Aside from colored diamonds, did you know that rubies command higher prices per carat than any other gemstone? The “pigeon blood” ruby from Burma, in particular, is a precious gemstone that has intrigued multi-millionaire collectors and enthusiasts from all over the world.
Forward video to 01:53 as David tells you the story of the Burmese Ruby ring
What is a Burmese Ruby?
Burmese rubies — also called Burma rubies — are native to a Southeast Asian country called Burma (Myanmar). It is among the rarest and most valuable members of the corundum family. Colors range from pink-red to blood-red, which gemologists regard as the most exquisite color for a ruby.
Most Popular Burmese Rubies in History
The demand for Burmese rubies has always been strong with mining records from Myanmar dating back to 500 years. Below are the vivid Burmese rubies that kindled immense excitement in history, as well as Christie’s international salerooms.
1. The Jubilee Ruby — Sold for $14,165,000
A Burmese ruby’s distinct and extremely saturated color is accountable for its high price, which the high chromium content in the ground causes. Another cost-driving factor is their natural fluorescence, allowing each gemstone to look internally illuminated. For example, “The Jubilee Ruby” boasts a luscious red color and 15.99 carats to match, making it the most expensive colored gemstone sold at an auction in the United States. The highest bid was $14,165,000 million or $885,000 per carat.
2. The Camellia Brooch by JAR — Sold for CHF 4,003,000
Joel Arthur Rosenthal is an American jeweler who lives an almost isolated existence in the creative sanctuary of his atelier. He produces about 70 to 80 pieces a year for an exclusive clientele of wealthy elites. The Camellia Brooch is the embodiment of Rosenthal’s adoration for nature, replicating the beauty of a Camellia flower through pigeon-blood rubies. The sought-after piece shined at Christie’s Jewels for Hope charitable auction in 2012, which offered the jewels of Lily Safra, a Brazilian-Monegasque billionaire, socialite, and philanthropist. A private client purchased it for almost $4.5 million.
3. The Crimson Flame Ruby — Sold for HK$141,800,000
Italian explorer Marco Polo brought the existence of rubies in Burmese to the attention of Europeans in the 13th century. Eight hundred years later, Burmese rubies have become such a rarity that they filled auction rooms with excitement. In December 2015, Christie’s Hong Kong offered a 15.04-carat Burmese ruby ring with near-perfect crystallization and a “pigeon blood” red color. Known as The Crimson Flame, diamonds surrounded the massive Burmese ruby. The magnificent piece fetched under $18.5 million.
4. A ruby and diamond necklace by Etcetera — Sold for HK$100,360,000
Edmond Chin is the creative genius behind Etcetera Jewelry, which he founded in 2000. Famous for his idiosyncratic designs and innovations, Etcetera’s pieces are remarkable creations. In June 2015, Christie’s Hong Kong presented an extraordinary necklace that truly exceeded Chin’s own standards: a necklace emphasizing 48 oval and cushion-shaped rubies ranging from 1.10 to 7.02 carats. Each gemstone originated from Burma, exhibited a mesmerizing pigeon-blood color, and showed no evidence of treatment. The necklace sold for a whopping $13 million.
5. The Ratnaraj Ruby — Sold for HK$78,940,000
Faidee, the premier source of the world’s rarest and most in-demand gemstones, created a beautiful 10.05-carat Burmese pigeon-blood ring called The Ratnaraj Ruby. Roop Chand Lunia is the founder of Faidee, who was nicknamed the “King of Burmese Rubies.” Named Ratnaraj, meaning “king of precious stones” in Sanskrit, this Burmese ruby originated from the famous Mogok Valley in Myanmar. Oval-shaped colorless diamonds enveloped the ruby, all of which were mounted on a gold and platinum ring. In 2016, it sold for $10.2 million at Christie’s auction in Hong Kong.
6. The Queen of Burma — Sold for CHF 5,877,000
His Highness the Maharajah of Cutch III (1866-1942) purchased a majestic ruby ring at Cartier in London in November 1937. Jacques Cartier had developed a fascination for India, often traveling to the subcontinent and established friendships with many ruling Maharajahs. Cartier designed a ring, now called “The Queen of Burma,” to represent the relationship between him and Indian royalty. Set in an Art Deco Cartier ring, the sublime Burmese ruby weighed 23.66 carats and sparked intense bidding from around the world. It sold for under $6 million in 2014.
7. The Graff Ruby — Sold for CHF 4,724,000
Senior International Specialist Jean-Marc Lunel remembered being in awe when he entered a bank safe in Monaco and laid eyes on a near-perfect 8.62-carat Burmese ruby. Now known as “The Graff Ruby,” it combines the extremely popular pigeon-blood red quality of Burmese rubies and a high degree of transparency — a rare attribute in rubies. It had a pre-sale estimate of between $400,000 and $600,000. However, after 20 minutes of bidding, the final price reached the $3.6 million mark. At the time, $3.6 million was the highest price-per-carat ruby ever sold.
8. The Hope Ruby — Sold for CHF 6,243,000
“The Hope Ruby” received its name after selling at the Jewels for Hope charitable auction in May 2012. The vast Collection of Lily Safra, which included jewels of remarkable quality, was 100 percent sold, accumulating $37,924,551. The main attraction of the night was a 32.08-carat cushion-shaped Burma ruby and diamond ring by Chaumet. It sold for more than $6.7 million. The gemstone was previously in the collection of Luz Mila Patiño, Countess du Boisrouvray.
9. Queen Victoria’s ruby brooch — Sold for CHF 365,000
Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain, the granddaughter of British monarch Queen Victoria, wore a ruby and diamond suite in one of her famous portraits, including a diamond and ruby brooch offered at Christie’s in Geneva in 2016. Queen Victoria of England recalls in her journal the day she received the beautiful diamond and ruby parure from Prince Albert in 1849. The striking brooch was set with a Burmese ruby weighing 4.5 carats, showing no clarity or color enhancement. It exceeded its pre-sale estimate of CHF 50,000-80,000 and ultimately sold for CHF 365,000.
Cash in Your Burmese Ruby Today
Prized for their unparalleled beauty, durability, and rarity, Burmese rubies and among the finest gemstones (and investments) in the world. If you are ready to profit from your Burmese rubies, bring your collection to our locations for a free market appraisal. You may also contact our offices at 480-470-2493 (Scottsdale), and 480-470-0867 (Chandler) to get started.