self-confidence, which is perfect for owners and bearers to strengthen their minds. Cleopatra allegedly had worn the dark variety of onyxes for its protective powers and values.
In ancient Greek mythology, there is a legend that says that the goddess Venus fell asleep, and had her fingernails clipped off by Eros, also known as Cupid, her son, which were scattered across the Indus River. As it was believed that no heavenly body part can die, including these fingernails, these clippings were turned into stone which later became known as the onyx.
If you or someone you know was born in July, we hope you see onyxes as a wonderful birthstone alternative to the red ruby! This gemstone is also associated to the 7th and 10th anniversary years of marriage, so if you’re looking forward to making this anniversary special, we recommend looking into this unique stone.
Onyxes have a hardness of 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which is relatively not that high up there in comparison to the other gemstones like the ruby. Because of this, this gemstone is a good choice for carving.
The care and maintenance for onyx gemstones and jewelry is similar and straightforward in comparison to other gemstone jewelry in terms of using soft material to wipe off any dirt. However, we recommend that you do not wet or soak your onyx gemstone in water as this stone is very porous and absorbs liquids quite easily. Therefore, using a lightly moistened cloth can make things easier to clean your onyx jewelry.
As mentioned before, minerals can only be scratched by the hardness level above it and quartz has a hardness of 7 – 7.5 and are present in the particles of dust seen floating in the air. This level of hardness is also able to remove the polish from your table and the finish from your car. So keep this in mind when caring for your onyx jewelry, as dust and dirt particles would potentially leave a scratch on your precious birthstone.
Replacing Your Missing Ruby or Onyx
Thinking about restoring a loved one’s sentimental birthstone piece? You’re in the right place to restore their precious memories.
Gemstones provide life to any piece of jewelry, yet have the highest potential to damage. Whether it be a loose, lost, or scratched-up Ruby or Onyx, we take restoring the life of your treasures seriously. Any gem, any damage, we’ll make your jewelry sparkle as bright as the day you got it.
We have a team of specialists in place to properly source every type of gem needed for your treasured item. We understand your gemstones are unique and require specific attention. Our Professional Stone Sourcing team makes sure that all of your gems, even the ones that sometimes go unnoticed, are replaced by stones of the right caliber for your piece.
Visit our Gemstone Replacement Services page to learn more about servicing your Ruby or Onyx.
The Ultimate Birthstone Guide
“If you were born in July, your month’s birthstones are Ruby and Onyx.
If you didn’t already know, there are some months that have multiple birthstones, whereas some only have one. Traditional birthstones are gemstones that were most commonly associated with its respective month in the early 20th century and even beyond, with Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers associating these gemstones with the star signs. Those that are more commonly known in this day and age are the modern birthstones, which were officially named by the Jewelers of America in the 1950’s.
If you would like to learn more about birthstones in general, visit our Ultimate Birthstone Guide!“
Clean & Polish Services
“A basic clean, polish, and inspection is part of the routine care and maintenance needed to keep your jewelry looking like new. The inspection process includes looking for loose stones, bent prongs, and any damage to the metal or stones that need to be repaired.”
Stone Setting Repair
“A stone setting repair can be a simple re-tipping of a worn prong (which is considered routine care and maintenance) or the complete rebuilding/replacing of a damaged prong. In the case of severe damage, the entire head of the ring may need to be replaced.
Regardless of whether or not the prongs are compromised due to normal wear and tear or a result of accidental damage, we can provide the routine care and maintenance in order to ensure you do not lose a stone in your setting.”
Gemstone Replacement Services
“The process of a Gemstone Replacement is simple enough, yet requires trained eyes to be able to make a flawless switch. We aim to leave no trace of our work, which means not only will your setting be perfected, but the gemstone we choose will complete your jewelry piece effortlessly.”
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