In this post we will be looking at some of the finest Rubies ever sold at auction, including the World’s Most Expensive Ruby. Part of the famed ‘big four’ gemstones, Rubies are only beaten by Diamonds when it comes to sale prices and achieve prices much higher than Sapphire or Emerald and it is easy to see why. The deep rich red colour known as ‘pigeon blood’ that is found in the finest Rubies is matched by no other. You will also see that the largest ruby in this post is 25.59 carats and that is because ruby crystals do not grow that big and finding a large, gem quality crystal with the desired ‘pigeon blood’ colour is extremely rare.
Weight: 24.70 Carats
Sale: Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 3rd April 2018
Sale Price USD: $11 Million
Sale Price GBP: £7.8 Million
The first entry on the list is a spectacular Ruby and Diamond ring that is the newest entry in the list. The stunning antique cushion cut, ‘pigeon blood’ coloured Ruby weighs in at an impressive 24.70 carats and has the desired attributes of being a Burmese Ruby that has not been subjected to any treatments or enhancements. While not a record breaker like some of the other Rubies on this list, this rare example of an extremely fine Ruby is deserving of a place amongst the most expensive Rubies ever sold at auction. The SSEF appendix letter states:
‘The natural ruby…possesses extraordinary characteristics and merits special mention and appreciation. The described gemstone…exhibits an impressive size and weight, combined with a well-saturated colour and a very pleasant antique cushion shape. Natural rubies from Burma of this size and colour represent a great rarity…a very exceptional treasure of nature.’
Sale: Christie’s, Geneva, 17th May 2017
Sale Price USD: $13 Million
Sale Price GBP: £10 Million
The only unnamed Ruby on the list and there is not much history surrounding the stone but as the title suggests, the Ruby in this ring is truly exceptional. It has all the attributes that is required of the finest rubies. Coming from the Mogok valley in Burma, this 15.03 carat untreated Ruby possesses the most desirable ‘pigeon blood’ colour. The report from the American Gemological Laboratories says that the clarity is remarkable for a Ruby of this size.
This Ruby flew under the radar due to it not breaking any records but it is very deserving of its position as the fourth most expensive Ruby ever sold at auction.
Weight: 15.99 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, New York, 20th April 2016
Sale Price USD: $14.1 Million
Sale Price GBP: £9.8 Million
The Jubilee Ruby is a stunning 15.99 carat, oval cut, untreated Burmese Ruby. When the Ruby was offered for sale at Christie’s, New York in 2016, it was the finest example to be offered at auction in the United States for over 25 years and the sale price broke the record for the amount paid for a coloured gemstone in the USA. The appendix on the SSEF report, perfectly describes the Ruby:
‘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 natural. A natural ruby from Burma of this size and quality is very rare and thus can be considered an exceptional treasure’
Weight: 15.04 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Hong Kong, 1st December 2015
Sale Price USD: $18.3 Million
Sale Price GBP: £12.1 Million
When the Crimson Flame Ruby sold in December 2015, it became the most expensive Ruby per carat in history, beating the record set earlier in 2015. It could be argued that the Crimson Flame is the finest Ruby to ever be sold, as the 15.04 carat, cushion cut, untreated ‘pigeon blood’ Burmese Ruby is just about as close to perfection you can get. As of the start of 2018, its record setting price per carat has yet to be beaten. As with the Jubilee Ruby above, SSEF knew just how to describe it:
‘the ruby possesses extraordinary characteristics and merits special mention and appreciation. The ruby shows an impressive size and weigh, combined with a vivid red colour and an attractive cutting style. 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 vivid and saturated red colour, poetically referred to as ‘pigeon blood red’, is due to a combination of well-balanced trace elements in this stone, characteristic for the finest rubies from Mogok. A natural ruby from Burma of this size and quality is very rare and thus can be considered an exceptional treasure’
Weight: 25.59 Carats
Sale: Sotheby’s, Geneva, 12th May 2015
Sale Price USD: $30.4 Million
Sale Price GBP: £19.4 Million
The Sunrise Ruby is the World’s Most Expensive Ruby and for just over six months it also held the title of highest price per carat, before being beaten by the Crimson Flame. At over 10 carats bigger than it’s main rival, the Sunrise is a truly exceptional Ruby. Being an untreated ‘pigeon blood’ Burmese Ruby only adds to its desirability. When it sold in 2015, it smashed the previous record set by the Graff Ruby in 2014 by over £14 million ($21 million) and it will interesting to see what will dethrone it as the world’s most expensive Ruby. The Gubelin gem report appendix describes the Sunrise Ruby as:
‘The 25.59 ct ruby described in the above mentioned Gübelin Gem Lab Report possesses a combination of outstanding characteristics. It 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. In addition, this remarkable gemstone has been spared thermal treatment.’
All prices were calculated using the historical exchange rate tool on xe.com from the sale price that was found on the websites of the respective auction houses. We would like to thank Sotheby’s and Christie’s for the images that we used in this post.