July babies are lucky: their birthstone is the gorgeous ruby, which is not only a stunning gemstone second in durability only to the diamond, but also said to guarantee health, wisdom, and success in love! Perhaps that’s why it is also the traditional stone to celebrate 15th or 40th anniversaries. Though these stones are expensive, pawn shops in Northern VA regularly get ruby pieces in stock at more affordable prices than retailers.
Rubies (from the Latin rubens meaning red) are actually a variety of corundum, and fine quality examples of this stone are rare. Color—which comes from chromium—is the primary determinant of value, with medium or medium-dark reds (with a hint of blue) the most prized; once the stone has too much purple or orange, it is demoted to a fancy sapphire designation (sapphires are also derived from corundum, which is colorless and gains color through trace minerals).
An interesting fact about rubies is that they nearly all have flaws; to find one without is exceedingly rare and such a stone would command prices far beyond what a diamond of similar quality and weight would bring. It’s not surprising, then, that the Sanskrit word for ruby is “ratnaraj,” which roughly translates to “king of the gemstones.” Though through the beginning of the nineteenth century, garnets were mistakenly called rubies, only red corundum are actual rubies. Want to learn more? Stop in to Vienna Jewelry on Maple Avenue, and we’ll be happy to share!