Category Archives: July Birthstone

The Great Masquerade

The story of the Black Prince’s Ruby and the Timur Ruby of the Crown Jewels of England both being enormous spinels is not new. The great deception was merely a case of misidentification and misunderstanding. It was always known that the two gems were “balas rubies,” i.e. rubies from Balascia: the ancient Latin name of…

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Not All Things Are What They Seem

Ruby gets the lion’s share of attention when it comes to red gems. But there is one red gemstone that has made a career out of being mistaken for ruby. The finest specimens can stand up to just about any ruby that’s ever been mined in color and clarity. It’s actually considerably rarer than ruby…

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Carnelian

Carnelian is the trade name for chalcedony with warm primary colors. While carnelian is traditionally a solid shade of red or orange, “carnelian” has become an encompassing term in the trade that can include sardonyx, which is banded red, orange, yellow, and white chalcedony, and sard: a loose term from Antiquity usually denoting a darker,…

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Chromium – The High End of Color

Since we’re in July, and I’ve been talking about rubies lately, I thought I’d cover a very important part of what makes ruby burn with such crimson glory: literally, what makes a ruby a ruby. There is some science involved; some parts of consumer education are more complex than others, but don’t be afraid. It’s…

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Corundum Conundrum – Ruby vs Pink Sapphire

There’s an old adage in the jewelry industry: “If you’re the seller, it’s a ruby; if you’re the buyer, it’s a pink sapphire.” The world of colored gemstones is by no means as highly organized or regulated as is the world of diamonds. By comparison, diamonds are fairly simple and straightforward. Colored gemstones comprise the…

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Ruby Sourcing

Next month marks a year since President Obama handed down a 12-month extension to the ban on gemstones exported from Burma. Why is that important to a jeweler in Indiana? Well, Burma (Myanmar) is historically the source of the finest rubies and jadeite in the world. The jewelry market has been starving for legitimate access…

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Ruby – July Birthstone

The moniker “The King of Gemstones” sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it? Do you think it belongs to diamond? It doesn’t; ruby got that name when diamonds were still largely unmined and unusable as gemstones because the technology did not exist to fashion them. The phrase actually comes from the Sanskrit word for ruby: ratnaraj. Anything…

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