Jeffrey M. Bertman
Graduate Gemologist

The mineral “corundum” is the crystalline form of aluminum oxide (Al2O3), which is a naturally clear and transparent material. However, the presence of impurities adds color to the mineral in ways that make for very enticing gemstones. For instance, consider ruby (July’s birthstone), whose red color is determined by the amount of chromium contained in the gemstone. On the other hand, sapphire, another form of aluminum oxide, derives its range of colors (blue, green, yellow, pink, and others) from iron and titanium impurities. When is corundum not sapphire? Onlywhen it is red, in which case it is called ruby. One notable exception THE RED CORUNDUM is “padparadscha,” which is the name of a rare, pinkish-orange sapphire found only in Sri Lanka. There’s no better way to show your love than by giving a ruby in celebration of a July birthday. Rubies rouse the senses, stir the imagination, and are said to guarantee health, wisdom, wealth and success in love.

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