What gemstones are designated as July’s Birthstones? What are their meanings, symbolism, and origins? Learn more about the gemstones of July in this article.
July & Birthstones
July is the seventh month of the Gregorian calendar. It is summertime in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere. July used to be called Quintilis, before it was renamed to honor Roman general Julius Caesar. July’s birth flowers are the Larkspur or the Water Lily. Two zodiac signs share the month of July. They’re Cancer and Leo. In the US, Independence Day is celebrated on July 4th each year.
Birthstones are an age-old tradition and there are beliefs about what each gemstone’s properties and effects entail. Although these beliefs can’t be proven scientifically, they can certainly give you a positive psychological boost. One thing is certain, wearing or owning your special birthstone makes you feel good.
“Birthstone” is a broad term for any gemstone that represents one’s birthday, birth year, day of birth, zodiac sign, and birth month. Although the most popular birthstone for July is Ruby, it is important to understand that a birthstone list is flexible. At a different time or in a different culture, you’ll likely find that the birthstone for your birth month is entirely different. For the purpose of this article we’ve picked three birthstones for July: ruby, onyx, and turquoise. Let’s take a closer look at these marvelous July gems.
Above: Cut ruby. Credit: Amila Tennakoon @ Flickr
Ruby is the modern July birthstone. Its designation as a July gemstone and rise to popularity are relatively modern history. Without exaggeration, ruby is one of the most famous gemstones there is, alongside diamond, sapphire, and emerald.
While ruby is known for its blood-red color, it can also exist in pink. However, no other color ruby exists besides red and pink. The reason for this is simply a matter of definition. Ruby is defined as the red variety of gem family corundum. And corundum varieties of other colors are called sapphires. Gem-quality ruby is transparent but don’t let that from stopping you to collect this gorgeous red stone.
The name ruby traces its origin to Latin word rubeus which means ‘red.’ The word later became rubinus in Medieval Latin and subsequently rubi in Old French, before getting adopted as ruby in English.
As a gemstone with ancient history, ruby has meant different things to different people. But most commonly, ruby is a symbol of good fortune, wisdom, and health. Perhaps because of its signature red color, ruby is believed to have strong healing power. While ruby isn’t as hard as diamond, it is the hardest colored stone. For this reason, some believe that ruby can protect its owner from harm and illness.
Ruby is also said to be the stone of love and passion. Ruby’s red hue makes it one of the best gemstones that represent romance. Maybe that’s one of the factors why ruby is a popular engagement ring gem.
Above: Cross section of an onyx stone showing a beautiful “eye” pattern. Credit:
Robert M. Lavinsky @ Wikimedia
Onyx is a traditional July birthstone. Known as the black gemstone, onyx is a close sibling of agate. Both onyx and agate are banded varieties of chalcedony. Onyx’s banding is said to be parallel. A signature look of onyx is that of a black stone with white bands. However, the bands’ intensity and pattern can vary greatly depends on the formation of individual rocks and the cutting of the gemstones. The red variety of onyx is called sardonyx.
The July stone Onyx symbolizes strength, boldness, balance, and self-confidence. It represents the strength of the mind, making it an ideal stone for those who are (1) always looking for a challenge, and (2) in need of a confidence boost.
The black gemstone cleanses the body of negative energy after a long day at work and boosts one’s energy to face the next day with renewed vigor. Onyx is believed to bring a sense of fulfillment in work and life, making it an appropriate gift for anyone who is building a career or business.
As a semi-precious stone, onyx that is not gem-quality is sometimes made into flower vase and tableware.
Above: Turquoise from Nishapur, Iran. Credit: Sonia Sevilla @ Wikimedia
Turquoise is a spiritual July birthstone. It is a precious stone known for its unique colors that are in shades of blue-to-green. While ruby was named after the color red in Latin, turquoise took a different direction—a teal-like color is named after it.
Etymologically, turquoise was derived from French word turquois which means “Turkish” because the gemstone was brought to Europe from Persia through Turkey.
Turquoise symbolizes peace, happiness, calmness, and fluidity. Because of its color, the gemstone is believed to have an affinity to water and air. This means turquoise is connected to steady movement, flow, and progress. Naturally, this makes turquoise a powerful gemstone in one’s Feng Shui toolbox.
The July gem Turquoise is believed to be a stone of good luck and a protector stone that dispels negative energy. It is also said to bring peace, happiness, and health to its owner. Turquoise is commonly used for jewelry making: rings, earrings, necklaces, etc. Turquoise has been used by civilizations for thousands of years for its color, durability, and beauty.
It is reported that the ancient Egyptians used turquoise to treat ailments such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Some believe this stone can change color with mood or health. While the connection hasn’t been proved, it is true that turquoise can change color. This is because it is a porous stone and its composition which contains metals such as aluminum, copper, and iron—elements that could change color through oxidation and chemical reaction when exposed to other substances.
In conclusion, the tradition of birthstones have a rich history behind them and they can be much more than just gems for jewelry. These gemstones are the perfect gift for your and your loved ones in the month of their birth.
Birthstones by Month
January Birthstones | February Birthstones | March Birthstones | April Birthstones | May Birthstones | June Birthstones | July Birthstones | August Birthstones | September Birthstones | October Birthstones| November Birthstones | December Birthstones