The Book of Ruby & Sapphire

From an unpublished 1934 manuscript
By Col. J.F. Halford-Watkins
edited by Richard W. Hughes



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Prior to the 1930s, ruby and sapphire were mysteries, arcane gems oft-confused with spinel and other look-alikes. Enter Col. J.F. Halford-Watkins. Living in Mogok for more than two decades, he penned several articles and an entire monograph on the subject of these rare gems. Sadly he passed away before it could be published. In 1994, Richard Hughes came across a reference to the manuscript. Patrick Streeter, grandson of G. Skelton Streeter, and great grandson of the famed London jeweler, Edwin Streeter, had mentioned the Halford-Watkins manuscript while writing his book, Streeter of Bond Street. Following up on that obscure reference Richard Hughes stumbled upon something truly fantastic, an undiscovered treasure of the gemological literature. Over ten years in the making, The Book of Ruby & Sapphire is the realization of Halford-Watkins’ vision. Professionally edited and illustrated, it represents a gemological tour de force.

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The Book of Ruby & Sapphire

Dr. John Emmett says:

Most of what we read about Burma's Mogok Stone Tract is penned by visitors. Col. J.F. Halford-Watkins, gemologist, gem dealer, and a director of Burma Ruby Mines, Ltd., lived in Mogok for two decades. His descriptions of the mines, gems and people are authentic, detailed, and fascinating. This work, recently rediscovered and brought to us by Richard Hughes, is a masterpiece that belongs in the library of every lover of fine gems. The Book of Ruby & Sapphire, from his 77-year old unpublished manuscript, is a rare find—as exquisite as any fine ruby.

The Book of Ruby & Sapphire is the culmination of a lifetime’s work by Halford-Watkins. Profusely illustrated, it is something that ranks with the finest works of Kunz, Bauer and Sinkankas. It is something all gemologists should own.

The Book of Ruby & Sapphire


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Posted 20 November, 2011; last updated 17 March, 2013