One of the most sought-after gemstones is also the birthstone for anyone born during the month of July. Rubies are named for the Latin word for ‘red’, and it is fitting given the gem’s rich and deep red color. Discovery of the stone dates to ancient times. Myanmar (formerly Burma) was one of the earliest and most robust sources of rubies. Other significant sources include Vietnam, Mozambique, Pakistan, and Madagascar to name a few. The United States also has ruby deposits, with the most popular mining location being North Carolina and the Smoky Mountains. Rubies containing “pigeon’s blood”, a hint of deep purple within the ruby are the finest variety available. The red color comes from the element chromium, the more chromium in a specimen, the redder the color will be. The ruby is a member of the corundum family like sapphire and is one of the most famous of all gemstones. Alternately, carnelian is another July birthstone option. Carnelian is a brownish-red semi-precious stone, colored by iron oxide. This too is a reddish-colored stone. Many other gemstones are also considered July birthstones by some, giving options for colors other than red as well.


Considered one of the most romantic gemstones, it has been believed to provide many benefits to the wearer. Since ancient times, rubies have represented passion, wealth, and protection. Ancient Burmese and Chinese warriors would wear rubies on their armor to provide protection during battle. Other cultures used ruby as medicinal, as it was believed to reduce inflammation, prevent bleeding, and increase body temperature. It was also a popular gem during medieval times and was worn heavily by European royals and the higher classes. The ruby also enjoys a special place in pop culture. In “The Wizard of Oz”, for example, it was a pair of ruby slippers which whisked Dorothy back home to her loved ones. Fine watches also have used rubies as part of their movements. Lasers and medical equipment also use rubies to perform. Carnelian also has a rich history. Ancient Egyptians related it to female energies and passion.

One red ruby crystal held by tweezers

Rubies are one of the rarest gemstones, especially in sizes over 1 carat. Rubies can form in marble and basalt rocks which will affect the depth of color. Rubies are mined in a variety of methods including pit mining, open-trench mining, and cave mining. All rubies will have inclusions, so a lack of any inclusions indicates a synthetic stone. Most rubies today will be treated in some way to enhance color and increase durability. Treatment methods include heat, irradiation, and fracture filling. Rubies have been a popular choice for rings, pendants, bracelets, and earrings, and are one of the hardest gems, second only to the diamond. It is a 9.0 on the Moh’s scale, making it relatively durable, but it is still prone to scratching so should be avoided during intense activity. To clean, the best option is warm, soapy water and a gentle brush. Most rubies are safe to clean in an ultrasonic, but rubies which have been fracture-filled should never be cleaned in this fashion as it could crack your gem. Carnelian is a bit softer with a rating of 7.0 on the scale, and should only be cleaned with warm, soapy water.

The desire for rubies is just as strong today as it has been for centuries, if not stronger. It is one of the four precious gemstones including diamond, sapphire, and emerald. The finest quality rubies, due to their rarity and popularity can be especially valuable, but options are available for any budget. The largest price paid for a ruby was the “Hope Ruby”, sold for over $6.74 million and weighing 32.08 carats. This birthday, treat yourself to one of the most revered gemstones in the world.

Birthstone jewelry is a fine gift for yourself, or that special person in your life. Paffrath and Son Jewelers in Willmar, MN is your birthstone specialist, and our experienced and caring staff will work hard to ensure that you find a piece that commemorates you and your uniqueness. We carry a range of ruby options, and can custom make the exact item you’ve been dreaming of. Happy Birthday to all our friends this month. We have been West Central Minnesota’s family jeweler understands how meaningful birthstone jewelry can be. That is why we work hard to provide you with exceptional quality garnet jewelry you can be proud of. Choose from our in-stock selection, or chat with our master jeweler to customize the perfect, one-of-a-kind ring, pendant, earrings, bracelets, or other unique piece. We hope that all our friends and neighbors celebrating a birth this month have an exceptional one. We are your full-service jeweler in West Central Minnesota since 1926, and we pride ourselves on our service to generations of customers. Stop by today and see what Paffrath can do for you.