Ruby & Sapphire book cover

ruby, sapphire, Burma ruby, famous rubies, spinel, Kashmir sapphire, corundum

Note: The following are excerpts from Richard Hughes' book, Ruby & Sapphire. If you like what you see, order a copy direct from the publisher.


Author's Note – Please read this

I am regularly contacted regarding the value of this or that giant corundum crystal (or even cut stone). Sometimes red, sometimes blue, virtually all are offered with inflated appraisals vastly overstating their true value. The most common scenario is a large ruby-in-zoisite from Tanzania being offered as "Burmese."

I would like to set the record straight once and for all. Such stones are not worth millions of dollars, nor are they worth hundreds of thousands. Indeed, it is the rare stone that would be worth even US$10,000.

The simple fact is that not all ruby is valuable, not all sapphire is valuable. In order to qualify as a gem, a specimen has to have the proper combination of fine color and high clarity. Such large corundum crystals (and cut stones) have a clarity and/or color so poor that it precludes them from being used as gems. But don't take my word for it. See for yourself. If you have such a kilogram-sized piece, slice a small piece off and have it cut. Then have it appraised by a legitimate appraiser (not a scam artist).

Whenever possible in the tables below, I have listed actual sale prices. These are the only true measure of a gem's value. All of the rough specimens listed in the Rough Corundum Giants table are not of gem quality and thus have no gem value (despite what an accompanying appraisal might say).

For more on this, see my article: "Big Time."

Continued from Part 4

Summary of important rubies & sapphires

The following tables list important rubies and sapphires. It is hoped they will assist researchers in locating and identifying stones in the future, particularly those of historical interest. Of course, they are merely the first, not last, word on the subject.
Summary of record-setting rubies
Summary of record-setting sapphires
Table 10.3: Famous rubies:

Table 10.4: Titled red spinels:
Table 10.5: Rubies and sapphires in the Mughal treasury:
Table 10.6: Famous blue sapphires
Table 10.7: Famous sapphires other than blue
Table 10.8: Famous engraved/carved rubies & sapphires
Table 10.9: Rough corundum giants:

Summary of record-setting rubies at auction

Name, weight & description Sale Location Price realized Origin Reference
Red Emperor Necklace
104.51 total weight; 60 faceted pear and heart-shaped stones in a Fai Dee/James W. Curren necklace.
Auction record total price for ruby-set jewelry
Sotheby's Hong Kong (Lot 1914)
07 April 2014
$9,923,077 total
$94,949/ct

Burma
Date unknown

Sotheby's, 2014
Graff Ruby
8.62 ct; faceted, cushion cut, mounted in ring.
Auction per carat and total price record for ruby.
Sotheby's Geneva (Lot 470)
12 Nov., 2014
$8,568,621 total $994,040/ct
Purchased by Lawrence Graff
Burma
Date unknown
Sotheby's, 2014
Unnamed
19.53 ct; oval star ruby cabochon; Etcetera ring.
Auction record per carat and total price for a single star ruby
Christie's Hong Kong (Lot 1791)
27 Nov. 2012.
$1,247,412 total
$63,871/ct
Burma
Date unknown
Christie’s, 2012

Summary of record-setting blue sapphires

Name, weight, description and sale pricea

Source & date found Current
Location
Reference

Blue Belle of Asia
392.52 ct; faceted, cushion shape in necklace; $17,295,796 total ($44,063/ct) at Christie's Geneva (Lot 348), 11 Nov. 2014. Auction record total price for sapphire.
Notes: A "reputed gem dealer" allegedly sold this sapphire to Lord Naffield of Britain. The Blue Belle is described as “being held in the highest esteem among blue sapphires owing to its highly prized peacock blue colour and its excellent clarity.”

Pelmadulla, Sri Lanka
1926
Purchased by anonymous buyer

Christie's 2014
http://www.rootsweb.com/
~lkawgw/sapphire.htm
From "Sapphires of Sri Lanka" by T. Piyadasa

Imperial Blue
17.16 ct; faceted, octagonal shape; ring; $8,372,094 total ($176,106/ct) at Sotheby's Hong Kong (Lot 1938) 7 Oct. 2014. Auction record per carat price for a single sapphire.

Kashmir
Date unknown
Purchased by anonymous buyer Sotheby's 2014

Richelieu Sapphires
Sapphire earrings with sapphires of 26.66 and 20.88 cts; $8,372,094 ($176,106 per ct) at Sotheby's Geneva 13 November 2013 sale (Lot 371). Former auction record total price for sapphire.

Kashmir Purchased by anonymous buyer Sotheby's 2013

Star of Kashmir
Cushion-shaped sapphire of 19.88 cts set in diamond ring; $3,483,017 ($175,202 per ct) at Christie's Geneva 15 May 2013 sale (Lot 306). Former auction record per carat price for a single sapphire.

Kashmir
Date unknown
Lawrence Graff Christie's 2013

Unnamed
An octagonal-cut Ceylon sapphire brooch of 60.44 cts; $1,859,965 ($26,000 per ct) at Christie's Geneva 13 November 2012 sale (Lot 349). Auction record total price for a single Ceylon sapphire.

Ceylon
Date unknown
Purchased by UK trade buyer Christie's 2012

Unnamed
Cushion-shaped sugarloaf cabochon Kashmir sapphire of 31.53 cts; set in gold and platinum ring within a circular-cut diamond surround, with circular-cut diamond shoulders; signed Van Cleef & Arpels, N.Y., No. 17988; sold for $2,658,500 ($84,3002/ct) at Christie's NewYork 17 April 2012, (Lot 225). Auction record per carat price for a cabochon sapphire.

Kashmir
Date unknown
Purchased by US trade buyer Christie's 2012
Unnamed
Cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphire of 26.41 cts; sold for $3,838,508 ($145,342/ct) at Christie's Hong Kong 29 November, 2011 sale (Lot 2813). Former auction record per carat price for a single blue sapphire.
Kashmir
Date unknown
Purchased by anonymous Asian private buyer Christie's 2011

Unnamed
Sapphire & diamond bracelet by Cartier; 49.61 cts total weight; sold for HK$53,860,000 (US$6,942,856) at Christie's Hong Kong 1 June, 2010 sale (Lot 2388). Auction record total price for a single lot of blue sapphire.

Kashmir
Date unknown
Purchased by Ben Mellen & Son Christie's 2010

Unnamed
Cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphire of 42.28 cts; sold for $3,489,167 ($82,500/ct) at Christie's Geneva 20 November, 2008 sale (Lot 279). Former auction record total price for a single blue sapphire.

Kashmir
Date unknown
Purchased by anonymous buyer Christie's 2007

Unnamed
Cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphire of 42.28 cts; sold for $3,489,167 ($82,500/ct) at Christie's Geneva 20 November, 2008 sale (Lot 279). Former auction record total price for a single blue sapphire.

Kashmir
Date unknown
Purchased by anonymous buyer Christie's 2007

Unnamed
Cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphire of 22.66 cts; sold for $3,064,000 ($135,216/ct) at Christie's NYC 25 April, 2007 sale (Lot 261). Former auction record per carat price for a single blue sapphire.

Kashmir
ca. 1886
Purchased by anonymous buyer Christie's 2007

Rockefeller Sapphire
62.02 ct; faceted, rectangular step cut; mounted in diamond ring; John D. Rockefeller, Jr. puchased this sapphire from a maharajah (rumored to be the Nizam of Hydrabad) in India in 1934; it was recut by Reginald Miller from 66.03 to 62.02 ct in the early 1970s; sold to Ralph Esmarian at Sotheby's St Moritz, Feb. 20, 1988, for $2,828,546 ($45,607/ct). At Christie's NYC 11 April, 2001 sale, it sold for $3,031,000 ($48,871/ct) (Lot 435). Former per carat and total price world record for a single blue sapphire.

The following details are from Christie's:

In 1934 John D. Rockefeller, Jr. purchased the sapphire from the an Indian Maharajah rumored to have been the Nizam of Hyderabad through Raymond Yard who advised him on many of his jewelry transactions. Raymond Yard was also a close friend of Raphael Esmerian (1903–1976), the world's leading gem dealer of his time. Esmerian would appraise it on a regular basis. This was an opportunity for him to look at one of his favorite gems and to speak of the stone's perfection. In the early 1940's Esmerian was consulted by Pierre Cartier to improve the stone as it was to be remounted as a brooch for Rockefeller's wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (1874–1948). Cartier recut the stone to approximately 66 carats and made a brooch with calibré-cut sapphires and diamonds. In the 1950's Rockefeller's second wife, Martha Baird Rockefeller (1895–1971) had the brooch redesigned by Raymond Yard. In the winter of 1971, the Rockefeller family sold the jewelry from John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s estate in Zurich. The sapphire was purchased by Raphael Esmerian for approximately $170,000 and then sold the following year to an Italian private client. Upon this man's death, the family consigned the stone once more for auction in the spring of 1980. This time it was bought by Ralph Esmerian, Raphael's son, for approximately $1,500,000. Ralph Esmerian has continued his father's legacy by dealing in rare gems and exquisite objects in New York. It was after this purchase that the stone was repolished to it's weight of 62.02 carats and mounted in a platinum ring. In 1986 it was sold to an American private collector who only collected stones of the highest caliber. Other gems in his collection included the Ashoka, a superb D color, Internally Flawless diamond of 41.37 carats, a 20.00 carat square-cut pink diamond and an extraordinary green diamond of 3.02 carats. In 1988, this collection was sold at auction in St Moritz. The Rockefeller sapphire fetched a world record price of $2,850,000 and was purchased again by Ralph Esmerian who sold it to its present owner.

Burma
Date unknown
Purchased by Asian private Sotheby's, 1988a
Hughes & Sersen, 1988b
Federman, 1992
Matthews, 1993
Christie's, 2001
Unnamed
Sapphire & diamond necklace, with sapphires of 36.00, 31.43, 30.91, 14.55 and 10.96 ct. Sold at Sotheby's New York, Oct. 26, 1989 (Lot 58) for $3,520,000. World record for a single lot of sapphires.
The 30.91-ct stone is from Sri Lanka; others are from Kashmir Unknown Sotheby's, 1989

Table 10.3: Summary of famous rubies

Name, weight, description and sale pricea

Source & date found

Current location

Reference

Nga Boh Ruby ('Dragon Lord' Ruby)
44 ct rough; 20 ct cut; presented to King Tharawadi (1837–1846)
Bawbedan, Mogok, Burma
Found 1837–1846
Unknown Streeter, 1892
Smith, 1913
Halford-Watkins, 1934
Chhatrapati Manik
25 ratib (~21.5 ct); later repolished to 24 rati (~20.7 ct); oval cabochon; ~1 x 1.25 in (2.54 x 3.175 cm); its weight has also been listed as about 40 ct
Unknown (probably Burma) Unknown Clarke, 1933, 1934
Nga Mauk & Kallahpyan Rubies
7 ticals rough; cut stones of 98 & 74 ct
Mogok, Burma
Found during reign of Mindon Min (1853-78); possibly 1861
Unknown Streeter, 1892
Keely, 1982
Clark, 1991
Unnamed
36 ct; sold by King Mindon Min (reign: 1853–78) for £30,000
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Brown, 1933
J.N. Forster Rubies
Two large Burma rubies brought to England in 1875, weighing 37 and 47 ct. These were put on the market by the Burmese royal family and were later recut by Forster to 32 5/16 and 39 9/16 ct (or 38 9/16 ct); one sold for £10,000, the other for £20,000, respectively.
Mogok, Burma
Date unknown (before 1877)
Unknown Tagore, 1879, 1881
Anonymous, 1887
Streeter, 1892
Brown, 1933
Halford-Watkins, 1934
Maung Lin Ruby
400-ct rough; broken into three pieces, two of which were cut into stones of 70 and 45 ct. The third piece was sold uncut in Calcutta for Rs70,000 (£4,666).
Burma
Found during reign of Mindon Min (1853–78)
Unknown Streeter, 1892
Smith, 1913
Halford-Watkins, 1934
Tagoungnandaing Ruby
18 7/16-ct rough; fine color with trace of blue; sold in rough in London for £7,000. Later cut to 11 ct.
Tagoungnandaing Valley
Kyatpyin, Burma
1895
Unknown Talbot, 1920
Halford-Watkins, 1934
Pingu Taung Ruby
8 7/16-ct rough; found in ludwin in Pingu Taung ('Spider Mountain'); sold in London for £1762
Mogok, Burma
1893
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1934
Unnamed
Rough which yielded cut gems of 98 and 74 ct
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Smith, 1913
Unnamed
49 ct rough
Burma
1887
Unknown Smith, 1913
Unnamed
~304 ct rough
Burma
1890
Unknown Smith, 1913
Unnamed
Weight unknown; probably rough; valued at Rs17,000
Burma
March, 1893
Unknown Nature, 1893
Mandalay Ruby
48.019 ct; faceted; cushion; offered for sale by Sotheby's New York on Oct. 18, 1988. No bids.
In 1988, Sotheby's implied that this may have been the 47-ct J.N. Forster ruby described above (ca. 1877), which is impossible as that stone was recut to 38 9 /16 ct.
Mogok, Burma
Date unknown (pre-1896)
Unknown Sotheby's, 1988b
Federman, 1988
Unnamed
463/4 ct; oblong form (probably cut); mounted in brooch with four brilliant-cut diamonds; sold (or bought in) at Christie's London on May 7, 1896 for £8000. In 1988, Sotheby's implied that this was identical to the Mandalay Ruby above, but many doubt this version.
Probably Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Church, 1905
Sotheby's, 1988b
Federman, 1988
Unnamed
77 ct; rough ruby; Sold in India in 1904 for Rs400,000 (£26,667)
Mogok, Burma
1899
Unknown Holland, 1905
Smith, 1913
Padansho Ruby
13 ct; rough; of secondary color; flat elongated shape; sold uncut in London for £1514
Mogok, Burma
1901
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1934
Shwebontha Ruby No. 1
15 1/2 ct; rough; sold uncut in London for £1500
Mogok, Burma
1901
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1934
Shwebontha Ruby No. 2
9 1/2 ct; rough; sold uncut in London for £1444
Mogok, Burma
1902
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1934
Chaungzone Ruby
23 1/2 ct; rough; sold uncut in London for £2005
Mogok Valley, Burma
1903
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1934
Red Hill Ruby
7 ct; rough; sold uncut in London for £534
Mogok, Burma
1904
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1934
Taroktan Ruby No. 1
9 ct; rough; sold uncut in London for £635
Mogok, Burma
1904
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1934
Taroktan Ruby No. 2
7 ct; rough; sold uncut in London for £490
Mogok, Burma
1906
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1934
Unnamed
42 ct rough; 22 ct cut; reportedly bought by Indian dealer named Chodilla for 300,000 Kyat (over $100,000). This has possibly been confused with the Peace ruby (see below).
Mogok, Burma
~1906
Unknown Ehrmann, 1957
J.P. Morgan Collection of cut rubies
• 47 ct; Burma; irregular cabochon; not clean
• 67 ct; faceted; asymmetrical; pink; Ceylon
• 8.81 ct; Burma; carved head
• 6 rubies together of 6.72 ct; Cowee Valley, North Carolina
Various sources & dates American Museum of Natural History Kunz, 1913b
Pough, 1964
Kathé Ruby No. 1
22 1/2 ct; rough; sold uncut in London for £1600
Kathé, Mogok, Burma
1915
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1934
Thebaw Ruby ('Lucky' Baldwin's Ruby)
Originally 26.12 ct; since recut; appeared at auction, Geneva, May, 1971
Source & date unknown (probably Burma) Unknown Krashes, 1986, pp. 8–9
Peace Ruby
42 old ct rough; 25 ct cut; faceted round brilliant; sold for Rs300,000 (£27,500)
Mogok, Burma
1919
Unknown Brown, 1927
Halford-Watkins, 1934
Keely, 1982
Lady Craddock Ruby
22 3/4 ct; rough; good color, but long narrow shape; sold uncut in London for £4000
Mogok Valley, Burma
1922
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1934
Enjouk Ruby
22 5/8-ct; rough; not quite the best color; sold in London rough for £2447
Enjouk, Mogok, Burma
1923
Unknown Mineral Industry, 1924
Halford-Watkins, 1934
Kathé Ruby No. 2
21.5 ct; rough; sold uncut in London for £1667
Kathé, Mogok, Burma
1924
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1934
Unnamed
96 ct; not stated whether rough or cut; the stone was cracked down the middle, necessitating cutting into two pieces; sold for £7500
Mogok, Burma
Aug. 24, 1929
Unknown Mineral Industry, 1930
Unnamed
~100 ct; not stated whether rough or cut
Mogok, Burma
Oct., 1930
Unknown Mineral Industry, 1931
Unnamed
19 ct; rough
Mogok, Burma
June, 1931
Unknown Times of London, 4 June, 1931
Pama Ruby
32.90-ct rough; sold in rough for £3270; cut in Paris into a square trap-cut stone weighing 9.25 ct
Kyatpyin, Mogok, Burma
1931
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1934
Unnamed
17 ct; rough
Chaunggyi Valley
Mogok, Burma
April, 1932
Unknown Times of London, 27 April, 1932
Unnamed
~30 ct; rough; valued at £7,000
Mogok, Burma
Oct., 1932
Unknown Anonymous, 1932b
Brown, 1933
Unnamed
34 lb (15.42 kg); hexagonal prism crystal (not gem quality)
Corundum Hill, Macon Co., North Carolina, USA
Date unknown
British Museum of Natural History Spencer, 1933
Edwardes Ruby
167 ct; crystal; donated to the British Museum in 1887 by John Ruskin, who named it for Major-General Sir Herbert Edwardes, who is credited for maintaining British rule in India during the Mutiny
Mogok, Burma
Date unknown
British Museum of Natural History Spencer, 1933
Bruce, 1977
Unnamed
3,450 ct (690 g); crystal
Mogok, Burma
Date unknown
British Museum of Natural History Spencer, 1933
Unnamed
Nearly 20-ct. rough; 7.5 ct cut; valued at ~£10,000
Mogok, Burma
ca. 1933
Unknown Anonymous, 1933
DeLong Star Ruby
100.32 ct; oval cabochon; star; donated by Edith Haggin DeLong in 1937, who bought it from Martin Ehrmann for US$21,400
Burma
Pre 1937
American Museum of Natural History Smith & Smith, 1994
Unnamed
310 ct; star ruby (not known whether rough or cut)
Ratnapura, Sri Lanka
May, 1941
Unknown Mineral Industry, 1942
Star of Chanthaboon
10.25 ct; transparent, slightly purplish red (not known rough or cut)
'Hill of the Stars'
Chanthaburi, Thailand
Date unknown
Unknown Gühler, 1947
12-rayed star ruby
25.2 ct; cabochon; 12-rayed star; deep violet-red color
Ratuapur [sic?], Sri Lanka
ca. 1950?
Unknown (last seen with Fred Pough) Anonymous, 1950
Stem Cup
Cup composed of step-cut rubies set within vertical gold ribs
Source unknown
Date unknown
Crown Jewels of Iran Meen & Tushingham, 1968
Rosser Reeves Star Ruby
138.7 ct; cabochon; star ruby; insured for $150,000 in 1966; this is considered to be the largest fine star ruby in existence
Sri Lanka
Date unknown (seen about 1954–6)
Smithsonian Anonymous, 1966
White, 1991
Unnamed
4.12 ct; faceted; cushion; set in ring with smaller rubies and diamonds; sold at Christie's Geneva on Nov. 24, 1979 for $412,000 ($100,639/ct), then a record price for ruby
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Rush & Rush, 1979
Unnamed
15.00 ct; faceted; pear shape mounted in a pendant brooch; sold at Sotheby's New York, Oct. 1986, for $1,540,000 (~$102,667/ct), then a record price for ruby
Burma
Date unknown
Purchased by private European buyer Anonymous, 1986
Christie's, 1990
Alan Caplan's Ruby ('Mogok Ruby')
15.97 ct; faceted; sold at Sotheby's New York, Oct., 1988 for $3,630,000 ($227,301/ct). Auction record per carat price for ruby.
Mogok, Burma
Date unknown
Purchased by Graff for the Sultan of Brunei for an engagement ring for one of his wives Keller, 1983
Koivula & Kammerling, 1988
Kapil Malhotra, pers. comm., 6 Feb., 1995
Hixon Ruby
196.1 ct; crystal
Mogok, Burma
Date unknown
Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History Keller, 1983
Unnamed
24.13 ct; star ruby
Sri Lanka
Date unknown
Unknown Punchiappuhamy, 1984
Unnamed
150 ct; rough, ruby
Trat, Thailand
1986
Unknown Hughes, 1990
Unnamed
8.78 ct; cut; mounted in ring; sold at Christie's New York, April 20, 1988 (Lot 292) for $858,000 ($97,722/ct)
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's New York, pers. comm., 17 June, 1994
Unnamed
25.70 ct; cut; set in ring; sold at Christie's Geneva, Nov. 1988 (Lot 587) for SFr1,760,000 ($1,205,479; or $46,906/ct)
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's New York, pers. comm., 17 June, 1994
Unnamed
14.00 ct; cushion shape; sold in 1988 for $968,000 ($69,142/ct)
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's, 1990
Unnamed
10.35 ct; cushion shape; sold in 1988 for $1,861,000 ($179,807/ct)
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's, 1990
Unnamed
10.01 ct; cushion shape; sold in 1989 for $1,497,000 ($149,550/ct)
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's, 1990
Unnamed
24.20 ct; cushion shape; sold in 1989 for $3,080,000 ($127,273/ct)
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's, 1990
Unnamed
32.08-ct; faceted, set in ring by Chaumet of Paris; sold on Oct. 26, 1989 at Sotheby's New York (Lot 47) for $4,620,000 ($144,015/ct)
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Sotheby's, 1989
Matthews, 1993
Unnamed
Ruby necklace with diamonds by Van Cleef & Arpels; sold by Sotheby's in 1989 for $3,080,000. Auction record price for ruby & diamond necklace.
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Sotheby's, 1989
SLORC Ruby (formerly called the Nawata Ruby)
504.5-ct crystal, later trimmed to 496.5 ct
Dattaw (Dattow)
Mogok, Burma
February, 1990
Myanna Gems Enterprise
Rangoon, Burma
Asiaweek, 1990
Hughes, 1990b
Kane & Kammerling, 1992
Nawarat Tharaphu Ruby
5.25 ct; faceted, cut from 9.70-ct rough
Nawarat, Shan State, Burma
Mined on April 23, 1990
Myanna Gems Enterprise
Rangoon, Burma
Kane & Kammerling, 1992
Unnamed
8.14 ct; cushion, sold in 1990 for $990,000 ($121,621/ct)
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's, 1990
Unnamed
12.50-ct; cut, mounted in ring; sold at Christie's New York, Oct. 23, 1990 (Lot 443), for $1,045,000 ($83,600/ct)
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's New York, pers. comm., 17 June, 1994
Unnamed
16.20-ct; cut, mounted in ring; sold at Christie's New York, Oct. 23, 1990 (Lot 445) for $2,750,000 ($169,753/ct)
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's New York, pers. comm., 17 June, 1994
Unnamed
4.70-ct cut; sold at Feb. 1992 MGE Emporium for $282,000 ($60,000/ct)
Lin Yaung Chi
Mogok, Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Kane & Kammerling, 1992
Unnamed
12.10-ct ruby ring; sold at Christie's Geneva, Nov., 1992 (Lot 606) for SFr2,860,000 ($2,000,000; $165,289/ct)
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's New York, pers. comm., 17 June, 1994
Unnamed
9.10 ct; faceted; cushion; sold at Myanma Gem Emporium, Feb, 1992, for $901,000
($99,011/ct)
Mogok, Burma
Date unknown
Purchased by David Gol of Switzerland Clark, 1992
Crown of Mogok Ruby
10.95-ct rough; 5.56-ct faceted oval
Shwe Pyi Aye
Mogok, Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Kane & Kammerling, 1992
Neelanjali Ruby
1,370 ct; cabochon; 12-rayed star
Source unknown
Date unknown
G. Vidyaraj
Bangalore, India
Matthews, 1993
Eminent Star Ruby
Over 30,000 ct in the rough; 6465 ct cut; oval cabochon; star; of poor quality
Source unknown (probably India)
Date unknown
Eminent Gems, New York ICA Gazette, 1994
Unnamed
16.51 ct; faceted, cushion shape; sold in 1993 by Sotheby's for $3,000,000 ($181,708/ct)
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Colored Stone, March/April, 1994
Unnamed
38.12 ct; cabochon; sold at 1993 Myanma Gems Enterprise mid-year auction in Rangoon for $5,860,000 ($153,725/ct). Auction record total price for a single ruby.
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Anonymous, 1994
U Hla Win (pers. comm., 2 May, 1994)
Unnamed
26.40-ct star ruby cabochon; sold at Christie's New York, April 12, 1994 (Lot 55) for $1,080,500 ($40,928 per ct). Auction record for a star ruby.
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's New York, pers. comm., 17 June, 1994
Unnamed
10.11 ct; faceted, cushion shape; sold at Christie's New York in Oct. 1994 (Lot 317) for $948,500 ($93,818/ct)
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown GAA Market Monitor, 1995
Unnamed
27.37 ct; faceted, pear shape, mounted in diamond pendant by Harry Winston; sold at Sotheby's Geneva in May, 1995 (Lot 469), for $1,500,000 ($122,750/ct)
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown ICA Gazette, 1995
JewelSiam, 1995
Unnamed
12.22 ct; faceted, cushion shape, mounted in ring; sold at Sotheby's Geneva in May, 1995 (Lot 464), for $4,000,000 ($146,145/ct)
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown JewelSiam, 1995
Prince's Ruby
174.67 ct; said to have belonged to Shah Jahan [1592–1666]; engraved with calligraphy from the Koran
Source unknown
Date unknown
Bower's Museum of Cultural Art, Santa Ana, CA Roskin, 1998

Unnamed
9.98 ct, cushion ruby, claw-set, flanked by half-moon shaped diamonds sold at Sotheby's Geneva, 15 Nov., 2000 for $3,300,000 (101,010/ct).

Mogok, Burma
Date unknown
Unknown AP, Nov. 16, 2000

Unnamed
32.67 ct, oval ruby, set in ring, sold at Christie's Geneva, 17 May, 2000 for $1,239,000 (124,130/ct).

Mogok, Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's Jewellery Review 2000
Unnamed
8.01 ct; faceted oval; sold at Christie's New York, 12 April, 2005 for $2,200,000 ($274,656/ct).
Mogok, Burma
Date unknown
Purchased by an Asian private buyer Christie’s New York, pers. comm., 12 April, 2005
Elizabeth Taylor Ruby
8.24 ct; faceted, oval cut, mounted in a Van Cleef and Arpels ring; sold at Christie's New York (Lot 77), 13 Dec., 2011 for $4,226,500 ($512,925/ct). Gift from Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor, Christmas, 1968. Former auction record per carat price for ruby.
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Christie’s New York, 13 December, 2011
Hope Ruby

32.08 ct; cushion-shaped Burmese ruby ring of 32.08 cts, by Chaumet; sold at Christie's Geneva (Lot 66), 15 February, 2012 for $6,742,440 ($210,000/ct).

Former auction record total price for a single ruby.
Burma
Date unknown
Purchased by Amer Radwan Christie's Geneva, 14 May, 2012
Unnamed
38.12 ct; cabochon; sold at 1993 Myanma Gems Enterprise mid-year auction in Rangoon for $5,860,000 ($153,725/ct). Former auction record total price for a single ruby.
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Anonymous, 1994
U Hla Win (pers. comm., 2 May, 1994)

Unnamed
26.40-ct star ruby cabochon; sold at Christie's New York, April 12, 1994 (Lot 55) for $1,080,500 ($40,928/ct).
Former auction record for a star ruby.

Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's New York, pers. comm., 17 June, 1994
Unnamed
Ruby necklace with diamonds by Van Cleef & Arpels; sold by Sotheby's in 1989 for $3,080,000. Former auction record price for ruby & diamond necklace.
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Sotheby's, 1989
Red Emperor Necklace
104.51 total weight; 60 faceted pear and heart-shaped stones in a Fai Dee/James W. Curren necklace; sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong (Lot 1914), 07 April 2014 for $9,923,077. Auction record total price for ruby-set jewelry.
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Sotheby's Hong Kong, 7 April, 2014
Unnamed

29.62 ct; oval-shaped Burmese ruby ring by Cartier; sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong (Lot 1762), 07 April 2014 for $7.34 million ($247,805/ct).

Current auction record total price for a single ruby.
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Sotheby's Hong Kong, 7 April, 2014
Queen of Burma

23.66 ct; oval in ring by Cartier; sold at Christie's Geneva (Lot 337), 11 Nov. 2014 for $5,995,128 ($253,386/ct). Formerly owned by the Maharao of Cutch.

Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's Geneva,
11 Nov., 2014
Graff Ruby
8.62 ct; faceted, cushion cut, mounted in ring; sold at Sotheby's Geneva (Lot 470), 12 Nov., 2006 for $8,568,621 total $994,040/ct. Auction per carat and total price record for ruby.
Burma
Date unknown
Purchased by Lawrence Graff Sotheby's Geneva, 12 Nov., 2014

a. On April 1, 1914, the carat was standardized as 200 milligrams. Weights before that date are approximate only (see box on page 228). All dollar prices in US dollars unless stated otherwise. [return to
b. The rati is an old Indian unit of weight. I have converted it into metric carats using Aziz's average jeweler's rati of 2.66 grains troy, or 0.8618 metric carats. See Aziz (1942, pp. 119–134) for a full account of Indian weights, which varied slightly over time. [return to Table 10.3]

Table 10.4: Summary of titled red spinels

Name, weight, description and sale pricea

Source & date found

Current
Location

Reference

Black Prince's Ruby
Size unknown (approx. 170 ct); semi-polished; drilled; gold-foil backing; mounted in front of Imperial State Crown
Source unknown (Badakhshan?)
Dates back to 1366 AD
British Crown Jewels Orpen, 1890
Anonymous, 1937
Bank, 1973
Timur Ruby (Khiraj-i-alam, or 'Tribute to the World')
352.50 ct; semi-polished; engraved with the names of its former owners
Source unknown (Badakhshan?) British Queen's private collection Times of London, 1912
Twining, 1960
Catherine the Great's Ruby
414.30 ct (or 398.72 ct?); semi polished; mounted in the top of the Grand Imperial Crown (for a full account of this gem, see box, page 282)
Source unknown (Badakhshan?)
Possibly early 1400s
Diamond Fund, Moscow Twining, 1960
USSR Dia. Fund, 1972
Yevdokimov, 1991
Côte de Bretagne Jewel
105 ct; orange-red; carved as an oriental dragon; formerly mounted in the decoration of the Order of the Golden Fleece, along with the French Blue Diamond (Hope Diamond)
Source unknown
Dates back at least to 1530 AD
Galerie d' Apollon
Louvre, Paris
Patch, 1976
Samarian Spinel
500 ct; blood-red; semi-polished; drilled
Source unknown (Badakhshan?) Crown Jewels of Iran Meen & Tushingham, 1968
Bank Markazi Iran, 1971
Katherina & Catherine Spinels
532 ct rough; faceted stones of 146.43 & 27.81 ct
Pamir Mountains
Tajikistan
Unknown Bancroft, 1990

a. On April 1, 1914, the carat was standardized as 200 milligrams. Weights before that date are approximate only (see box on page 228). All dollar prices in US dollars unless stated otherwise. [return to Table 10.4]

Table 10.5: Summary of rubies and sapphires in the Mughal treasury
(from Aziz, 1942)a

Description

Weight of cut stoneb

Price (Rupees)

Akbar's reign (1556–1605 AD)
Standard ruby

284 rati (~244.75 ct)

100,000
Ruby offered by Raja Ramchand of Bhatha to Akbar Unknown 50,000
Ruby sent by Prince Daniyal to Akbar 104 rati (~89.63 ct) Unknown
Jahangir's reign (1605–1627 AD)
Ruby presented by Jahangir to Prince Parwiz

Unknown

25,000
Ruby offered by Asaf Khan to Jahangir Unknown 40,000
Ruby presented to Jahangir by "Mirza Husain" Unknown 100
Ruby ring in one piece sent to Jahangir by Murtaza Khan from Gujarat; said to be of good color, substance and water 37 rati (~31.89 ct) 25,000
Ruby sent by same 59 rati (~50.85 ct) "
Qutbi ruby; offered by Vazir Khan Unknown Unknown
Ruby offered by Asaf Khan to Jahangir; of beautiful color and well-shaped; Abu'l-Qasim bought it in Cambay for Rs75,000 168 rati (~144.78 ct) 60,000
Ruby bestowed by Jahangir on Prince Parwiz Unknown "
Celebrated ruby offered by Rana Amar Singh to Prince Khurram, and by the latter to Jahangir; originally from Raja Maldeo 192 rati (~165.47 ct) "
Qutbi ruby presented by I'timadu'd-Daula to Jahangir Unknown 22,000
Ruby of the purest water and brilliance offered by Prince Khurram Unknown 80,000
Exceedingly beautiful and clear ruby offered by Prince Khurram to Jahangir at Ajmer Unknown 60,000
Ruby offered to Jahangir by Mahabat Khan Unknown 65,000
Ruby sent by Jahangir to Shah Sultan Khurram Unknown >30,000
Ruby purchased by Mahabat Khan from a European and offered to Jahangir 286 or 291.5 rati (~246.47 or 251.21 ct) 100,000
Fine ruby offered by Prince Shah Jahan to Jahangir; largest ruby in the treasury 456 rati (~372.10 ct) 200,000
Very fine ruby of good color offered by Prince Shah Jahan to Nur Jahan 132 rati (~113.76 ct) 50,000
Ruby bestowed by Jahangir on Prince Shah Jahan; Akbar's mother had given it to Prince Salim upon the latter's birth 221 rati (~190.46 ct) 125,000
Ruby in Nur Jahan's necklace Unknown 10,000
A very fine qutbi ruby offered by Prince Shah Jahan to Jahangir 72 rati (~62.04 ct) 40,000
Ruby offered by Asaf Khan to Jahangir 300 rati (~258.54 ct) 125,000
Engraved ruby of Timurid family sent by Shah 'Abbas of Persia to Jahangir, who then gave it to Prince Shah Jahan. This history was engraved upon it in three inscriptions; later set in the middle slab of the rail of the Peacock Throne 288 or 312 rati (~248.20 or 268.88 ct) 100,000
Ruby offered by Lashkar Khan Unknown 4,000
Ruby offered by Khan Jahan Unknown 100,000
Sapphire sent by 'Adil Khan to Jahangir; large and fine, of a beautiful, rich color 151 rati (130.13 ct) 100,000
Qutbi sapphire offered by I'timadu'd-Daula to Jahangir; exceedingly delicate Unknown Unknown
Shah Jahan's reign (1628–1658 AD)
Central ruby of Shah Jahan's sarpech; superior in quality even to the much heavier 456 rati ruby of Jahangir

288 rati (~248.20 ct)

>200,000
Aurangzeb's reign (1658–1707 AD)
Bright-colored ruby sent by 'Abdu'l-Aziz Khan of Bukhara to Aurangzeb

Unknown

40,000
Ruby sent by 'Adil Khan of Bijapur to Aurangzeb 125 rati (~107.73 ct) 20,000
Ruby offered by Husain Pasha, the ruler of Basra Unknown "
The favorite, unparalleled 'oriental topaz' (yellow or orange sapphire) of Aurangzeb; of very high color; cut in 8 panels 152.16 English ct 181,000
'Oriental amethyst' (violet sapphire) mounted in the middle of Aurangzeb's chain of pearls and emeralds; a long table; perfect in beauty 40 rati (~34.47 ct) Unknown

a. Many of the above rubies may, in fact, have been spinels, particularly the larger pieces. [return to Table 10.5]
b. The rati is an old Indian unit of weight. I have converted it into metric carats using Aziz's average jeweler's rati of 2.66 grains troy, or 0.8618 metric carats. See Aziz (1942, pp. 119–134) for a full account of Indian weights, which varied slightly over time. [return to Table 10.5]

 

Table 10.6: Summary of famous blue sapphires

Name, weight, description and sale pricea

Source & date found

Current
Location

Reference

St. Edward's Sapphire
Weight unknown; blue; faceted cushion; mounted in Maltese cross atop the British Imperial State Crown
Source unknown
Legends date to 1042 AD
British Crown Jewels, Tower of London Sitwell, 1953
Stuart Sapphire
Slightly over 104 ct; 1.5" (3.81 cm) long x 1" (2.54 cm) wide; oval; mounted on the band at the rear of the British Imperial State Crown
Source unknown
Dates to 1214 AD (probably in the crown at the coronation of King Alexander II)
British Crown Jewels, Tower of London Orpen, 1890
Younghusband, 1921
Anonymous, 1936
Anonymous, 1951
Twining, 1967
Unnamed
Oldest known talismanic sapphire existing in western Europe; once served as a clasp for the Imperial mantle covering the sacred remains of Charlemagne; presented to Napoleon Bonaparte when he arrived at Aix-la-Chapell after the conquest of Germany; mounted in gold, with a splinter of the Cross in its setting, it was supposed to give its possessor dominion over the whole world.
Source unknown
Date unknown
Cathedral of Reims (Rheims)
France
Abbot, 1933
Catherine the Great's Sapphire
337.10 metric ct; faceted; oval; blue; estimated value at over US$250,000 (1951)
Source unknown
Date unknown
Diamond Fund
Moscow
Anonymous, 1951b
Zeitner, 1984
Krashes, 1986
Unnamed
Old weight listed as 252 and 25/32 ct; modern weight is 260.37 ct; once part of the Russian regalia
Source unknown
Date unknown
Moskow Anonymous, 1951a
J. Bergman (pers. comm., 5 July, 1998)
Unnamed
258.18 ct; faceted; oval-cushion; mounted in brooch; may be the same stone as above
Source unknown
ca. 19th century
Diamond Fund
Moscow
USSR Dia. Fund, 1972
Ruspoli's Sapphire ('Wooden Spoon Seller's Sapphire' or 'Great Sapphire of Louis XIV')
135.8 ct; faceted; rhomb shaped (only six facets); said to have been found by a wooden spoon seller in Bengal; sold by the House of Ruspoli (Rospoli?) of Rome to a German prince (salesman?), who in turn sold it to the French jeweler Perret for 170,000 francs. Later purchased by Louis XIV.
Said to be Bengal; probably Burma or Sri Lanka
Date unknown
Muséum National D'Histoire Naturelle, Paris
Valued at £100,000 in 1791
Tagore, 1879, 1881
Streeter, 1892
Bank, 1973
H.-J. Schubnel (pers. comm., 16 Dec., 1994; 5 Jan., 1995)
Loop Sapphire No. 1
252 ct; oval; dark indigo color; cut in 1840; displayed at London Exhibition of 1862 and Paris in 1867; named after Loop, the London cutter who fashioned it
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1934
Loop Sapphire No. 2
Once 225 ct; table cut, recut in 1856 (current weight unknown); displayed at London Exhibition of 1862 and Paris in 1867; sold in Paris for nearly £8000
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1934
Unnamed
Cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphire of 22.66cts; sold for $3,064,000 ($135,216/ct) at Christie's NYC 25 April, 2007 sale (Lot 261). Per carat and total price world record for a single blue sapphire.
Kashmir
ca. 1886
Purchased by anonymous phone bidder Christie's, 25 April, 2007
Le Saphir Merveilleux ('Hope Sapphire')
Weight unknown; blue in daylight, violet in candlelight
Source unknown
Date unknown
Orleans Collection
France
Streeter, 1892
Star of India
563.35 ct; blue star sapphire, cabochon; donated as part of J.P. Morgan Collection; reportedly cut by Albert Ramsay ca. 1905 in London; brought to London from India by British Army officer
Sri Lanka
Date unknown
American Museum of Natural History Kunz, 1913a
Anonymous, 1935b
Sofianides & Harlow, 1990
Midnight Star
116.75 ct; cabochon; star; deep purple-violet color; donated as part of J.P. Morgan Collection
Sri Lanka
Date unknown
American Museum of Natural History Sofianides & Harlow, 1990
J.P. Morgan Collection of sapphires;
various cut gems, including:
• 188, 158.72, 154 (153?), 69 ct; blue; Ceylon
• 14.22 ct; blue; engraved; India
• 29 Yogo sapphire (two are above 3 ct)
Various sources & dates American Museum of Natural History Kunz, 1913b
Pough, 1964
Voynick, 1985, pp. 188–9
Unnamed
951 ct; rough or cut unknown; seen in 1827 in the treasury of the king of Ava
Unknown (Burma?)
Date unknown
Unknown Tagore, 1879, 1881
Smith, 1913
Unnamed
19 ct rough, 8.5 ct cut (cut as a seal); believed to be the second-largest sapphire ever found at Yogo Gulch
English Mine
Yogo Gulch, MT
ca. 1910
Unknown Kunz, 1911
Voynick, 1985
Unnamed
10.2 ct cut; believed to be the largest cut Yogo stone in existence
Yogo Gulch, MT
Date unknown
Smithsonian Voynick, 1985, p. 189
F.G. McIntosh collection
83 Yogo sapphires
Yogo Gulch, MT
Various dates
Cal-Tech, Pasadena, CA Voynick, 1985, p. 189
Unnamed
Rough, weight unknown; sold for Rs28,000 (£1,870)
Redhill Mine
Mogok, Burma, 1917
Unknown Times of London, 11 July, 1917
Unnamed
113 ct; rough; sold for Rs45,000
Bernardmyo, Mogok, Burma
May 10, 1919
Unknown Times of London, 11 July, 1919
Unnamed
Weight unknown; rough; sold for Rs40,000
Mogok, Burma
1919
Unknown Times of London, 15 July, 1919
Unnamed
50 ct (probably cut); sold for £1,200
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Times of London, 12 Nov., 1924
Unnamed
570 and 680-ct rough sapphires; sent to be exhibited in the Ceylon Gallery of the Wembly Exposition; many fine stones were found in the same field in a short period of time
Balmadulla, Sri Lanka
1923
Unknown Mineral Industry, 1924
Unnamed
Over 40 ct rough; 10.87 ct cut
Bo Ploi, Thailand
ca. June, 1927–1929
Unknown Mineral Industry, 1929
Unnamed
437 ct; not stated whether rough or cut; valued at over £11,000
Mogok, Burma
1928
Unknown Mineral Industry, 1929
The King
392.75 ct; star sapphire; seized by US Customs 1916; bought by William G. Willman, New York City, who refused offer of $100,000
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Anonymous, 1935b
Gem of the Jungle
958 ct. rough; cut stones of 66.50 (66.53?), 20.25, 20.00, 13.11, 12.25, 11.33, 11.11, 5.50 and 4.33 ct; purchased by Albert Ramsay for over £13,000
Gwebin, Mogok, Burma
August, 1929 (or July, 1930)
Unknown Mineral Industry, 1930
Mineral Industry, 1931
Ramsay & Sparkes, 1934
Halford-Watkins, 1935a
Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott's sapphire ring
Oval sapphire engagement ring given by Duke of Gloucester
Kashmir
Date unknown
Unknown Anonymous, 1935a
Star of Bombay
182 ct; cabochon; blue-violet star sapphire; bequeathed to Smithsonian by Mary Pickford
Source unknown
Date unknown
Smithsonian White, 1991
Star of Asia
330 ct; cabochon cut; blue-violet star sapphire; acquired in 1961 from Martin Ehrmann; once said to belong to the Maharaja of Jodhpur
Burma
Date unknown
Smithsonian Desautels, 1972
White, 1991
Logan Sapphire
423 ct; faceted cushion; blue; donated to Smithsonian in 1960 by Mrs. John A. (Polly) Logan
Sri Lanka
Date unknown
Smithsonian Desautels, 1972
White, 1991
Star of Artaban
316 ct; star; donated by Ingram
Sri Lanka
Date unknown
Smithsonian Desautels, 1972

Blue Belle of Asia
392.52 ct; faceted, cushion shape in necklace; $17,295,796 total ($44,063/ct) at Christie's Geneva (Lot 348), 11 Nov. 2014. Auction record total price for sapphire.
Notes: A "reputed gem dealer" allegedly sold this sapphire to Lord Naffield of Britain. The Blue Belle is described as “being held in the highest esteem among blue sapphires owing to its highly prized peacock blue colour and its excellent clarity.”

Pelmadulla, Sri Lanka
1926
Purchased by anonymous buyer

Christie's 2014
http://www.rootsweb.com/
~lkawgw/sapphire.htm
From "Sapphires of Sri Lanka" by T. Piyadasa

Unnamed
630 ct rough (upon breaking up for cutting, it proved less valuable than expected)
Kathé
Mogok, Burma
May, 1930
Unknown Times of London, 31 May, 1930
Mineral Industry, 1930, 1932
Brown, 1933
Unnamed
293 ct rough
Kathé
Mogok, Burma, 1930
Unknown Brown, 1933
Unnamed
nearly 1000 ct rough
Gwebin, Mogok, Burma
Aug. 12, 1932
Unknown Brown, 1933
Unnamed
514 ct; rough
Mogok, Burma
Dec., 1932
Unknown Brown, 1933
Unnamed
435 ct; not known whether rough or cut; star sapphire
Kathé, Mogok, Burma
1932
Unknown Mineral Industry, 1934
Unnamed
390 ct; rough; sold for over £3,000
Mogok, Burma
1930s
Unknown Halford-Watkins, 1935b
Unnamed
18 ct (not known rough or cut); said to be largest fine Pailin sapphire; sold for Tcs. 12,000 (48,000 Baht)
Pailin, Cambodia
Date unknown
Unknown Gühler, 1947
Star of Lanka
193.39 ct; oval cabochon; blue gray color; star
Sri Lanka
Date unknown
Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto, Canada
Meen, 1963
Star of Ceylon
~101.01 ct; oval cabochon; medium violetish blue
Source unknown
Date unknown
Seattle
Private collection
Richard Allen, pers. comm., 9 Nov., 1994
Barberini Jewels
Antique sapphire and diamond parure; contains 24 cushion-shaped sapphires; ca. 1800; sold at Christie's New York, Nov. 18, 1971 (Lot 139)
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Christie et al., 1971
Bismarck Sapphire
27 x 21.7 x 15.5 mm, faceted squarish oval, blue; donated by Countess Mona Bismarck
Sri Lanka
Date unknown
Smithsonian Dunn, 1975
Big Sky Sapphire
24 ct rough; 12.54 ct; faceted antique cushion; medium blue; one of largest faceted Missouri River sapphires
Missouri River, MT
Found in Sept., 1973 by Mac M. Mader
Unknown Liddicoat, 1975
Zeitner, 1978
Zeitner, 1984
Unnamed
11.81 ct; faceted; cushion; ring; sold at Christie's Geneva on Nov. 24, 1979 for $304,875 ($25,815/ct), at the time a per ct record for sapphire
Kashmir, India
Date unknown
Unknown Rush & Rush, 1979
Unnamed
362 ct; cabochon; blue; star (this may be the same stone as the 393 ct star below)
Sri Lanka
Date unknown
State Gem Corp. of Sri Lanka Wijesekera, 1980
Unnamed
393 (392?) ct; blue star sapphire, cabochon; insured in 1981 for over £1 million; this is probably the finest star sapphire of its size in the world
Sri Lanka
Date unknown
State Gem Corp. of Sri Lanka Daily Telegraph, 25 Aug., 1981
Punchiappuhamy, 1984
Unnamed
58.33 ct; faceted, cushion shape, mounted in 1920s Cartier Art Deco bracelet formerly owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post; sold at Christie's New York, 15–16 Oct. (Lot 454?) for $880,000 ($15,087/ct). This was a world record price for sapphire at the time.
Source unknown (Burma?)
Date unknown
Purchased by London buyer Christie's Magazine, ca. 1982–83
Unnamed
~99 ct; faceted; round; offered in Bangkok in early 1980s for $10,000/ct
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Author
Blue Princess
113.72 ct; faceted; cushion; mounted in necklace with three large sapphires of approx. 24.09, 40.87 and 26.95 ct; sold at Christie's New York, 11 April, 1996 (Lot 487) for $1,320,000. Later sold at Christie's Geneva on 15 May, 1996 for $1,784,800.
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Christie et al., 1984
JewelSiam, 1997
Unnamed
41.04 ct; faceted; emerald cut; sold at Sotheby's New York, Oct. 1986 for $924,000 ($22,515/ct)
Burma
Date unknown
Purchased by American retailer Anonymous, 1986
Unnamed
152.35 ct; cabochon; round; mounted in panther clip; sold at Sotheby's Geneva, 2–3 April, 1987 (Lot 179) for SFr 1,540,000 ($1,026,667; or $6739/ct); formerly owned by the Duchess of Windsor
Source unknown
Made by Cartier, 1949
Unknown Culme & Rayner, 1987
Unnamed
206.82 ct; faceted; oval cushion; mounted in diamond pendant; sold at Sotheby's Geneva, 2–3 April, 1987 (Lot 119) for SFr 561,000 ($374,000; or $1808/ct); formerly owned by the Duchess of Windsor
Source unknown
Made by Cartier, 1951
Unknown Culme & Rayner, 1987
Rockefeller Sapphire
62.02 ct; faceted, rectangular step cut; mounted in diamond ring; sold to Ralph Esmarian at Sotheby's St Moritz, Feb. 20, 1988, for $2,828,546 ($45,607/ct). Recut by Reginald Miller from 66.03 to 62.02 ct in the early 1970s. Previous auction record per carat and total price for a single blue sapphire.
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Sotheby's, 1988a
Hughes & Sersen, 1988b
Federman, 1992
Matthews, 1993
Unnamed
Kashmir sapphire & diamond bracelet by Cartier; 9 sapphires (8 from Kashmir) from 4.17 to 10.52 ct (49.63 ct total); sold at Christie's New York on April 20, 1988 (Lot 306) for $902,000
Kashmir
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's New York, pers. comm., 17 June, 1994
Unnamed
Kashmir sapphire & diamond bracelet; 8 sapphires (7 from Kashmir) from 4.70 to 10.55 ct (50.95 ct total); sold at Christie's New York on Oct. 19, 1988 (Lot 393) for $1,034,000
Kashmir
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's New York, pers. comm., 17 June, 1994
Unnamed
204.39 ct; oval; star; fine blue color and transparency; measures 34.40 x 29.15 x 17.34 mm
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Hargett, 1989
Lone Star Sapphire
9,719.50 ct; 6-rayed star; cut by Dallas cutter John Robinson in Nov., 1989
Source unknown
Date unknown
Harold Roper UPI, 1989
Matthews, 1993
Unnamed
Sapphire & diamond necklace, with sapphires of 36.00, 31.43, 30.91, 14.55 and 10.96 ct. Sold at Sotheby's New York, Oct. 26, 1989 (Lot 58) for $3,520,000. Auction world record for a single lot of sapphires.
The 30.91-ct stone is from Sri Lanka; others are from Kashmir Unknown Sotheby's, 1989
Unnamed
337.66 ct; cut; mounted in Cartier brooch (ca. 1910); sold at Christie's Geneva, May, 1991 (Lot 328), for SFr3,300,000 ($2,340,000; or $6930/ct)
Probably Sri Lanka
Date unknown
Sheikh Ahmed Hassan Fitaihi
Saudi Arabia
Lapidary Journal, 1991
Christie's New York, pers. comm., 17 June, 1994
Unnamed
31.12-ct sapphire ring; sold at Christie's Geneva, May, 1992 (Lot 426) for SFr 1,628,000 ($1,130,555; or $36,329/ct)
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Christie's New York, pers. comm., 17 June, 1994
Unnamed
502 ct; rough, pyramid-shaped crystal, silky, of good color
Kabaing, Mogok, Burma
Feb. 22, 1994
Unknown U Hla Win, pers. comm., 22 June, 1994
Unnamed
6.28 ct; faceted cushion; sold at Christie's New York, Oct., 1994 (Lot 240) for $233,500 ($37,182/ct)
Kashmir
Date unknown
Unknown GAA Market Monitor, 1995
Le Côte d'Azur
397.095 ct; 42.33 x 31.88 x 29.14 mm; blue oval cabochon, unheated
Burma
Date unknown
Private party Olivier Galibert, 14 August, 1998
Unnamed
35.09 ct; faceted blue cushion, unheated; sold at Christie's New York, Oct. 25, 2000 (Sale No. 9510; Lot 772) for $853,000 ($24,309/ct)
Kashmir
Date unknown
Private European party www.christies.com
Colored Stone, Jan./Feb. 2001
Unnamed
478.68 ct; faceted blue cushion mounted in Cartier pendant, unheated; sold at Christie's Geneva, Nov. 19, 2003 (Sale No. 1312; Lot No. 382) for $1,494,480; previously owned by Queen Marie of Romania.
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown www.christies.com
Unnamed
21.29 ct; faceted octagonal-cut Kashmir sapphire ring by Cartier; sold at Christie's Geneva, 13–14 Nov., 2001 (Lot No. 125) for SFR1,549,750 ($945,348; $44,403/ct.). Former auction per carat record for a Kashmir sapphire.
Kashmir
Date unknown
Private Middle East party www.christies.com
Unnamed
27.54 ct; rectangular-cut Kashmir sapphire mounted in ring flanked by pear-shaped diamond shoulders (Lot No. 246); sold for SFr.1,244,000 $982,760; over $35,000/ct.).
Kashmir
Date unknown
European private www.christies.com
Blue Giant of the Orient
486.52 ct; faceted, cushion-shaped sapphire; offered at Christie’s Geneva 19 May, 2004; Sale 1318, Lot 301; did not sell; reportedly sold after auction for US$1 million. Largest faceted sapphire of quality ever offered at auction.
Kuruwita, Sri Lanka
in 1907;
sold to a Japanese by a Sri Lankan dealer in 1972.
Unknown

www.christies.com

Unnamed
Cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphire of 26.41 cts; sold for $3,838,508 ($145,342/ct) at Christie's Hong Kong 29 November, 2011 sale (Lot 2813). Former auction record per carat price for a single blue sapphire.
Kashmir
Date unknown
Purchased by anonymous Asian private buyer Christie's 2011

Star of Kashmir
Cushion-shaped sapphire of 19.88 cts set in diamond ring; $3,483,017 ($175,202 per ct) at Christie's Geneva 15 May 2013 sale (Lot 306). Auction record total per carat for a single sapphire.

Kashmir
Date unknown
Lawrence Graff Christie's 2013

Unnamed
Sapphire ring with a sapphire of 8.91 cts; $1,370,500 ($154,000 per ct) at Christie's New York 10 December 2012 sale (Lot 141).

Kashmir
Date unknown
Purchased by anonymous buyer Christie's 2012

Unnamed
Cushion-shaped Kashmir sapphire of 15.88 cts set in diamond ring; $1,805,000 ($113,600 per ct) at Christie's New York 15 October 2013 sale (Lot 389)

Kashmir
Date unknown
International Trade Christie's 2013
a. On April 1, 1914, the carat was standardized as 200 milligrams. Weights before that date are approximate only (see box on page 228). All dollar prices in US dollars unless stated otherwise. [return to Table 10.6] 

Table 10.7: Summary of famous sapphires other than blue

Name, weight, description and sale pricea

Source & date found

Current
Location

Reference

• 100.18 ct; faceted oval; orange ('padparadscha'); Ceylon (considered among the finest padparadschas of its size in existence)
• 75, 100, 151 ct; yellow; Ceylon
• 73.5 ct; golden yellow; Ceylon
• 33 ct; violet; Siam
Various, mostly Sri Lanka American Museum of Natural History Kunz, 1913b
Pough, 1964
Crowningshield, 1983
H.C. Maxwell Stuart collection
2,384 sapphires of every color, shade and tint; sold on June 22, 1921 at Christie's for £3,000
Various sources & dates Unknown Times of London, 23 June, 1921
Stonebridge Green
195 ct rough; sold for A$30,000
Rubyvale, Queensland, Australia, 1938 Alexander Acevedo, Alexander Gallery, NYC Anonymous, 1981
Greg Brown, pers. comm., 7 Mar., 2000
Anderson's (Willows) Yellow
28 dwt.,b 3.5 grains (~218 ct); rough; yellow; later cut to several gems (biggest = 35.50 ct)
Willows field, Queensland
Australia, 14 Aug., 1946
Unknown Morton, 1946
Monteagle, 1979
Clifton-Parr Golden Flower
13.5 dwt. (104.89 ct) rough; 21.25 ct cut; faceted; yellow; found by Eleanor Pacey; reportedly sold ca. 1970 for A$9000
Pacey's Ridge, Anakie, Australia, 13 Oct., 1946 Unknown Monteagle, 1979
Donovan's Yellow
21 dwt. (163 ct); rough; reddish yellow
Rubyvale, Anakie, Australia, 1949 Alexander Acevedo, Alexander Gallery, NYC Monteagle, 1979
Greg Brown, pers. comm., 7 Mar., 2000
Golden Willow (Golden Queen)
322 ct rough; 91.35 ct faceted; yellow; value estimated at A$150,000
Willows field, Queensland, Australia, 1952 Unknown Anonymous, 1952c
Anonymous, 1965
Unnamed
Weight unknown; green; 6-rayed star
Willows field, Queensland,
Australia
Unknown Anonymous, 1952b
Unnamed
179.41 ct; faceted cushion; yellow
Sri Lanka
Date unknown
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Meen, 1963
Unnamed
43.95 ct; faceted cushion; greenish yellow
Mogok, Burma
Date unknown
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Meen, 1963
Unnamed
28.61 ct; faceted; near square; orange ('padparadscha')
Source unknown
Date unknown
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Meen, 1963
Black Star of Queensland
1,165 ct rough; 733 ct cut; black star sapphire; rough was used as a door stop for many years; purchased by Kazanjian Brothers and cut in 1948
Klondyke ridge, Anakie, Queensland, Australia, 1938 Unknown Norwood, 1968
Scholler, 1985
Unnamed
Black star sapphire; above 100 ct rough; 67 ct cut
Willows field, Queensland, Australia Peter Laws (1968) Norwood, 1968
Unnamed
195.45 ct; faceted; oval; yellow; sold at Christie's Geneva, Oct. 2, 1969 (Lot 246)
Source unknown
Date unknown
Unknown Christie et al., 1969
Pride of Queensland (McKinney/Beck)
471 ct; rough; cut into a 169 ct stone; later recut into a ~159-ct stone; yellow
Reward Claim, Anakie, Australia, 1975 Alexander Acevedo
Alexander Gallery
New York City
Monteagle, 1979
Walda Scholler, pers. comm., 16 April, 1997
Australian Sun
396 ct rough; yellow
Anakie, Australia, 1976 Unknown Monteagle, 1979
Centenary Gem
2019.50 ct; rough; yellow-blue parti-color
Anakie, Australia
17 Feb., 1979
Alexander Acevedo
Alexander Gallery
New York City
Monteagle, 1979
Greg Brown, pers. comm., 7 Mar., 2000
Unnamed
30 ct; faceted oval; pinkish orange ('padparadscha')
Source & date unknown (probably Sri Lanka) Unknown Crowningshield, 1983
Unnamed
1,126 ct; rough crystal, pinkish orange, 'padparadscha' color; crystal later cut into several gems, the biggest of 47.00 ct
Sri Lanka
Date unknown
Unknown Crowningshield, 1983
Fryer, 1986
Kingsley Sapphire
162.26 ct; rough; bi-color, yellow and green
Fancy Stone Gully, Anakie, Australia
Date unknown
Unknown Koivula and Kammerling, 1989
Ceylon “Sinflower”
400.06 ct; faceted; yellow
Sri Lanka
Date unknown
Michael Scott Collection Keller and Scott, 2002

a. On April 1, 1914, the carat was standardized as 200 milligrams. Weights before that date are approximate only (see box on page 228). All dollar prices in US dollars unless stated otherwise. [return to Table 10.7]
b. Dwt. is the abbreviation for pennyweight (1 pennyweight = 7.776 ct). [return to Table 10.7]

Table 10.8: Summary of famous engraved/carved rubies & sapphires

Name, weight, description and sale pricea Source & date found Current
Location
Reference
Rubies
Queen Elizabeth I Ruby Cameo
Mounted on engraved rock crystal ewer

Made in Milan's Miseroni workshop about 1600

Exhibited at Burghley House, London, April, 1985

Norman, 1985
Unnamed
Ruby cameo of the head of Mme de Maintenon (1635–1719); 2.2 cm dia.; mounted in gold ring
ca. 1700 British Museum Tait, 1986, p. 224
Unnamed
Ruby engraved with a chimera; said to be the largest engraved ruby known
Source unknown
Date unknown
French Crown Jewels? Jones, 1902
Ecce Homo ('Behold the Man')
2,890 ct; star ruby; carved in the image of a man
Rough from Mozambique Unknown Anonymous, 1959
Carved rubies from Tanzania (ruby in zoisite)
• Liberty Ruby: ~8500 ct; carved in the shape of the US Liberty Bell
• Mercy Ruby: 22,000 ct;
• Good Samaritan: 6.25 x 5.25 in (15.875 x 13.335 cm)
These are but a few examples
Rough from Tanzania
(ruby in zoisite)
Unknown Slawson, 1976
Zeitner, 1976
Zeitner, 1984
Sapphires
Great Sapphire of the Karlsruhe Museum
24 mm diameter; engraved with the head of Zeus

Source unknown
3rd century AD

Karlsruhe Museum
Germany

Duchamp, 1994
Ring of Saint Louis 15th century Karlsruhe, Germany Duchamp, 1994
Hercules Unknown Karlsruhe, Germany Duchamp, 1994
Le Sceau de France Unknown Karlsruhe, Germany Duchamp, 1994
Crucifixion Sapphire
20 x 18 mm; cameo
Unknown Kunsthistorisches Museum Duchamp, 1994
Seal of Alaric Sapphire
20.6 x 16.7 mm; engraved ('ALARICUS REX GOTHORUM')
Unknown Vienna Museum
Austria
Duchamp, 1994
Sapphire Ring of the Vienna Museum
Ring carved from a single piece of sapphire; external diameter = 24 mm (internal = 13 mm)
Unknown Vienna Museum
Austria
Duchamp, 1994
Pertinax Sapphire
Octagonal intaglio of the Roman emperor Pertinax (126–193 AD); measures 5.5 x 7 x 5.5 mm
16th century? National Library
Paris, France
Duchamp, 1994
Unnamed
Sapphire intaglio; engraved with the face of Helios; from the Baron Roger de Sivry collection
18th century? Unknown Duchamp, 1994
15 ct; perfect blue; carved; one side shows leaves radiating from a central stem; thought to have come from India Unknown Unknown Anonymous, 1932b
Unnamed
Image of Buddha carved in blue sapphire; mounted on gold pin
Unknown British Museum of Natural History Aziz, 1942
Unnamed
Engraved sapphire showing woman dressed in a drapery; the gem's color zoning was used to great effect, with one color used for the head, the other for the drapery
Unknown Formerly in the Russian crown jewels; current location unknown Anonymous, 1952a
Head of the Roman emperor Caracalla [188–217 AD]
Engraved sapphire
Unknown Unknown Anonymous, 1952a
Seal of Constantine II
50 ct; engraved sapphire
Unknown Unknown Anonymous, 1952a
Portrait of Empress Marie-Theresa
Engraved sapphire; fine quality; by Carlo Costanzi
Engraving done in 1705 Unknown Anonymous, 1952a
Sapphire intaglio made by Jacques Gay upon the recovery of the Dauphin in 1752 1752 Unknown Anonymous, 1952a
Royal Sapphire of Burma
375 ct; carved blue sapphire; elongated oval, engraved on one side with a petals suggesting a lotus bud, on the other with three concentric circles of lotus, suggestive of a Buddhist emblem; drilled with three tiny holes (probably for suspensions as an amulet); sold at Christie's Geneva, 19 Nov., 1970 (Lot 314) for SF310,000; formerly in Nizam of Hyderabad collection.
Burma
Date unknown
Unknown Christie et al., 1970
Kazanjian Sapphire Carvings
• Abraham Lincoln: 2302 ct rough; 1318 ct carved
• George Washington: 1997 ct rough; 1056 ct carved
• Thomas Jefferson: 1743 ct rough; 1381 ct carved
• Dwight Eisenhower: 2097 ct rough; 1444 ct carved
• Martin Luther King Jr.: 4180 ct rough; 3294 ct carved
• Madonna of the Star: 1100 ct rough; 545 ct carved
Reward Claim, Anakie, Australia
Commissioned by the Kazanjians
Kazanjian Foundation of Calif. Anonymous, 1952a
Norwood, 1968
Monteagle, 1979
Millennium Sapphire
89,850 ct (17.97 kg) sapphire crystal; later carved into a 61,500 ct. (12.3 kg) piece. Not gemmy!
Madagascar Daniel Mckinney

The find of a lifetime
See Hughes, 1996, Lettter to the Editor, JewelSiam, Vol. 7, No.  4, p. 28 for an honest reply to the “Find of a lifetime” article
Jewellery News Asia, Jan. 2000
Millenniumsapphire.com

a. On April 1, 1914, the carat was standardized as 200 milligrams. Weights before that date are approximate only (see box on page 228). All dollar prices in US dollars unless stated otherwise. [return to Table 10.8] 

Table 10.9: Summary of rough corundum giants

Name, weight, description and sale pricea Source & date found Current
Location
Reference
Unnamed
312 lb (141.5 kg; 707,500 ct); opaque, red and blue crystal (not gem quality)
Franklin, NC
Before 1882
Shepard Collection
Amherst College, USA
Kunz, 1892
Unnamed
Over 10 lb (4.5 kg); sapphire crystal
Mogok, Burma
1928
Unknown Mineral Industry, 1929
Unnamed
335 lb (152 kg) hexagonal bipyramid crystal (not gem quality); 2 ft, 3 in (68.58 cm) in width.
This is the largest known corundum crystal on record.
Leydsdorp, Northern Transvaal, South Africa
Date unknown
Geological Survey Museum, Pretoria, South Africa Spencer, 1933
Anonymous, 1951a
Unnamed
136.5 lb (61.92 kg); rough brown & cream crystal; 15 x 7 x 12 in. (38 x 18 x 30 cm)
18 km from Santa Barbara, MG, Brazil
Date Unknown
Natural History Museum, London
(#BM1935, 1060)
Roger Harding, pers. comm., 16 May, 1995
Unnamed
42 lb (19 kg); crystal said to be in the shape of the island of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Date unknown
American Museum of Natural History? Anonymous, 1936
Wijesekera, 1980
Unnamed
63,000 ct (12.6 kg; 27.783 lb); rough crystal, bluish gray pyramid (not gem quality); 27 x 14.25 x 6.75 in (68.58 x 36.195 x 17.145 cm)
Mogok, Burma
ca. 1967
Myanma Gems Enterprise, Burma Anonymous, 1967
Unnamed
40.3 kg; rough, blue-gray color, doubly-terminated bipyramid crystal
Rakwana, Sri Lanka
Date unknown
Unknown Koivula & Kammerling, 1989a
Unnamed
4,230 ct; rough; bluish bipyramidal crystal; not gemmy
Lokekhet ('Kadegadar') Mogok, Burma
Sept. 1990
Myanma Gems Enterprise, Burma Working People's Daily, 5 Feb, 1991
Clark, 1991, p. 68
Devil's Eye Ruby
66,550 ct (13.31 kg) ruby crystal
Possibly from Burma Unknown Werner K. Kubesch, pers. comm., 17 Aug., 1998; see also here

a. On April 1, 1914, the carat was standardized as 200 milligrams. Weights before that date are approximate only (see box on page 228). All dollar prices in US dollars unless stated otherwise. [return to Table 10.9]

World's Largest?

AMONG the most difficult tasks facing the gemologist is that of testing the world's largest. 'Tis not a task for the meek; those called upon to test the world's largest somesuch are rarely showered with trust. All specimens are "priceless" and all are "absolutely genuine," having been either family heirlooms dating from Timur's sacking of Delhi in 1398 AD, or recently unearthed from someone's backyard or rice paddy. Thus the owner often demands to watch the proceedings, fearing that, if their back is turned for even an instant, the vulpine tester will slide an identical specimen out from under his cloak for the switch.

During the author's many years practicing gemology, people constantly turned up with the "world's largest" this or that. I've been privileged to examine the "world's largest ruby" (a large chunk of battered red glass), the "world's largest imperial green jade" (a large chunk of translucent green glass) and the "world's largest sapphire" (a large chunk of battered blue glass). But perhaps most impressive of all was the "world's largest pearl." So large was this that a fruit scale had to be used to determine its weight. Indeed, it was a pearl of sorts, but, to be frank, that may be an abuse of the term. It actually resembled something extruded from the rear of an enormous oyster, perhaps shortly after a meal of tainted shellfish. No doubt this extraordinary specimen now rests, yoke-like, between the pendulous breasts of a society maiden on the wrong side of 40.

While owners of such gems may genuinely believe them to be priceless, they surface most often from the bowels of unscrupulous dealers' collections, always with an inflated appraisal claiming them to be more valuable than the British Crown Jewels.

This was the case with the infamous Life and Pride of America Star Sapphire, which featured in many news reports of 1985 and 1986 (Hughes, 1987b). In a story that would warm the heart of even the most jaded observer, one Roy Whetstine claimed to have bought the 1905-ct stone for $10 at the Tucson gem show. But things turned dour when a reporter discovered that one L.A. Ward of Fallbrook, CA, who appraised it at the whopping price of $1200/ct, had appraised another stone of the exact same weight several years before Whetstine said he found it. Photographs of the "gem" revealed an opaque corundum lump that would be put to better use dressing grinding wheels than windows at Tiffany.

 

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