July brings us its passionate red birthstone, Ruby, a gem that inspires both admiration and intrigue.
Recently, the gemstone world was abuzz with the auction of two spectacularly sized unheated rubies grabbing headlines for auctions in June of 2023: The Sunrise Ruby and the Estrela de Fura.
Controversies surrounding the gems’ provenance and marketing strategies have raised questions about the opaque nature of high-end auctions and the accuracy of lab reports.
The Sunrise Ruby, a 25-carat gem mined in Burma, was the “most expensive stone in the world” when purchased eight years ago by Heidi Horten, a billionaire whose late Austrian husband allegedly built his fortune from the seizure of Jewish assets in Nazi Germany. It was just auctioned at Christie’s for $14.66 million – less than half the Horten’s purchase price. In the international gem trade, it’s thought that the recent selling price was more in line with the gem’s quality and value.
The Estrela de Fura, a gigantic ruby mined in Mozambique, broke records with a sale price of $34.8 million at Sotheby’s. It’s called the “largest ruby ever to go to auction. However, the gem’s cutting, color, and marketing strategy, combined with an unusually short auction, prompted trade discussions and even doubts about the sale’s validity. Some suspect this was a marketing exercise to elevate the perception and prices of Mozambique rubies.
These episodes highlight the intricate labyrinth that is the ruby and auction market. It’s a journey, like a game of chutes and ladders, where having an expert gem guide becomes indispensable, especially with lab reports occasionally leaning more towards marketing than factual gem appraisal.
Can you guess which ruby is synthetic?
There’s a well-known axiom, the “10,000 Hour Rule,” suggesting that world-class mastery of a skill requires 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. For many, even this might not be enough.
My journey into the enchanting world of gems and jewelry began 31 years ago, marking countless hours spent honing my eye for quality and developing market insights.
As your trusted guide, my aim is to empower you to make informed decisions, illuminating the path of discovery and fulfillment through the unparalleled beauty and power of gemstones.