A 55.22-carat ruby has become both the largest and most valuable gem of its kind ever to sell at auction, netting $34.8 million. The stone went under the hammer in New York in June, less than a year after Canadian firm Fura Gems discovered it at one of the company's mines in Mozambique.
What Is Special About The Ruby?
The ruby, named Estrela de Fura, meaning Star of Fura in Portuguese, is a rare and exceptional gemstone that has outstanding clarity, color, and brilliance. It has a dark red hue known as "pigeon's blood", which is highly sought-after by collectors and connoisseurs. It also has a high degree of optical transparency and clarity, which makes it sparkle with multiple internal reflections.
The ruby was cut from a 101-carat rough stone that was found in July 2022 at Fura's mine in Montepeuz, Mozambique. The rough stone was the largest gem-quality ruby ever discovered, and it took months of careful analysis and study to determine the best way to cut and polish it. The cutting process resulted in a symmetrical oval shape enhancing the beauty and quality of the ruby.
The ruby is also remarkable for its origin, as Mozambique is a relatively new source of rubies in the global market. Rubies were first discovered in Mozambique in the 1970s, but it was not until 2009 that become one of the world's leading producers of rubies, competing with traditional sources like Myanmar (formerly Burma).
How Did The Auction Go?
The ruby was sold by Sotheby's, which described it as "the most valuable and important" ruby ever to come to market. It was part of the Magnificent Jewels sale, which featured over 200 lots of rare and exquisite jewels from various periods and styles.
The ruby has an estimated value of $25 million to $35 million, but it surpassed expectations and fetched $34.8 million, setting a new world record for a ruby at auction. The previous record was held by the Sunrise Ruby, a 25.59-carat Burmese ruby that sold for $30.3 million in Geneva in 2015.
The buyer of the ruby was not disclosed, but Sotheby's said that it was a private collector who participated in the bidding by phone. The auction house also said that a portion of proceeds from the sale would be allocated by Fura to set up an academy that would provide technical training in mining, engineering, carpentry, and agriculture.
What Is The Significance Of The Sale?
The sale of the ruby is a milestone for both Fura Gems and Mozambique, as it showcases their potential and achievements in the gemstone industry. Fura Gems is a Canadian company that specializes in mining and marketing colored gemstones, such as rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. It operates mines in Mozambique, Colombia, and Australia, and aims to become a leading ethical and sustainable producer of gemstones.
Mozambique is a country in Southeast Africa that has faced many challenges, such as poverty, civil war, and natural disasters. It is also one of the countries affected by an Islamist insurgency that has been raging since 2017 in its northern province of Cabo Delgado, where Montepuez is located. The ruby industry has been seen as a source of hope and opportunity for the local communities, as it provides jobs, income, and social development.
The sale of the ruby also demonstrates the growing demand and appreciation for colored gemstones among collectors and investors, who are looking for rare and unique pieces that have beauty, history, and value. Colored gemstones have been outperforming diamonds in recent years, as they offer more diversity and personality than traditional white stones.
The ruby is a symbol of passion, power, and it has been revered by various cultures and civilizations throughout history. It is also one of the four precious gemstones, along with diamond, emerald and sapphire. The Estrela de Fura ruby is now among the most legendary gemstones in the world, joining the ranks of other famous rubies such as the Black Prince's Ruby, the Timur Ruby and the Carmen Lucia Ruby.