The Diversity of Ruby Provenance in the Gemstone Industry
Highly saturated, vividly red rubies have come to symbolize power and royalty; the prestigious colour of the rich and famous. The history of the most prized ruby, called pigeon’s blood originated in the Valley of Mogok, Burma (Myanmar). A remote and isolated mountain area, its inhabitants were consumed with a single focus; to find the most beautiful rubies unearthed in hundreds of years. Since then, these treasures have become the most desired ruby in the world. We refer to them as vivid red, or GRS-type “pigeon’s blood” ruby.
Important ruby collections often combined with diamonds have been fashioned into necklaces, rings, earrings and complete parures. Such astounding jewels of unimaginable beauty have been reserved mostly for royalty and celebrities, often fetching record-setting prices at auction.
What makes these rubies so special is their impressive hue boosted by the ramped up colour from their fluorescence. One example of a fine necklace with its rare collection of excellent quality Mogok (Burma) ruby can be found in Tiancheng Internation’s Spring Auction 2013. Comprising of fifty-eight graduating unheated oval-shaped rubies, this necklace (Lot 82) can be admired for its high crystal quality and harmonising graduation.
This celebrated ruby source has now become virtually extinct in terms of significant new mining production. The vast majority of Burmese ruby available now is being heat-treated with only a small percentage of the total ruby production being spared from thermal enhancement. Fine clarity and transparency is extremely rare, particularly with ruby larger than six carats.
An unexpected competitor for Mogok (Burma) ruby comes from a land that has produced the world's most vivid colours of gems; like vivid green Tsavorite, the unique blue-purples of Tanzanite, and the extraordinary oranges of Mandarin garnet. This land of course is the incredible East Africa. Spanning from Kenya to Tanzania and to Mozambique at the origins of mankind, it is also the site of some of the largest animal migration on earth, a truly fascinating geographical area.
The surprising find this time in East Africa is a new source of unheated "pigeon’s blood" ruby in Mozambique. Superbly transparent and perfectly crystalline; we have finally been blessed with a sumptuous ruby that can be cut into perfectly proportioned shapes and sizes. An astonishing trait with Mozambican ruby is that it often lacks eye visible characteristic inclusions; and therefore surpasses the potential that Burmese ruby offers us today, particularly with regards to size. The fine gossamer silk threads that we appreciate so much in Mogok (Burma) ruby has reappeared in this new ruby from Mozambique. With its powerful colour, the Mozambican "pigeon’s blood" ruby satisfies a ruby lover’s taste with its stunning beauty.
Previous ruby findings of surprising quality come from Tanzania as well as the Pamir mountains in Tajikistan. The additional recent discovery of world record-setting ruby with premium brilliancy and clarity from Madagascar, one of the largest island-nations on earth, finally changed the landmarks of world-record rubies forever.
Bold stock market investors have already snatched up some of the mining rights in Africa and will launch a new chapter in producing these new "pigeon's blood" rubies. They promise fair treatment and ethical mining practices with beneficiation to the local economy. This development is long overdue and will be applauded by the global gem trade.
New gem strikes take time to earn acceptance and recognition within the international market. The recent introduction of the new “pigeon’s blood” ruby has taken the market by storm; this must be seen as a clear sign that consumers are discovering the true beauty of the new exiting ruby provenances.
These magnificent untreated African rubies are truly worthy of a royal collection. They offer a new definition to rare rubies; raising the bar for ruby clarity to a whole new level.
Dr. Adolf Peretti
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