The Estrela de Fura, a 55.22-carat ruby, is set to become the most expensive gemstone of its kind ever to appear at auction, should it sell for over $30.3 million. Canadian company Fura Gems discovered the ruby at one of its mines in Mozambique last year, and it will go under the hammer in New York in June. Sotheby’s described it as “exceedingly rare” and “the most valuable and important” ruby ever to come to market. The stone was cut from a rough stone that weighed 101 carats when it was discovered by miners. The current auction record for a ruby was set by the Sunrise Ruby, a 25.59-carat stone found in Myanmar that fetched $30.3 million in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2015.
Rubies are considered among the world’s rarest and most valuable gemstones. Although record gemstone sales are dominated by diamonds, coloured ones in particular, Sotheby’s head of jewellery for the Americas, Quig Bruning, said the ruby could help African stones compete with, “and even outshine” those from Myanmar. Although rubies were first discovered in Mozambique several decades ago, a significant industry only emerged after 2009, when a huge deposit of stones was found near the northern city of Montepuez. Mozambique is now one of the world’s most productive ruby-mining countries.
According to Sotheby’s, a report from the Swiss Gemmological Institute said that the polishing of the ruby had “resulted in vivid red hues due to multiple internal reflections.” Fura Gems’ founder and CEO, Dev Shetty, said stones of such size and quality are “almost unheard of”. He added: “From the in-depth analysis and study of the stone – through the process of cutting and polishing – we have worked with the utmost care and respect for the ruby, recognizing its importance and stature.”
The ruby will feature in Sotheby’s “Magnificent Jewels” sale, which will also include a 10.57 carat pink diamond, The Eternal Pink, that is expected to fetch over $35 million. The “ultra-rare” gem was described by the auction house as possessing “unparalleled color and brightness.”