Ruby and Onyx, the Birthstones for July

THE ULTIMATE BIRTHSTONE GUIDES

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The Birthstones of July: Ruby and Onyx

Good news for July-born individuals: you have not one but two birthstones! July celebrates both the dazzling Ruby and the enigmatic Onyx. While Ruby is the most recognized for both modern and traditional titles, Onyx holds a timeless charm of its own. In this post, we’ll dive deep into the captivating history of these birthstones, exploring their unique features and sharing fascinating fun facts. Get ready to discover the magic of Ruby and Onyx!

Isolated Loose July Birthstones Red Ruby and Black Onyx

Ever wonder why some months have multiple birthstones while others have just one or even three? The reason lies in the distinction between modern and traditional birthstones.

Modern birthstones, the more commonly known variety, were officially designated by the Jewelers of America in the 1950s. These are the gemstones most people recognize today. Traditional birthstones, on the other hand, were widely accepted in the early 20th century and even earlier. However, many of these traditional gems have become rare and less available in today’s market.

As a result, some months feature modern birthstones that differ from their traditional counterparts. For July, this means celebrating both the vibrant Ruby and the mysterious Onyx, each bringing its own unique beauty and history to the table.

Eager to uncover more about the captivating world of birthstones? Dive deeper with our Ultimate Birthstone Guide!

The Radiance of Rubies

For those born in July, the modern birthstone is the magnificent Ruby. The name “ruby” is derived from the Latin word “rubeus,” meaning “red.” Over time, this evolved into “rubinus” in Medieval Latin, “rubi” in Old French, and finally, “ruby” in English.

In Ancient Sanskrit, ruby is called “ratnaraj,” which translates to “king of precious stones.” So, July babies, you can proudly claim that your birthstone is indeed the most precious!

Isolated Ruby Gemstone Ring July Birthstone Feature Image

Rubies are one of the four most famous and precious gemstones, standing alongside emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds. Known for their blood-red color, rubies belong to the corundum gem family, which also includes sapphires.

There are no other colors of rubies in the world in existence besides red and pink.

Rubies exist only in shades of red and pink. Their vibrant red hue is due to the presence of chromium. The more chromium in the stone, the redder it appears. In some cases, high chromium levels can give the ruby a deep red color with hints of purple or blue under certain lighting conditions. Ironically, chromium also contributes to the rarity of rubies, as it causes fissures and cracks within the gemstone. This chemical paradox makes high-quality rubies in large sizes extremely rare, driving their value even higher than that of diamonds.

Ruby Gemstone Ring in Box Feature Image
Raw Uncut Ruby Gemstone July Birthstone Feature Image

Delving into the history of rubies, one of the oldest known sources is Myanmar. Other significant sources include Vietnam, India, East Africa, the Middle East, Thailand, and the United States. Each region produces unique varieties of rubies, with five major types being the Burmese ruby, Thai ruby, Mozambique ruby, Madagascar ruby, and Tanzanian ruby, all highly prized in jewelry.

Throughout history, these radiant red gemstones have been associated with good fortune, health, wisdom, and success in love, particularly in Medieval Europe. Some believe rubies possess healing powers, protecting their owners from harm and illness. These powers were thought to include regenerating the physical and spiritual heart, enhancing circulation, and strengthening immunity for both body and mind. While these beliefs are ancient, the ruby remains one of the strongest gemstones, second only to the diamond.

Embrace the rich history and symbolism of rubies, a gemstone that has captivated hearts and minds for centuries.

Emeralds, though stunning, are the softest and most delicate of the precious gemstones, with a hardness rating of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale. While this hardness is generally adequate for jewelry, emeralds often contain inclusions and fractures that may reach the surface, increasing their susceptibility to brittleness and breakage. This is especially crucial to remember if your emerald is set in high-impact pieces like rings or bracelets, which typically endure more wear and tear due to their placement on the hands and wrists.

Taking proper care of emeralds is vital. Most emeralds are treated with oil, and sometimes resin, to enhance their appearance by masking imperfections and boosting their color. To clean your emeralds, simply rinse them in warm water and pat dry with a soft cloth. Avoid using chemicals, heat, or ultrasonic cleaners, as harsh cleaning methods can remove the oil treatment from the gemstone. Should the oil be stripped, some jewelers offer re-oiling services to restore their luster.

For more in-depth advice on the care and repair of emerald jewelry, or to learn more about emerald gemstones, be sure to check out our Ultimate Emerald Guide.

The enchanting Agate, a traditional birthstone of May, traces its roots back to ancient Greece and Rome. This gemstone’s name originates from its first known location of mining, the Achates River in Sicily, over 3000 years ago.

Agates set themselves apart from other crystal gemstones by their uniqueness—no two stones are alike. As a variety of Chalcedony, which belongs to the Quartz family, agates exhibit a micro-crystalline, compact form. To qualify as an agate, the stone must display distinctive banding or wavy patterns of vein bands within the mineral rock. The clarity and sharpness of these bands significantly enhance the stone’s value.

Isolated Onyx Gemstone Ring July Birthstone Feature Image

Fire Agate Ring

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.

Agates dazzle in a spectrum of colors including green, red, yellow, blue, pink, brown, white, black, and even translucent and fluorescent hues. Each stone’s unique coloration and patterning arise from mineral traces such as iron, nickel, chromium, titanium oxides, among others. Despite their varied appearance, some patterns recur, such as the Fire Agate, Eye Agate, and Iris Agate, each with its own distinct allure.

Found in cavities within eruptive rocks or ancient lavas, agates are a global phenomenon, cherished for their incredible diversity and natural beauty.

Gold Onyx Gemstone Earrings July Birthstone Feature Image
Raw Uncut Onyx Gemstone July Birthstone Feature Image

Agates are not just beautiful natural gems; they are powerful symbols of courage, protection, strength, and balance. Known for their transformative properties, agates can convert negative energy into positive, bringing a soothing and calming presence. Like emeralds, agates are celebrated for their healing qualities, particularly in soothing inner anger and alleviating anxiety. Both agates and emeralds are reputed to foster harmony in relationships.

The fascinating history of agates stretches back to Ancient China, where these stones were once believed to be fossilized horse brains or the remnants of blood spilled in battles. During the Renaissance, the allure of agates surged as collecting agate cups became a prestigious hobby among the elite. This storied past highlights the enduring allure and mystical qualities of agates, making them a treasure in both historical and modern contexts.

Agates are impressively durable, boasting a hardness of 6.5 to 9 on the Mohs scale. For context, consider quartz, which ranks between 7 and 7.5 and is commonly found in household dust. This seemingly innocuous dust can strip the polish off your table and the finish from your car due to its hardness. At the top of the scale is the diamond, with a maximum hardness of 10, while the softest mineral, talc, can be scratched by a mere fingernail. Understanding these hardness levels is crucial for properly caring for your agate jewelry, ensuring that it remains free from scratches and retains its lustrous beauty.

Though generally more affordable, agates are nonetheless stunning and make exceptional centerpiece stones for any type of jewelry. Their rich colors and unique patterns ensure that agate jewelry remains a favorite for those seeking both beauty and durability in their adornments.

Loose Onyx Gemstones July Birthstone Featured Image

Originally Published July 7, 2022, Updated and Expanded June 14th, 2024

Bring Back the Brilliance: Restore Your Lost Birthstone Treasure

Thinking about bringing a cherished birthstone piece back to life? You’re not just replacing a gem, you’re rekindling precious memories.

Imagine the joy of gifting (or gifting yourself!) a fully restored Ruby or Onyx jewel, sparkling like new. No more loose stones or scratches dimming its fire. Here at My Jewelry Repair, we specialize in breathing new life into your treasured pieces.

Our team of expert gemologists meticulously sources the perfect gem to match your jewelry’s unique character. We understand that every gemstone holds a story, and we treat yours with the utmost care.

Don’t let a missing stone dim the brilliance of your memories. Visit our Gemstone Replacement Services page today and discover how we can restore your Ruby or Onyx to its former glory. Let the sparkle tell your story once again!

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Have Questions?

What is My Birthstone?

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!

Where Can I Get Clean & Polishing Services For My Ruby or Onyx Birthstone?

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.”

How Can I Repair My Birthstone's Setting?

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.”

Where Can I Get a Gemstone Replacement?

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.”

Explore the Magic of Our Gemstone Services!

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