Exciting news this year in a world seeming somewhat depleted of fine colored gems: two great finds…
First, there has been found what may be a 50 ton boulder of Jadeite in Hpakant, Burma. Depending upon what could be the final weight of the boulder and the quality of the jadeite therein a possible several billion dollar rock. Yes, that’s billion with a “b.”
Also reported to be found is a new pocket of rubellite tourmaline in Brazil. The mine—the famous Cruzeiro mine. All the rough has already been sold. The find was in the 10’s of millions of dollars. Already sent off to the ends of the world.
Ruby and all colors of Sapphire are simply different colors of the same mineral: Corundum. Hooray for Corundum—without you we would be missing a lot in the gem world.
Ruby is red corundum colored by chromium, and Pink Sapphire is pink corundum colored by a little less chromium than Ruby. The difference is this: Ruby has a little less than 1% chromium and Pink Sapphire generally has about 1/2 of that.
Now, here is where it gets interesting. What happens in the gems that don’t know enough to fit squarely in one camp or another? Well, some Pink Sapphires get close to red and some Rubies have apparently had a brush with Clorox and come up a little pale to be considered “red.”
Some of the best fun we’ve had was in the late 90’s when we would buy some of the more pale Burmese Rubies that were cut a little chunky on the bottom in what they call a “mixed cut.” The mixed cut would have a heavy rounded bottom in an effort to conserve color. We would buy these, cut the bottom to a “brilliant” bottom pretty much like a diamond is cut, lose a bunch of color and have the prettiest, darkest hot pink sapphires we’ve ever seen.
Sometimes things that are between the lines of common definition are the best!
When I first got in the business the big source for peridot was Arizona. This material comes from the San Carlos Indian Reservation which is more or less 100 miles east of Phoenix. In fact, Laura and I traveled there to buy rough directly from the Native Americans. The material from San Carlos tends to be small and also tends to be included…
Whether you are born in July, are a collector of fine gemstones, or a jewelry devotee, the Mogok Ruby should be part of your lexicon. Fine Ruby is sometimes known as the “king of gems”. Ruby from this fabled area of Myanmar (Burma) is highly sought after. Some of the premier stones in collections and museums are from this special Mogok region.
One such stone is the “MOGOK RUBY” weighing 15.97 carats. This beautiful cushion cut gem sold at Sotheby’s auction house of New York for $3,630,000.00 in 1988. It was purchased by Graff of London and later resold to the Sultan of Brunei as an engagement ring for his wife. The incredible color and size make this gem ruby a superior collectible. What would it be worth in today’s money? No doubt a lot more. Especially now that it has an interesting provenance…
As a true ruby aficionado, I’ve been just waiting for July to roll around the calendar. As young gem dealers Laura and I spent months in Thailand early on in our careers. Among our missions there, learning about ruby was towards the top of the list. Over the years we’ve spent months (perhaps years) in Southeast Asia dealing in rubies and enjoying every exciting and even every frustrating minute of it.
Based on price per carat and price per stone, ruby is probably the king of all colored stones. On a price per stone basis there may be some good competition with emerald. This may well be due to the fact that emerald comes in bigger sizes than ruby.