Jewels du Jour Says....TEN MOST EXPENSIVE RUBIES SOLD AT AUCTION

Posted on 02 July 2016

The most expensive colored gemstone ever sold at auction is a ruby.

Earlier this year, a Burmese ruby sold for $30 million, or just over $1 million per carat – a benchmark usually achieved by the rarest and most exceptional colored diamonds. That ruby, dubbed the Sunrise Ruby, weighed an astonishing 25.59 carats – an extraordinarily rare size for a ruby of its caliber. The singular stone set new auction records across the board when it sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in May, including a record price for a ruby, record price per carat for a ruby, and record price for a Cartier jewel – even ousting the Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite Bead Necklace which previously held the record price for a Cartier jewel.

Auction records these days seem to be short-lived placeholders for the next most expensive magnificent stone or jewel. The Sunrise Ruby bested the Graff Ruby for the record price and price per carat for a ruby set by the Graff six months prior in November 2014. The 8.62-carat Burmese stone set in a ring by Graff sold for $8,600,410 at Sotheby’s Geneva, roughly $2,200 shy of the $1 million per carat mark. As these two back-to-back records attest, the prices for the highest quality rubies will continue to rise. In fact, six of the top ten most expensive rubies sold at auction were sold in the last year and a half.

The rubies fetching such sky high numbers are those hailing from the reputed deposit of Mogok in Burma and exhibiting the vivid but saturated color referred to as “pigeon’s blood” red. Large specimens from the Mogok mines with this rarefied hue are exceedingly rare, just as the prices achieved at auction indicate. Even smaller rubies, under 10 carats, certified as pigeon’s blood red rubies from Mogok are equally as rare. Case in point, a SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute lab report noted on a 10.10-carat ruby from Mogok deemed pigeon’s blood red: “A natural ruby from Burma of this size and quality is very rare and thus can be considered a true treasure of nature.”

Since the ruby is the birthstone of July, I have compiled the Ten Most Expensive Rubies Sold at Auction to date. Happy Birthday, July babies!

10. A 12.46-carat Burmese Ruby and Diamond Ring – $3,721,415
  
$298,669 per carat

Sotheby’s Geneva, May 2014


Set with a cushion-shaped ruby weighing 12.46 carats, between triangular diamond shoulders. Accompanied by Gübelin report no. 1003105 and SSEF report no. 74442, each stating that the ruby is of Burmese origin, with no indications of heating, together with an appendix letter from the SSEF expressing the rarity of this stone.


9. A 8.99-carat Mogok Burmese Ruby and Diamond Ring, by Harry Winston – $3,935,105
  
$437,720 per carat

Christie’s Hong Kong, November 2013


Set with a cushion-shaped ruby weighing approximately 8.99 carats, flanked by triangular-shaped diamonds, mounted in platinum and 18k yellow gold. Accompanied by report no. CS 82969 dated 24 September 2013 from the American Gemological Laboratories stating that based on available gemological information, it is the opinion of the Laboratory that the ruby weighing 8.99 carat is natural, the origin of this material would be classified as Burma (Myanmar), heat enhancement: none, clarity enhancement: none; also accompanied by a letter from the American Gemological Laboratories stating that the ruby possesses a richly saturated colour that is typical of fine quality rubies from the historic Burmese locality of the Mogok valley. Traditionally, rubies of this colour have been described as having a “pigeon blood” hue. The beautiful colour of this ruby is further complemented by a fine cut resulting in bright, internal colour reflections and brilliance. The lack of enhancement further accentuates the rarity and desirability of this fine gemstone. Gem rubies of such provenance and quality are rare.


8. A 30.20-carat Burmese Ruby and Diamond Ring – $4,265,586
  
$141,245 per carat

Sotheby’s Geneva, May 2011

The cushion-shaped ruby weighing 30.20 carats of exceptional colour, flanked by pear-shaped diamonds weighing respectively 2.00 and 2.02 carats, mounted in platinum. Accompanied by Gübelin report no. 0911024 stating that the ruby is of Burmese origin, with indications of heating.
The cushion-shaped ruby weighing 30.20 carats of exceptional colour, flanked by pear-shaped diamonds weighing respectively 2.00 and 2.02 carats, mounted in platinum. Accompanied by Gübelin report no. 0911024 stating that the ruby is of Burmese origin, with indications of heating.

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