Ruby; The King of Gems
July birthstone is Ruby, therefore I am going to share a brief background on rubies, the most coveted gemstone in history.
Ruby is from , a variety of the mineral corundum, same mineral as sapphire. Ruby is one of the traditional cardinal gems, together with sapphire, emerald, and diamond. The word ruby comes from ruber, Latin for red. The color of a ruby is due to the element chromium. Ruby is defined to be red, and all other hues of the gem species corundum are called sapphire. Ruby may exhibit a range of secondary hues, including orange, purple, violet, and pink. The finest ruby has a pure, vibrant red to slightly purplish red color. In most markets, pure red colors command the highest prices and ruby with overtones of orange and purple are less valued. The color must be neither too dark nor too light to be considered finest quality. The most valuable color is Burmese pigeon-blood, which is a bright, rich, full red with a slightly bluish hue. One of the main reasons that Burmese rubies are so valuable is because of their very specific, extremely saturated colour, caused by a high chromium content in the ground from which they are extracted. Another factor is their natural fluorescence, which has the effect of making the stone ‘come alive’ and appear internally illuminated.
Rubies date back to 200 BC , there are records of ruby trading on Silk Road, China. Historically, rubies were mined in Thailand, Colombia, Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, India, Namibia, Japan, and Scotland, and after world war II deposits discovered in Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Vietnam.
The “Valley of Rubies”, the mountainous Mogok area, in north of Myanmar (Burma) was the main source of rubies for centuries. It is noted as the original source of ruby including the world’s finest “pigeon’s blood” rubies. In central Myanmar, the area of Mong Hsu began producing rubies during the 1990s and rapidly became the world’s main ruby mining area. The most recently found ruby deposit in Myanmar is in Namya (Namyazeik) located in the northern state of Kachin. In Pakistani Kashmir there are vast proven reserves of millions of rubies, worth up to half a billion dollars. However, as of 2017 there was only one mine (at Chitta Katha) due to lack of investment. In Afghanistan, rubies are mined at Jegdalek. In 2017 the Aappaluttoq mine in Greenland began running. The rubies in Greenland are said to be among the oldest in the world at approximately 3 billion years old. The Aappaluttoq mine in Greenland is located 160 kilometers south of Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. The rubies are traceable from mine to market.
5 most important Rubies:
1- The Sunrise Ruby
The Sunrise Ruby is a 25.59-carat Mogok Burmese ruby that was accompanied by reports from the SSEF and Gübelin, verifying the origin of ruby as Burma and “pigeon-blood” color, also certifying no indication of heat treatment. Sotheby’s also noted that the ruby “displays a homogeneous and richly saturated ‘pigeon blood red’ colour, which typifies the finest of these gems. The depth of colour, combined with a high clarity and brilliance, all contribute to the beauty of the gem. The shape and finely proportioned cut provides vivid internal colour reflections.” It was set into a platinum signed and numbered Cartier mounting and flanked by shield-shaped diamonds. The Sunrise Ruby sold for a record price of US$30.42 million on 12 May 2015 at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva, Switzerland.
2- The Jubilee Ruby
The Jubilee Ruby a 15.99 carats Burmses ruby accompanied by three reports from the AGL American Gemological Laboratories, SSEF and Gübelin, all stating that the origin of this ruby would be classified as Burma (Myanmar), and possesses extraordinary characteristics and merits special mention and appreciation. The ruby has a remarkable size and weight of 15.991 cts and exhibits an attractive vivid colour, combined with fine purity. The inclusions found by microscopic inspection represent the hallmarks of classical ruby mines in the Mogok valley in Burma (Myanmar), well known for its wealth in gems since historic times. Its attractive vivid red colour is due to a combination of well-balanced trace elements in this gemstone, characteristic for the finest rubies from Mogok. In addition to these qualities, this ruby has been spared exposure to heat treatment and its clarity and colour are thus all naturalwith no gemological evidence of heat. Set in a distinctive gold and diamond mounting by Verdura, and sold for $14.2 million, which equates to $885,000 per carat in 2016 at Christie’s.
3- The Crimson Flame Ruby
The Crimson Flame Ruby is an exceptional 15.04ct Burmese ruby, accompanied by reports from SSEF and Gübelin stating that the ruby is of Burma (Myanmar) origin, with no indications of heating and this colour variety may also be called “pigeon’s blood red” in the trade; also accompanied by an appendix stating that the ruby possesses a combination of outstanding characteristics. It displays a homogeneous and richly saturated colour, which typifies the finest of these gems. The depth of colour, combined with a high clarity and brilliance, all contribute to the beauty of the gem. Such a combination of characteristics is very rare in Burmese rubies of this size. The Crimson Flame Ruby by Boghossian fetched just under $18.5 million at Christie’s Hong Kong in December 2015.
4- The ‘Graff Ruby’
The ‘Graff Ruby’ is a 8.62ct cushion-shaped Pigeon’s Blood Burmese Ruby weighing 8.62 carats, set between triangular diamond shoulders within a mount decorated throughout with brilliant-cut diamonds, signed Graff sold for $8.6 million at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.
5- Magnificent Ruby & Diamond Necklace by Etcetera
Etcetera designed an articulated brilliant-cut diamond lattice-work necklace, centering thirteen pear-shaped diamonds weighing approximately 5.14 to 1.00 carats, framed by two rows of forty-eight oval and cushion-shaped rubies weighing approximately 120.00 carats. Accompanied by reports from the SSEF and Gubelin stating that the total are of Burma (Myanmar) origin, with no indications of heating and the colour of these rubies may also be called ‘pigeon’s blood’ in the trade; The rubies exhibit a highly matching vivid colour and an outstanding fine purity, rarely encountered in rubies of Burmese origin. The rubies have been spared exposure to heat treatment and their colour and purity are thus entirely natural. Assembling a matching selection of natural rubies from Burma of such quality and size – all showing the most sought after “pigeon blood red’ colour – is extremely rare and exceptional. Thus this ruby necklace can be considered a true treasure of nature. This magnificent necklace sold for $13 million at Chritie’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels.
The Sunrise Ruby courtesy of Sotheby’s
The Jubilee Ruby courtesy of Christie’s
The Crimson Flame courtesy of Boghossian & Christie’s
The Graff Ruby courtesy of Graff & Sotheby’s
The Etcetera Necklace courtesy of Christie’s