Legendary Ruby Sales at Auction

In the last decade or so, many exquisite rubies have stolen the show with their brilliant, fiery red sparkles and high price tags.

From interesting backgrounds to stunning beauty, here are the rubies that fetched the highest prices at auction to date and which are worth a second (third... or fourth) glance:

Graff's seeing red

This 8.62 carat piece has a remarkable story attached to it...

 

Graff ruby
8.62ct Burmese ruby set in a Bulgari ring.
Ruby in this size and without any indication of treatment is incredibly rare.
In fact, they are a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence to encounter one.
 

It was sold at Christie’s in 2006 for more than $3.6 million.

To Mr Graff.

The London luxury jeweller. 

Graff reset the Burmese stone into this ring:

Graff Ruby Ring
A ruby that stops you in your tracks... the Graff Ruby flanked by diamonds.
 

And renamed it the Graff Ruby.

As you would.

He sold the piece to a Greek financier. And then…

He bought it back again in 2014 for $8.6 million... more than double!

It shows you how connoisseurs hunt for exquisite pieces like that and also gives a good indication of this stone's utmost rarity.

I mean, if experts go back and buy something twice, at that price, it makes you realise just how special the type of stone is. 

Here you see another picture of that fiery red stone on a model, so you get a better idea of the size and colour. 

 

Graff Ruby Ring Model
Now this is a sight you’ll probably never experience… a ruby of that quality and size on the hand of a woman sitting next to you in your local restaurant.


The Crimson Flame

Crimson Flame Ruby
15.04ct.
Sold at Christie’s Hong Kong in 2015 for a little over $18.5 million


The Queen of Burma

Queen of Burma Ruby
Extraordinary ruby of 23.66ct, set in an Art Deco-ring by Cartier.
  
The ring was first bought by Maharajah Cutch in 1937 at Cartier in London and represented the relationship that existed between Cartier and Indian royalty.
It was sold in 2014 for over $6 million…


The Patalia Ruby Choker
 

ruby choker
An Art Deco ruby, diamond and natural pearl choker necklace by Cartier, 1931.
Sold for $975K.

 

There’s this funny anecdote on the Patiala Ruby Choker:

In the 1920s, Cartier approached the Maharaja of Patiala (a city in the North of India) in hopes of selling the flamboyant Raj some of their own jewellery.

Unimpressed as he was by the quality of the stones in Cartier’s inventory, the Maharajah instead commissioned Cartier to make several iconic pieces for him… but with his own stones this time.


The Sunrise Ruby

Sunrise Ruby Ring
This Burmese Ruby weighs in at 25.59cts and sold for 28.25 million Swiss francs, or $30.4 million USD.



The Jubilee Ruby

Jubilee Ruby
15.99 carats, sold for $14.1 million USD


Considered the best ruby offered for sale in the US to date, this Burmese ruby was sold at auction in Christie's 250th anniversary year. 

Keep in mind that Burmese rubies over 15 carats are extremely rare... so of course these ruby stunners caused quite a scene at auction.

For more info on Burmese rubies, including what makes them so beautiful, explore my post on the world's most beautiful rubies.

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Looking for a fiery red ruby of your own or perhaps another red jewel or gemstone piece? Contact me at info@evagemsandjewels.com to set up a consultation!

For more gem stories and insider tips on how to buy your own investment-worthy gemstones, follow me on Instagram @evagemsandjewels.

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 Sources:
  • Insider gem trade secrets revealed in the book Secrets of the Gem Trade by Richard W. Wise
  • Ruby Connoisseurship • Seeing Red by Richard W. Hughes for incredibly informative and highly entertaining stories that read like an adventure book
  • My own period in Bangkok when studying gemology at AIGS (the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences and buying gems there ;))
  • The inspiring webinars by famed gemologist Rui Galopim de Carvalho (follow him @portugalgemas)
  • Series of Articles on Rubies from Mozambique, by the GIA, March 14, 2014
  • The Jubilee Ruby: Worthy of a King: Christies.com
  • Rare 'Jubilee' Ruby Fetches $14.1 million, sets US Record: Forbes.com
  • Sunrise Ruby sets New World Record Price, gemrockauctions.com