_ Prized through the ages, even by kings, as the "gem of gems, surpassing all other precious stones in virtue," and today's birthstone for July, ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum. Historically, it has been symbolic of love and passion, considered to be an aid to firm friendship, and believed to ensure beauty. Its color ranges from purplish or bluish red to a yellowish red. The finest color is a vivid, almost pure spectral red with a very faint undertone of blue, as seen in Burmese rubies, which are considered the finest. The ruby is a brilliant stone and is very hard, durable, and wearable. Ruby make an unusually fine choice for any piece of jewelry.
Translucent varieties of ruby are also seen, and one variety exhibits a six-ray star effect when cut as a cabochon. This variety is called star ruby and is one of natures most beautiful and interesting gifts to man.