July Birthstones

Birthstones for the Month of July

There is no escaping the spirit world. The spirit dwells in the water that you drink and bathe with, in the air you breathe, in the heat of the sun and in the light of the moon and in the gemstones that you decorate your body with. Gemstones are connected with the spirit world since humanity first ‘discovered’ them.

Gemstones are linked with the moving stars and clusters of stars today known as planets and the zodiac in the heavens.

Prior to 1912, onyx was the birthstone for July. Since then it has been replaced by the ruby. Today, Onyx together with turquoise have become the alternative birthstones for the month of July.

The color of the stone is important. Ruby has been treasured since ancient times. It was considered sacred due to its exquisite red color. It is a rare gemstone with a hardness of 9 on the Mohs Scale. It occurs as a flat tabular hexagonal crystal shape. It is of the corundum family.

Since rubies were highly esteemed and valued, many other red colored gemstones were mistaken as rubies, two of them being the red spinel and the rhodolite garnets. One characteristic that distinguishes rubies from other red gemstones is the rutile needle inclusions found in them. In some very rare occasion, ruby occurs with a six-pointed star called an asterism which is visible to the naked eye.

In Asia, the ruby was known as the King of Precious Stones due to its fiery red color that resembles blood. It was believed that this fire inside the stone carried mystical powers. Burmese warriors embedded rubies in their skin to make them invincible in battle. Hindus believed that rubies could ward off evil, treat inflammation and give a boost of sexual power. Both men and women would rub a ruby on their skin in the belief that this would improve their mental and physical health.

The glowing red of ruby signifies blood and the power of life. It is believed since ancient times that it bestows good health, wealth, wisdom, fertility and passion in love.

Ruby is derived from the Latin RUBER meaning RED. Ruby as well as sapphire and emerald are variations of the mineral aluminium oxide which is found in the corundum family. The red in rubies is obtained from the element chromium. Thus, the more chromium present in a ruby, the deeper the red tone of the gemstone.

In essence, the deeper the red, the higher the value of the ruby gemstone. The highest quality are the ones known as Pigeon’s Blood which can only be found in Myanmar and Thailand.

There are different types of rubies sold on the gemstone market today. Fracture-filled rubies are the most affordable. Heat-treated ones are more costly but still affordable. Natural and untreated rubies are rare and often bought as an investment or as a collector’s item.

Since ancient times Kings adorned their heads and body and weapons with precious rubies, believing that this act alone would grant them vitality, fearlessness, energy, passion and power. They also believed that the fiery red color in the gemstone would bring them success, wealth, love and victory. In ancient China rubies were placed beneath the foundation of important buildings believing that this would bring them good luck and fortune.

Astrologically, Cancer (June 22 – July 22) gemstones are emerald, pearl, moonstone and ruby. Onyx is linked with the zodiac sign Leo which is from July 23rd to August 23rd.

Onyx derives its name from the Greek ONYX, ONYCHOS which means Fingernail.

This is in reference to the Greek story of cupid who upon finding his mother Venus asleep on the river bank, cut her fingernails with one of his sharp arrowheads. These clippings became stones which resembled flesh-colored onyx with white bands.

Onyx is the parallel banded variety of silicate mineral chalcedony. Agate and onyx are varieties of the banded chalcedony. The only difference is that the onyx has parallel bands while agate has concentric bands.

Onyx has a hardness ranging from 6.5 - 7 on the Mohs scale. It has a waxy to dull luster and is typically opaque. When cut and polished, it is typically free from inclusions. It has a fluorescence that varies according to the bands, moderately strong in yellow to blue-white.

Most often, Onyx is identified by its black base and white upper layer with parallel bandings. However, it can be solid pitch black too. These are often dyed. Varieties may show red, brown, yellow and blue layers. The most familiar onyx is black and white-banded. This is also known as "true" or "Arabic onyx".

Throughout history, onyx is believed to bring powers of protection and the reduction of sexual desires. It absorbs and transforms negative energy and strengthens emotional well-being.

It is said that Cleopatra wore black onyx for its protective features as it could sense negative energy and would vibrate thus alerting the queen of potential danger.

It is believed that a spirit is trapped in onyx and that at night it comes out like a playful little gnome who conjures visions of terrors in the dreams of its wearer.

Onyx was used in ancient times to control and restrain demons. It also protects the wearer against the works of black magic.

Turquoise is derived from the French word TURQUOISE meaning TURKISH STONE because this sacred stone was first introduced to Europe via Turkey.

Turquoise is a sky-blue, blue-green or apple-green translucent to opaque basic aluminum phosphate that contains copper. However, it is generally waxy to sub-vitreous and is usually opaque.

Turquoise has a hardness ranging from 5 to 6 on the Mohs scale. It has a weak, green-yellow, light-blue fluorescence.

For centuries, turquoise has been a sacred stone for many ancient civilizations and cultures such as the ancient Egyptians, the Mesoamericans, Persians, Mesopotamians, the Incas, people of the Indus Valley and ancient Chinese.

The ancient Egyptians used turquoise as an amulet for good luck and for protection against illnesses, demons and misfortune. The death mask of King Tutankhamun was studded with turquoise. One of the most important deities of Egyptian pantheon was Goddess Hathor. She was called the Lady of Turquoise, Mistress of Turquoise and Lady of Turquoise Country.

Turquoise was incredibly valued by the Aztecs, the ancient Mexican civilisation. They called this stone Chalchihuitl meaning a “precious stone.” It was used to make ornate masks dedicated to their gods, inlaid skulls, shields, knife handles, mirrors and other relics of utmost importance and spiritual historical value like the skull representing the god Tezcatlipoca, the creator god of both the Aztecs and Toltecs.

Like the Aztecs, the Pueblo, Navajo and Apache nations of North America cherished turquoise as a powerful charm stone. Turquoise was used to enhance their hunting skills and was set in the arrows of the archer as it was believed that it could aim with deadly precision at its intended target.

Turquoise is highly prized by Tibetans for its alleged healing properties. It is said to promote fertility, wellbeing and prosperity. It is still used for pain release today.

Turquoise has been put on the third eye of buddha statues, denoting the prophetic insight of this sacred stone.

Finally, to clean your precious July gemstones simply use soapy water and dry it with a soft cloth. Remember to rinse well in order to remove any soapy residue that might be left in your beautiful gemstones.

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