Ruby, Carnelian and Onyx-Oh my, July

How many birthstones does one month need? Apparently if you’re July, quite a few! I used to think that ruby was the only stone for July, but once I started digging around, I found a few more. Fortunately, the other stones are considerably cheaper than rubies, (although no less attractive) so you can have a lovely piece of birthstone jewellry without selling your firstborn.

Rubies have been treasured for thousands of years throughout countless cultures. In ancient Burma, it was believed that a ruby inserted into the flesh would render one invulnerable, (Can’t you just wear it instead?!) Throughout the ages rubies have been thought to bring peace and prosperity to those who wear them as well as offer protection from plague and pestilence, sad thoughts and frightening dreams.

Ruby is a stone for the base chakra where it stimulates the life-force and helps us meet our needs and manifest our desires. It can also help to activate the kundalini in meditation. It grants confidence , passion and a lust for life.

Ruby is the red form of corundum. (All other colours are known as sapphire.) It has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, making it second only to diamond. It is one of the four precious stones, the others being diamond, emerald and sapphire. Much of the ruby on the market is enhanced in some way, either through dying or heat treating. Some rubies contain rutile which produces asterism in the form of a cat’s eye or star effect. Genuine rubies have imperfections in them which helps distinguish them from lab created. I think the imperfections just make them more interesting, kinda like humans!

I’m a silver person, so I like rubies in silver, but they do look very regal in gold. Indian jewellry in gold and rubies looks exotic and rich, like what a maharani would wear. Since they’re so tough, you can use them in almost anything.

Carnelian has also been worn throughout history to help the timid become bold and courageous. It was worn by warriors to give them the physical strength to defeat their enemies. This is a stone for the second or sacral chakra where it encourages us to take action in our lives toward manifesting what we want, instead of waiting around for something to happen.

Carnelian is a form of chalcedony which is microcrystalline quartz. The colour comes from iron oxide and carnelian can vary in colour from orange to red to deep reddish-brown. It has a hardness of 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale and can be used in just about any piece of jewellry you like. I think carnelian looks stunning with turquoise in a silver setting, which shows off the two vibrant stones to great advantage. It is also beautiful on its own in a simple setting, especially if you can find a translucent piece that has depth.

Onyx, which is a black and white banded chalcedony, has been used since ancient times to make cameos, stamps, seals and stone inlays. It was used on swords, shields and armour for strength and protection. In some cultures, it was considered to be a bad luck stone causing sadness, despondency and anger. Over time, it has been recognized as a stone that helps to integrate the dualities within, and is a stone of great strength. Onyx is a stone for the root chakra and promotes willpower, self-mastery and discipline. (We can all use a little more of those!)

I love onyx for its bold black and white banding which looks fantastic with silver. Plain black onyx is also beautiful, especially in silver settings with a patina. Gold is another option for the plain onyx, but I think it would detract from the banded. And finally, try the black onyx with copper for a really striking combination that is very earthy and bold.

So, whatever your price range, there is a July stone just waiting for you to create something beautiful with it!