The World’s Most Expensive Rubies – Top 10!

The Graff Ruby

In this post we are going to be looking at the 10 most expensive Rubies ever sold at public auction and they have a combined sale price of over $100 Million!

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 29.62 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.

10) Important Ruby and Diamond Ring by Cartier

Ruby and Diamond Cartier Ring

Weight: 29.62 Carats
Sale: Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 7th April 2014
Sale Price USD: $7.3 Million
Sale Price GBP: £4.4 Million

What better way to start with a piece from one of the most influential names in the world of jewellery, Cartier.

The largest Ruby on this list at 29.62 carats but what is more impressive is the information in the accompanying Gubelin and AGL reports that say it is of Burmese Origin and shows no indication of heat treatment or clarity enhancement.

The only thing missing from this exceptional Ruby is the highly desirable ‘Pigeon Blood’ colour, if this was present, then I am sure that this stunning example would be higher up this most expensive list!

Below is an excerpt from the letter that accompanied the AGL report:

‘weighing an impressive nearly 30 carats, this ruby is in a weight class that is very exclusive for this source (Burma). Furthermore, this gem possesses a richly saturated, homogenous colour that is typical of fine quality rubies from this famous locale…This exceptional ruby is set in a ring from one of the world’s most prestigious jewelry houses: Cartier. A gem-quality unheated Burmese ruby of 29.62 cts is extraordinary rare and distinguishes this gem as being uniquely significant.’

9) Ruby and Diamond Brooch by Cartier

Ruby and Diamond Brooch by Cartier

Weight: 10.10 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Hong Kong, 25th November 2014
Sale Price USD: $8.3 Million
Sale Price GBP: £5.3 Million

The second entry on this list by the famous Cartier but what and entry it is!

While smaller than the previous entry, this 10.10 carat Burmese Ruby possesses the much desired ‘Pigeon Blood’ colouration, which is why it’s sale price was over $1 Million more than the previous entry.

The 3.5cm long, Platinum and Diamond setting made by the master craftsmen at Cartier only helps to accentuate this stunning example of a Ruby, which the letter accompanying the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute confirms:

The ruby possesses extraordinary characteristics and merits special mention and appreciation. The ruby exhibits a saturated and vivid red colour, combined with a fine purity and a very attractive cutting style. The tiny inclusions found by microscopic inspection represent the hallmarks of rubies from the classical ruby mines in Mogok valley in Burma (Myanmar), well known for its wealth in gems since historic times. Its saturated red colour – poetically also referred to as “pigeon blood red” – is due to a combination of well-balanced trace elements in this gemstone, characteristic for the finest rubies from Mogok. The 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 a true treasure of nature

8) The Graff Ruby

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, when it was 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.’

7) Superb Diamond a Ruby Ring by Faidee

Faidee Ruby

Weight: 10.05 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Hong Kong, 29th November 2016
Sale Price USD: $10.1 Million
Sale Price GBP: £8.1 Million

Now we are getting to the really expensive Rubies as this 10.05 carat, untreated Burmese Ruby sold for over $10 Million in 2016.

The platinum and gold, diamond encrusted mount was made by one of the world’s leading sources of fine quality Burmese Rubies, Faidee and this example has to be one of the best they have ever sold!

The previous owners certainly wanted to add as much provenance as they could to this stunning stone as it was accompanied by reports from three of the world’s leading gem labs, GIA, Gubelin and SSEF, who accompanied their report with an appendix that contained the following statement:

The ruby exhibits an impressive size and is characterised by an attractive saturated colour and very fine purity, a combination rarely encountered in rubies from Burma of this size. The few inclusions found by microscopic inspection represent the hallmarks of rubies from the classical ruby mines in the Mogok Valley in Burma (Myanmar). Its attractive colour, poetically also referred to as “pigeon’s blood red”, is due to a combination of well-balanced trace elements, which are characteristic for the finest rubies from Mogok. A natural ruby from Burma of this size and quality is very rare and exceptional and can be considered a true treasure of nature

6) Impressive Ruby and Diamond Ring by Bhagat

The Bhagat Ruby

Weight: 13.26 Carats
Sale: Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 3rd October 2017
Sale Price USD: $10.4 Million
Sale Price GBP: £7.8 Million

Just missing out on the top 5 is the very impressive 13.26 carat, untreated Burmese Ruby.

The ring is a unique design, whose taste may not be for everyone but the centre piece is certainly spectacular and the accompanying 10+ carats of top quality diamonds aren’t bad either!

As with all of the Rubies on this list, this stunning example is accompanied by reports. In this case, they are from Gubelin, who had this to say:

‘The 13.26ct ruby…is an extraordinarily large gem from these famed Burmese mines and possesses a combination of outstanding characteristics. It displays a homogenous and richly saturated colour, which typifies the finest of these gems. In addition, this remarkable gemstone has been spared of thermal treatment, making this ruby a truly unique rarity.’

And SSEF who accompanied their report with the following:

The natural ruby…possesses extraordinary characteristics and merits special mention and appreciation. Based on these excellent qualities, this gem has been named poetically ‘Maniraja (King of Jewels).’ A natural ruby from Burma of this size and quality is very rare and exceptional, and thus this ruby can be considered a true treasure of time.’

5) Spectacular Ruby and Diamond Ring

A Spectacular Ruby and Diamond Ring

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.’

4) An Exceptional Ruby and Diamond Ring

Exceptional Ruby Ring

Weight: 15.03
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.

3) The Jubilee Ruby

The Jubilee Ruby

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’

2) The Crimson Flame Ruby

Crimson Flame Ruby

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’

1) The Sunrise Ruby

The Sunrise Ruby

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.’

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this list of the World’s Most Expensive Rubies as I sure had fun making it, because who doesn’t like looking at pictures of beautiful gemstones?

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.

If you want to see more of the world’s most expensive gemstones, then click on one of the links below:

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