by Ann Hudson
July's birthstones bring rich reds and oranges to the birthstone jewelry world. Rubies and carnelians are the traditional July birthstone options, and both lovely gems make bold statements in birthstone jewelry selections such as rings, necklaces, earrings and pins. The ruby ranges in hue from pink to deep red and is symbolic of passion, love and strong emotion. The carnelian is typically bright rust orange, but it can also be red or light orange and is believed to give the wearer serene feelings. Both rubies and carnelians are stunning when set into July birthstone jewelry pieces.
Hardness. When it comes to durability, the ruby is only surpassed by the diamond and moissanite. Rubies rate a 9 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, making them ideal gemstones to wear in everyday jewelry such as necklaces and rings. Carnelian is slightly softer and rates a 7 on the same scale, but it is still quite durable and well-suited for use in a variety of carnelian jewelry selections.
Color. Ruby jewelry is typically known for bold red hues. These gems can vary in hue from vivid red shades with orange or purple undertones to pink hues that sparkle like diamonds. Carnelians also come in a range of hues. Orange carnelian is bright and fiery, while red carnelian can resemble rubies on occasion. Lighter, subtler shades of carnelian are also available, including yellow and peach tones. Choose carnelian jewelry with colors that appeal to you personally
Geography. Carnelians are mainly mined in India and have ties to Indian culture. Rubies are mined primarily in Kenya, the United States, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Thailand. Rubies mined in Myanmar tend to possess the most desirable red hues and are highly sought after.
Identification. The ruby is a form of the mineral corundum. Red garnets are often mistaken for rubies, and sometimes only gemologists can tell the difference. When a stone's mineralogical mix is closely studied, a trained eye can spot a true ruby. Carnelians are from the chalcedony family, along with agate, onyx and aventurine.
Qualities. Rubies are highly valued for their durability, which makes them perfect for family heirlooms. Rubies are typically rated on their color and hue saturation, with deep red stones garnering the most approval. Carnelians typically have a high level of color saturation and are often cut into cabochons to show off their beautiful hues.
Fun facts. Carnelians are prized by individuals who practice crystal therapy. Many believe that carnelians can help align the creative, sexual and emotional centers in the body. One of the world's largest rubies was found in Beijing, China, in 2005. It is owned by the Beijing Fugui Tianshi Jewelry company and weighs 8,184 grams. Ruby jewelry so often suffers from a case of mistaken identity that even English royalty couldn't tell the difference between rubies and spinels. A 170-carat spinel, mistakenly named the Black Prince Ruby, has been a part of the Crown Jewels of England for centuries.