Million Pound Gemstones: Ruby

The Graff Ruby

In one of my previous posts, I looked at the World’s Most Expensive Rubies  but during my research for that post I came across some of the most amazing Ruby examples that have ever been sold at auction. The five examples that I chose for this post all sold for more than a million pounds and they all hold a significant place in history as some of the most important Rubies ever sold.

5) Ruby and Diamond Ring by Harry Winston

Weight: 8.99 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Hong Kong, 26th November 2013
Sale Price USD: $3.9 Million
Sale Price GBP: £2.4 Million

What better way to start with a piece from one of the most influential jewellers in history Harry Winston. I personally love the simple yet elegant design of this ring which brings focus to the centre stone which is an amazing 8.99 carat, untreated Burmese Ruby. Accentuated by two triangular cut diamonds that knowing Harry Winston are probably of exceptional quality.

4) The Regal Ruby

Weight: 13.21 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Hong Kong, 26th November 2013
Sale Price USD: $5.9 Million
Sale Price GBP: £3.6 Million

With a name like the Regal Ruby, there is no way that this example is going to be anything other than an exceptional Ruby. Weighing in at an impressive 13.21 carats, the Ruby came from the famed Mogok region of Burma and is a completely natural stone which was accompanied by three separate gemmological reports which all confirm how exceptional this Ruby is. The setting is also very nice with two half moon diamonds sitting either side of the Ruby to create a stunning piece. A letter that accompanies the AGL reports states:

‘the ruby possesses a richly saturated, homogenous colour that is typical of fine quality rubies from Burma (Myanmar). The fine colour of this ruby is further complemented by a cut that produces many 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, quality and size are exceedingly rare’

3) The Queen of Burma

Weight: 23.66 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Geneva, 11th November 2014
Sale Price USD: $6 Million
Sale Price GBP: £3.8 Million

The Queen of Burma is different from the other Rubies on this list because it is a pink-red ruby rather than the pigeon blood colour that is most desired from Burmese Rubies. I think the appendix letter attached to the gem report from the SSEF gem lab describes it perfectly:

“The rarity of this ruby ring lies not only in the beauty, quality and Burmese origin of the ruby, but certainly also in the historic provenance of this jewellery item. This makes the ‘Queen of Burma’ ruby ring a very exceptional treasure.”

2) The Hope Ruby

Weight: 32.08 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Geneva, 14th May 2012
Sale Price USD: $6.6 Million
Sale Price GBP: £4.1 Million

The Hope Ruby is one of the largest fine quality, untreated Burmese Rubies to ever come to auction and the $6.6 Million sale price meant that it became the most expensive Ruby ever sold, it was also the first Ruby to ever break the $5 Million barrier. It often gets missed out by many people when they talk about record breaking stones but this truly outstanding gemstone should not be overlooked by anyone. The following was taken from the letter attached to the SSEF gem report that accompanies this Ruby:

‘Its vivid red, poetically referred to as ‘pigeon blood’, is due to a combination of well-balanced trace elements in the stone, typical and characteristic for fine rubies of the Mogok gemstone tract.’

1) The Graff Ruby

Weight: 8.62 Carats
Sale: Sotheby’s, Geneva, 12th November 2014
Sale Price USD: $8.6 Million
Sale Price GBP: £5.4 Million

One Ruby that has most definitely has not been overlooked is the Graff Ruby but it is hard to ignore a gemstone that broke the world record price on two separate occasions. It originally came up for auction in February 2006 at the Christie’s sale in Geneva. Originally set in a Bvlgari mount, it was bought by famed jeweller Laurence Graff for $3.6 Million who then renamed the stone after himself. The stone was reset in a more contemporary mount, before being sold Ruby privately. The Ruby was then offered at auction in November 2014 and was bought by none other than Laurence Graff who payed another world record price of $8.6 Million and as far as is known it is still part of the Graff collection. It was the World’s Most Expensive Ruby for six months until the Sunrise Ruby smashed the record in May 2015. The SSEF report from 2006 describes the Ruby perfectly:

‘The described gemstones exhibits an impressive weight and purity, combined with a very pleasant shape and cutting style. The faint inclusions found by microscopic inspection represent the hallmarks of the reputed deposit of Mogok in Burma (Myanmar). The stone has been spared to exposure of thermal treatment and its clarity and colour are natural. Its vivid red, poetically referred to as ‘pigeon blood’ is due to a combination of well balanced trace elements in the stone, typical and characteristic for rubies of the Mogok gemstone tract.’

I hope you enjoyed the stones selected for this post. They are five of my personal favourites that have ever been sold and it is always exciting to see what the jewellery departments at Christie’s and Sotheby’s will find for their marquee sales.

Check out our other Million Pound Gemstones posts:

Speaking of Christie’s and Sotheby’s, I would like to thank them for the images and snippets from the gem reports used in this post.

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