Birthstones Education Gemstones

Ruby the birthstone of July

Ruby, the Birthstone of July and the boldest of colored stones. Historically minded in Thailand and Burma, with the latter yielding the more desirable stones, the ruby is the most precious gemstone behind the illustrious Diamond. The deep reds of a Burmese ruby represent all of man’s most fiery emotions; love, anger, desire and power. But man’s desire for these beautiful stones goes much deeper than just their rarity and looks, Indian Folklore tells us the owner of a Ruby will live in peace and concord with all those around them and will live a life free from evil thoughts.

Rubies are composed of mineral corundum and are one of a few verities of gem quality corundum based stones. The differences in these stones comes from trace amounts of other minerals resulting a color change. In the case of rubies that mineral is chromium, the main factor in the color of the precious and beautiful gemstone. None red colored corundum gemstones are sapphires, which can come in many colors, though most often people think of blue.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is lucky enough to have one of the world’s largest and finest rubies, the 23.1 carat Carmen Lucia Ruby. It is a Burmese ruby set in a platinum ring with trillion cut diamond side stones. The ruby was donated by Peter Buck a businessman and philanthropist in memory of his wife who is also the name sake of the stone. It is on permanent display in the museum’s Gem Collection. As if Burmese rubies over 20 carats where not rare enough this ruby can also boast its exceptional quality. The Carmen Lucia Ruby has a very rich saturated homogeneous color and is exceptionally clean of internal imperfections. The stone was minded from the fabled Mogo region of Burma in the 1930s.

The Carmen Lucia Ruby Featured in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is among a select few who has a large high quality ruby crystal mineral specimen. As desired and valuable as cut ruby gemstones are there is little chance for mineral specimens to make it to the market let alone make it to a museum. The Hixon Ruby is one of the collections most well-known pieces. At a 196.10 carats the Hixon ruby is a remarkable find. It was donated in 1978 by Colonel Frederick Hixon.

"The Hixon ruby", crystal, corundum ruby. From Mogok, Sagaing, Myanmar. Los Angeles Country Museum of Natural History catalog # 20331. (Hixon collection).
“The Hixon ruby” on display in the Natural History of Museum of Los Angeles County

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