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The Color, Symbolism, & Meaning of a Ruby

The July birthstone is a bright red ruby. It lies in stark contrast to June’s birthstone, the understated and elegant pearl. A ruby is thought to inspire energy, action, and passion—a far cry from a pearl, which is all about calm and intuition. Ruby’s potent energy, however, might be just what you need if you’re looking for a renewed sense of vitality to carry you through the month (or beyond).

Properties of the July birthstone: the energetic and exuberant ruby

  • Birthstone color: Red
  • Element: Fire
  • Planet: Mars
  • Chakra: Heart and root chakra
  • Origin: Varied

Rubies are made of the mineral corundum, and they are a close relative of September’s birthstone, the sapphire. Both are formed under high pressures and temperatures deep below the earth’s surface, but the ruby’s red hue, which they get from the mineral chromium, sets it apart from sapphire, which comes in all but the color red. Given their dazzling beauty, rubies are among the most sought-after gemstones, alongside sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds. Not only are they beautiful, they are also hardy, with a Mohs hardness score just a point below the diamond, which tops the charts. Rubies are found in various parts of the world, including Vietnam, Thailand, Africa, and the United States, and “the best rubies are from India and Burma [or Myanmar],” says integrative medicine and crystal expert Elizabeth Trattner, AP, DOM, the owner of wellness center The Helia House.

Birthstone meaning and symbolism of ruby

Rubies have long been associated with protection and prosperity. In ancient China and Burma, warriors wore it as a means of protection, says crystal expert and Reiki master Laura Ellis, while in Hindu culture, it is regarded as the “king of gemstones” and it was thought that those who offered rubies to the god Krishna would be born as emperors in their next life. Rubies have also been linked to passion and vitality, in part because of its supposed color resemblance to our blood and beating hearts.

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“The red color signifies life force, and so [ruby] helps people tune into their own spaces of creation—be that creative projects or new ways of being in the world,” says Reiki master and crystal healer Mariah K. Lyons, founder of ASTARA. “It also activates the life force within to help you move forward.” Ellis echoes this sentiment, and calls ruby a “revitalizing stone.” When you’re feeling uninspired and lack motivation, it can help you move forward with a renewed sense of perspective or follow through on your actions. And, if you’re experiencing an energy lull, rubies can help you reignite passion and drive. They are useful for escaping a rut too, helping to release stagnant energy so you can think up new solutions to get yourself unstuck.

In astrology, ruby relates to July-born Cancers and Leos, making it particularly useful for the zodiac signs, albeit in different ways. Rubies can encourage Cancerians to lean into their “queen essence,” says Lyons, allowing the mother of the zodiac to hone their maternal instincts that are key among Cancer traits. The stone can also serve as a grounding reminder for Cancer to take care of themselves, because while they are naturally giving, compassionate, and nurturing to others, they have an inclination to give too much at times. “As for the lion, [ruby] brings a very creative and passionate energy,” says Lyon, helping channel their inner fire purposefully, allow for the full expression of their truth, and enhance their shine. In other words, ruby will help bring out the very best Leo traits. All that said, anyone can harness the energizing powers of the July birthstone regardless of their zodiac and the month they were born.

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Lyons, Ellis, and Dr. Trattner also mention that ruby is connected with the root chakra, which is associated with stability and security, and the heart chakra, which, as its name implies, is linked to matters of the heart. The ruby can activate the root chakra to help one feel grounded in the energy and simultaneously remove energetic blocks. When it comes to the heart chakra, it helps wake up and inspire one’s passion, while also removing any blockages that may cause stagnation.

Does July have more than one birthstone?

Rubies might be considered as the primary birthstone for July, but traditionally, the stone onyx was associated with the month. According to Ellis, onyx is a grounding stone, helping one to stay present in their body and senses and hone their focus. She also says that it can also safeguard against negative energy and help one create or maintain healthy boundaries.

What are birthstones?

Birthstones are gemstones that represent a person’s birth month or zodiac sign. Their origins are believed to trace back to biblical times, and the first-century historian Flavius Josephus associated the 12 gemstones on Aaron’s breastplate in the Book of Exodus with the months of the year and the 12 zodiac signs. However, the custom of wearing an individual gem per month didn’t begin until around the 15th or 16th century in Germany or Poland. Birthstones are also found to have origins in Eastern Culture. The Ratna Pariksha, a fifth-century Hindu text, linked specific gems to deities, celestial bodies, and days of the week, while Vedic astrologers recommend certain gems to individuals based on their astrological birth chart.

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In 1912, the American Council Association of Jewelers (which is currently known as the Jewelers of America) created a standardized list of birthstones in the United States. This list was updated by the Jewelry Industry Council of America and later by The American Gem Trade Association to include new types of birthstones for certain months of the year.

An overview of the birthstones for every month of the year

Want to pick a crystal that corresponds to your birth month? Here’s a quick overview of the birthstones for every month of the year:

  • January Birthstone: Garnet
  • February Birthstone: Amethyst
  • March Birthstone: Aquamarine and Bloodstone
  • April Birthstone: Diamond
  • May Birthstone: Emerald
  • June Birthstone: Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone
  • July Birthstone: Ruby
  • August Birthstone: Peridot, Spinel, and Sardonyx
  • September Birthstone: Sapphire
  • October Birthstone: Opal and Tourmaline
  • November Birthstone: Topaz and Citrine
  • December Birthstone: Tanzanite, Turquoise, and Zircon

Frequently asked questions about the July birthstone

What is July’s birthstone and flower?

July’s birthstone is the red ruby or, traditionally, onyx, and the birth flower of July is the larkspur, or delphinium, which is thought to symbolize positivity.

What are the two birthstones for July?

The red ruby is currently the “primary” July birthstone, but the traditional birthstone of the month is the black onyx.

What are the characteristics of the birthstone of July?

The red ruby is an energetic stone that is thought to inspire energy, action, and passion, while the traditional July birthstone—the onyx—is a grounding stone that can also help safeguard against negative energy.

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