The birthstone for July is ruby, whose vibrant red hue perfectly encapsulates the spirit of this sultry summer month, when days are long, hot, and intense. These rich red gemstones, known as "the heart of mother Earth," are versatile and elegant, and have long been associated with passion, prosperity, and protection.
Rubies have been treasured by everyone from ancient warriors and Hindus to the Chinese, who revere the "lucky" colour red, since they were formed deep beneath the earth's crust 500 million years ago - an amazing feat of nature involving intense heat and pressure. They're still a favourite of A-listers like Jennifer Garner and Gigi Hadid, and they're frequently seen on the aptly named "red carpet." Much has been written about their talismanic properties: in ancient times, warriors wore them into battle, and they were frequently placed beneath the foundations of buildings to protect those who lived and worked there.
Rubies are regarded as a fashionable alternative and complement to diamonds. They sit beautifully alongside their colourless counterparts, in bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings, and also hold their own in a statement piece: the Sandy Leong x Gemfields Halo ring, featuring a large, striking Gemfields' Mozambican ruby, is one perfect example. They range in colour from orangey to bluish reds, with pure intense, or even fluorescent, red gemstones being the most sought after.
There is no better way to add a playful element to an outfit while also harnessing the power of colour than by incorporating coloured gemstones. Rubies are ideal for adding a splash of fiery red fun and glamour to any outfit.
Coloured gemstones, particularly rubies, are an excellent way to make a strong personal statement.To that end, the Francis de Lara x Gemfields Safari Sunset Bloom Ring, which features petal-shaped rubies in a flower formation, exudes confidence as well as concern for the environment. The AYA x Gemfields Chete ring, on the other hand, is understated and ideal for stacking.
Gemfields is a world-leading miner of responsibly mined coloured gemstones and the majority owner of the most significant recently discovered ruby deposit: Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM) in Mozambique, where rubies were first discovered in 2009 and where some of the world's largest and most exceptional rubies have originated, including an extraordinary pair that were recently auctioned off.
When it comes to purchasing rubies, there are "6 Cs" to keep in mind. Diamonds have traditionally been measured and defined by the famous "4 Cs" - colour, cut, clarity, and carat - and with rubies, two more are added to the mix, character and certification, in recognition of the many subtle features of coloured gemstones. Each ruby has its own set of values and personality, making the purchasing process both fascinating and personal.
Top buying tips include looking for evenness of colour and saturation, viewing a gem in daylight, and accepting inclusion as part of a gemstone's unique character. The most important rule, however, is to simply follow your heart and choose the ruby that you fall in love with.
Photo courtesy of IStock.