July is the turning point of the calendar year, marking a successful first six months as well as the beginning of a new one. It’s also a time of celebration for those who have their birthday in the seventh month of the year – if you feel like spoiling them, why not surprise them with a gift from our jewellery range?

Every star needs a good back story, so here we are to take look at the ruby, the birthstone of July and what makes it so special.

Rubies – A gem destined to last 

The ruby is part of a group of gems known as ‘corundum’, which also includes the sapphire. This special category is known for ranking highly on the Moh’s hardness scale. The ruby scores a 9/10 – meaning that it is incredibly tough and durable. The rating puts it just under a diamond in terms of hardness, which is an excellent quality to have.

“Hardness in a gemstone will determine the degree to which it will show wear, which is often referred to as wearability, which is why hardness and wearability go hand in hand,” explains the International Gem Society (IGS).

The IGS continues that due its hardness, a ruby will “remain bright and lustrous for years”.

Something a little special 

The purest corundum gems, interestingly, have no colour, with the ruby owing its radiant scarlet hue to trace elements such as chromium that work their way into the crystal structure, according to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

In addition, ruby fetches one of the highest prices of all the coloured gems, says the GIA. The Institute goes on to explain that the ‘red glow’ of the stone is due to its red fluorescence – the more chromium that is present in its makeup, the stronger the colour will be.

The cream of the crop

So how can you identify a good quality ruby? According to the American Gem Society, it has a lot to do with the colour of the gem itself. The most precious ruby specimens are known for having a hue that is “medium or medium dark vivid red or slightly purplish red”.

In terms of weight, or carat, the GIA tells us that it is incredibly rare to find a fine quality ruby over one carat, meaning that the price increases significantly with the weight of the gem.