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5 minutes with… A Burmese pigeon’s blood ruby ring

Specialist May Lim explains why a close encounter with the Ratnaraj — an unusually large ruby of phenomenal colour and clarity, offered in the Magnificent Jewels sale in Hong Kong on 29 November — is such a privilege

The Ratnaraj, which means ‘king of precious stones’ in Sanskrit, is one of the most significant pigeon’s blood rubies ever to be offered at auction. Pigeon’s blood is the term applied to the most highly saturated colour and natural red fluorescence possible in a ruby. Weighing an impressive 10.05 carats, the Ratnaraj is a wonder of the natural world.

‘Top-quality Burmese rubies are rare, especially ones that are more than 5 carats in size,’ explains Hong Kong Jewellery specialist May Lim. ‘In recent years we’ve been lucky enough to find a number of amazing rubies for our sales.’

A superb ruby and diamond ring, by Faidee. The oval-shaped ruby, weighing approximately 10.05 carats, within a radiating surround of oval-shaped diamonds, to the circular-cut diamond gallery, extending to the undulating hoop, mounted in platinum and gold, ring size 6¼. Signed and with maker’s mark for Faidee. Estimate HK$ 68,800,000-98,000,000  $8,800,000-12,500,000. This lot is

A superb ruby and diamond ring, by Faidee. The oval-shaped ruby, weighing approximately 10.05 carats, within a radiating surround of oval-shaped diamonds, to the circular-cut diamond gallery, extending to the undulating hoop, mounted in platinum and gold, ring size 6¼. Signed and with maker’s mark for Faidee. Estimate: HK$ 68,800,000-98,000,000 / $8,800,000-12,500,000. This lot is offered in the Magnificent Jewels sale on 29 November at Christie’s Hong Kong

In December 2015 Christie’s Hong Kong sold the 15.04-carat Crimson Flame ruby for $18.3 million — the highest price per carat ever paid for a ruby, and still the world record. In May 2016 a pair of ruby and diamond ear pendants, weighing 10.02 carats and 9.09 carats, set another world auction record for a pair of ruby earrings when they were sold at Christie’s Hong Kong for $11.6 million in May 2016.

The stunning Ratnaraj is designed by Faidee and is set to be the highlight of the Magnificent Jewels sale in Hong Kong on 29 November.

‘Faidee’s trophy collection of pigeon’s blood rubies with a flawless crystal structure is exceptional,’ says Lim. ‘The house’s stones are unique and highly sought-after, and we are delighted that the Ratnaraj comes from this collection. This is a highly significant opportunity for serious collectors, because rubies of this quality only very rarely come to the market.’

Mounted on a platinum and gold ring and surrounded by oval-shaped colourless diamonds, the ruby measures approximately 13.65 by 11.50 by 6.55 mm, and hails from the famous Mogok Valley in Burma.

Rubies command higher prices per carat than any other gemstone apart from coloured diamonds. As the mines in Burma and elsewhere produce fewer and fewer stones of important sizes, the arrival of any stone on the market that is more than 5 carats is a cause for celebration among gemstone connoisseurs. The Swiss Gemmological Institute hails the clarity and colour of the stone as ‘entirely natural’, and describes it as ‘a true treasure of nature’.

‘It’s actually an honour to be able to handle a jewel of this rarity, size and quality,’ explains Lim. ‘Especially when you bear in mind its potential to set the next world record.’