July Birthstone: One of the Toughest of Them All
The gemstone ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, the second hardest natural mineral known to mankind. Ruby has been associated with the values of love, success, integrity, passion, and promise.
All colors of corundum other than red are called sapphire. The red color in ruby is caused by trace amounts of the element chromium. The premium shade of red for ruby is dark red, but ruby can be any shade of red up to almost pink.
Rubies come from all over the world but the best are found at Thailand, India, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, North Carolina in the U.S., Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, Kampuchea, and perhaps most notably, Burma. Like most gemstones from the antiquities, ruby is one of the Biblestones. In Exodus, the breastplate of Aaron is described as containing a "sardius," the ancient name for ruby.