They set records at auction, and were stolen (some never to be recovered) in Jewel Heists that made International Headlines. Some were prized possessions and many are now on permanent display at the Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian. Take a look at some of the world’s most famous rubies.
The Liberty Bell Ruby
The Liberty Bell Ruby is the largest mined ruby in the world, found in east Africa in the 1950’s. It weighs four pounds, is eight and a half thousand carats, and is sculpted into a miniature form of the Liberty Bell. It has fifty diamonds set in it and was valued at two million dollars. The Liberty Bell was stolen from Stuart Kingston Jewelers during 2011 heist. Although the thieves were prosecuted, the ruby has never been recovered.
The DeLong Star Ruby
The 100.32 carat DeLong Star Ruby resides in the Museum of Natural History in New York City. The beautiful, deep red ruby with a 6-rayed star gets its name from Mrs. Edith Haggin de Long. She purchased the stone in 1937 from Martin Leo Ehrmann, the renowned gem and mineral collector and dealer. The DeLong Star Ruby was also stolen in a jewel heist. Along with the Star of India and the Midnight Star Sapphire, it was stolen from the museum in what became known as the ‘Jewel Heist of the Century’ in 1964. Luckily all three stones were ultimately recovered.
The Rosser Reeves Ruby
This Sri-Lankan stone is renowned for its great color and well-defined star pattern. Advertising mogul Rosser Reeves donated this piece to the Smithsonian in 1965, but before that he carried it around as a lucky stone, referring to it as his baby. It is one of the world’s largest and finest star rubies – clearer and more translucent that the Delong Star with a sharp six-rayed star.
STAR RUBIES: Did You Know?
The star forms when titanium atoms are trapped within the growing corundum crystal. As the crystal cools, the titanium forms needlelike crystals of the mineral rutile, which orient themselves in three directions. When properly cut, en cabochon, light reflecting off of the three sets of needles produces the six-rayed star. This phenomenon is called asterism. It is believed that the largest star gemstone is the Neelanjali Star Ruby. It weighs 1,370 carats and features unusual 12-point double-star asterism.
The Graff Ruby
A well known cushion cut Burmese ruby with a weight of 8.62 carats set records at the Sotheby’s Geneva auction of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels in November 2014, selling for more than 8 million dollars.
The Sunrise Ruby
The Sunrise Ruby is the world’s most expensive ruby. The certified untreated, 25.59-carat Burma ruby has a richly saturated natural “pigeon blood red” color; a high clarity and brilliance and a finely proportioned cut and shape. It is named after a poem of the same name, written by the 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi. The Sunrise Ruby also set records at Sotheby’s Geneva auction of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels. Selling for more than 30 million US dollars, it was a world record not only for ruby but for any colored gemstone at an auction.
The Carmen Lúcia Ruby
This spectacular 23.1-carat Burmese ruby, set in a platinum ring with diamonds, is one of the finest and largest faceted Burmese rubies known. The stone was mined from the fabled Mogok region of Burma in the 1930’s. The ring was donated to the Smithsonian by businessman and philanthropist Peter Buck in memory of his wife Carmen Lúcia.
The Burmese Ruby Tiara
The Burmese Ruby is the only major ruby tiara worn by the current queen, and like many other pieces, this tiara was created using stones from another tiara that had been dismantled. The Queen has worn it regularly since it arrived at Buckingham Palace which isn’t that surprising as it’s an undeniably regal piece and highly symbolic given the origin of the jewels it contains.
The Hope Ruby
In May of 2012, American-born billionaire Lily Safra auctioned off her Chaumet’s carat cushion-shaped Burmese ruby and diamond ring, affectionately called “The Hope Ruby.” The design highlight includes the gemstone’s vivid red (pigeon’s blood), typical and characteristic for fine rubies of the Mogok gemstone tract.
The Hixon Ruby
This 196.10 carat gemstone was donated to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles by Frederick Hixon. It is still one of the finest Burmese ruby crystals discovered to date.
Sources: GIA.edu, GemSelect, Wikipedia
Photos: Christie’s, Sotheby’s, The Smithsonian Institute, The Museum of Natural History, Fred Ward, Mid-Georgia Gem And Mineral Society
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