Tuesday, June 11, 2024

What is the most expensive ruby in the world?

Rubies, renowned for their striking red hue and unmatched brilliance, are among the most sought-after gemstones in the world. Formed from the mineral corundum, rubies derive their red color from the presence of chromium. The term “ruby” comes from the Latin word “ruber,” meaning red. Rubies are graded based on the purity of their color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. These precious stones have fascinated civilizations for millennia and continue to captivate the modern gem market.


Rubies have historically been associated with passion, protection, and prosperity. They were believed to possess mystical properties and were often worn by royalty and the elite. In contemporary times, rubies remain a symbol of luxury and are a favorite choice for fine jewelry.


Historical Significance

The allure of rubies spans several centuries, with their significance deeply rooted in various cultures and histories. Ancient Burmese warriors believed that rubies rendered them invincible in battle. These warriors often embedded the gemstones into their skin as a form of talisman. In India, rubies were revered as the “king of precious stones” and were used in elaborate ceremonial settings.

In the Middle Ages, Europeans attributed mystical powers to rubies. They were thought to bring good health, wealth, wisdom, and success in love. Rubies were also believed to protect the wearer from evil and to warn of impending danger by changing color.

Royalty and the affluent have long adorned themselves with rubies. Notable historical rubies include the Black Prince’s Ruby, set in the Imperial State Crown of the United Kingdom, and the Timur Ruby, which is part of the British Crown Jewels. These illustrious stones underscore the ruby’s longstanding association with wealth and power.

The Most Expensive Ruby

The most expensive ruby ever sold is the “Sunrise Ruby,” a stunning gem that has set new records in the world of fine gemstones. Weighing 25.59 carats, the Sunrise Ruby is a Burmese ruby of extraordinary quality, featuring a vibrant red color known as “pigeon blood.” This rare hue, combined with the stone’s impeccable clarity and significant carat weight, places the Sunrise Ruby in a league of its own.

In May 2015, the Sunrise Ruby was sold at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva for an astonishing $30.42 million, setting a new world record for a ruby and for any colored gemstone at auction. This sale underscored the ruby’s unparalleled value and the growing appreciation for colored gemstones in the global market.

Characteristics of High-Value Rubies

The value of a ruby is determined by several key factors: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. Each of these attributes plays a crucial role in establishing the rarity and desirability of the gemstone.


The most prized rubies exhibit a deep, vivid red color with a hint of blue, known as “pigeon blood” red. This color is exceptionally rare and commands the highest prices. Rubies that are too dark or too light in color are considered less valuable. The presence of fluorescence, which can enhance a ruby’s color, also adds to its value.


Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions or imperfections within the gemstone. While it is common for rubies to have some inclusions, high-value rubies possess fewer and less noticeable inclusions. Eye-clean rubies, which are free of visible inclusions to the naked eye, are especially prized. However, some inclusions, such as rutile needles, can create a desirable star effect known as asterism in star rubies.


The cut of a ruby influences its brilliance and overall appearance. A well-cut ruby will reflect light evenly across its surface, enhancing its color and clarity. The most common cuts for rubies are oval and cushion, but other shapes, such as round, pear, and emerald, are also popular. The precision of the cut can significantly impact the stone’s value.

Carat Weight

Larger rubies are rarer and more valuable than smaller ones. The value of a ruby increases exponentially with its carat weight, especially for stones that maintain excellent color and clarity. High-carat rubies with the coveted “pigeon blood” color and minimal inclusions are exceptionally rare and command premium prices.

See Also: How much is a 5 carat burmese ruby worth?

Record-Breaking Sales

The sale of the Sunrise Ruby in 2015 is a landmark event in the world of gemstones. However, it is not the only ruby to have fetched a high price at auction. Several other notable rubies have achieved record-breaking sales, reflecting the high demand and value of these gemstones.

The Graff Ruby

In 2014, the Graff Ruby, a 8.62-carat cushion-shaped Burmese ruby, was sold by Sotheby’s for $8.6 million. This sale set a new per-carat price record at the time, underscoring the intense market interest in high-quality rubies. The Graff Ruby is celebrated for its exceptional color and clarity.

The Hope Ruby

The Hope Ruby, a 32.08-carat Burmese ruby, was sold by Christie’s in 2012 for $6.7 million. This impressive stone, with its deep red color and significant size, attracted considerable attention from collectors and investors.

The Mogok Ruby

Another notable sale is the Mogok Ruby, a 10.05-carat Burmese ruby that sold for $5.4 million at Sotheby’s in 2015. Named after the Mogok Valley in Myanmar, where some of the finest rubies are mined, this stone exemplifies the best characteristics of high-value rubies.

These record-breaking sales highlight the enduring allure and investment potential of rubies. Collectors and investors are willing to pay premium prices for exceptional stones, driving the market to new heights.

Care and Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance are essential to preserving the beauty and value of rubies. These gemstones, while durable, require specific attention to ensure they remain in optimal condition.


Rubies should be cleaned regularly to maintain their luster. A soft cloth and mild soapy water are typically sufficient for cleaning. Avoid using harsh chemicals or ultrasonic cleaners, which can damage the stone. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.


Store rubies separately from other jewelry to prevent scratching. Use a soft pouch or a lined jewelry box to protect them from damage. Avoid exposing rubies to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight for prolonged periods, as this can affect their color.


When handling rubies, be mindful of their setting. Check for loose prongs or settings that could cause the stone to fall out. Regularly inspect jewelry for any signs of wear and tear and have any necessary repairs done by a professional jeweler.

Professional Care

For valuable rubies, consider periodic professional cleaning and inspection. A jeweler can provide deep cleaning and check for any structural issues, ensuring that the gemstone remains in excellent condition.


Rubies, with their captivating beauty and rich history, continue to be among the most prized gemstones in the world. The record-breaking sale of the Sunrise Ruby highlights the extraordinary value that these stones can command. As the market for rubies grows, driven by increasing demand and limited supply, their investment potential remains strong. Proper care and maintenance are crucial to preserving their beauty and value, ensuring that rubies remain a cherished possession for generations to come.

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