Rubies, Sapphires, Emeralds
Pearls, Onyx and Moonstones are all July Birthstones!
Brilliant, red rubies are popularly considered the birthstone for the month of July. However, many people who do not wear the color red, may not realize that there are also alternate birthstone choices that appear on modern, traditional, zodiac and ancient birthstone lists. Although many women love the color red, others may prefer a different choice. Bernardine Fine Art Jewelry has compiled a list of birthstones that combines all the different alternatives. For the month of July, their list includes the ruby, as well as onyx, moonstones, emeralds, colored sapphires and pearls.
What is a Ruby?
We usually think of rubies as being deep, blood red in color. They are often associated with passion, love and nobility. Ancient Hindus believed wearing a ruby would protect the wearer from evil.
Although we frequently assume that all rubies are red, they can also come in shades of pink. However, if the stone is too pale, it is usually called a pink sapphire, rather than a ruby. The stone is made of the mineral corundum (also called aluminum oxide). The presence of the element chromium causes the red coloring. The deeper the red, and clearer the stone, the more valuable it will be. Rubies are quite hard, with a rating of 9.0 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Only moissanite and diamonds are harder. All natural rubies will have some slight imperfections in them. If a stone does not have any inclusions, or imperfections, they are assumed to be synthetic or simulated rubies. Synthetic rubies have been around since about 1837.
What is Onyx?
Most of the time, onyx is thought of as a black stone. However, onyx is actually a banded type of chalcedony stone. The different bands can vary in color from white to many other colors, including black. In fact, the most common color of onyx is almost flesh tone. The name onyx actually means fingernail. Onyx has long been used in carvings and jewelry. It was used at least as early as ancient dynasties ofEgyptand in Minoan Crete. If you select an item of onyx jewelry, it is almost certain to be black in color.
What are Emeralds?
Emeralds are actually the mineral beryl that develops a green tone because of small amounts of chromium or vanadium. They are much softer than diamonds and rubies, ranking 7.5 to 8 on the hardness scale, For an emerald to be considered a high quality stone, it not only must be a deep, dark green, but it also must be transparent. Like rubies, it is also possible to purchase synthetic or created emeralds.
What are Moonstones?
Moonstones are an opaque, radiant type of feldspar. They are available in many different colors including grey, white, blue, pink, green and brown. Ancient Romans and Greeks connected this stone to lunar goddesses and gods, thus the name moonstone. The color is often almost pearly, which makes it a lovely alternate birthstone for someone who prefers pale, soft colors, rather than the intense shades of red and green such as you might get with a ruby or emerald.
Moonstones have been mined all over the world. In fact, if you live in the state ofFloridaor travel there, you may want to buy an item of moonstone jewelry, simply because the moonstone is the state gem forFlorida. Moonstone jewelry is widely available there.
What are Sapphires?
Sapphires are a gorgeous gemstone that is normally associated with the color blue. However, sapphires are also available in other colors, including yellow, pink, purple, orange or green. In fact, sapphires are closely connected to rubies. A red sapphire is called a ruby – the July birthstone! Therefore, any color of sapphire can be a suitable alternative birthstone for someone born in the month of July.
Sapphires are quite hard, and are very practical for use in jewelry. They resist erosion so well that it is not unusual to find them in areas where very abrasive stones can be found, such as in sediment deposits and rock formations. Sapphires, like other common precious stones, can also be manufactured.
What are Pearls?
Pearls have been lovingly enjoyed for thousands of years. Natural pearls, from wild oysters, were often used in jewelry, and sewn onto clothing for thousands of years. Natural pearls are so treasured, that they can be found in the crown jewels of many European countries
Natural pearls from wild oysters come in many different sizes, shapes and colors, although ideally they should be smooth and round. Sadly, natural pearls in the wild are actually quite rare. As a result, pearl farms now exist where oysters are “encouraged” to grow beautiful, perfect cultured pearls. The development of this farming system for cultured pearls has made it possible for many more women to own a strand of luxurious cultured pearls. Since cultured pearls are grown inside living oysters and mussels, they are considered real pearls. The advantage of this farming system has been to make pearls much more affordable.
If you choose to wear pearls, be careful with them. They can easily be damaged by vinegar or weak acid solutions. Never spray them with perfume, hairspray or other chemicals.
Choosing the Best Birthstone for Your Loved One
Since the Ruby is normally considered the birthstone for the month of July, this is the stone you should buy if a woman you love asks for an item of birthstone jewelry. However, if she seems uncertain about what jewelry she would like to wear, you might suggest some of these alternatives to her. Many women are delighted to know that they have a choice.
Where to Buy Birthstone Jewelry
Most of the stones on this list are pretty consistent in color. Therefore you can purchase rubies, sapphires, emeralds, onyx and pearls from a website, and feel very confident about what you are purchasing. You can also find jewelry made from all these stones, except perhaps onyx and moonstones, in most fine jewelry stores. Onyx is considered a semi-precious stone, and your choices in stores will be more limited. If you wish to purchase onyx jewelry, you may have a better selection online.
Buying Jewelry Online
When you purchase jewelry online, remember that you are buying natural stones. Each one is unique and they will vary somewhat from what you see online. If you are uncomfortable with these natural variations, you may be better off buying your jewelry in person in a store.
Source for alternate birthstone selections: bernardine.com/birthstone
Source for information about specific stones: wikipedia.com
Source for photos of finished birthstone jewelry: amazon.com
Source for meaning of birthstones: zales.com and almanac.com
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