A ruby is a variety of corundum mineral which is primarily composed of aluminum oxide. The gemstone is typically blood-red to pink in color. Ruby derives its name from “ruber” which in Latin means red. It is one of the cardinal gems, a group of gemstones that are regarded as more precious than others. The presence of the element chromium in a ruby lends the red color to the gemstone. The price of a ruby varies widely and is determined by numerous factors like color, clarity, weight in carats, etc. Here is a list of some of the most famous and valuable ruby gemstones in the world:
7. The DeLong Star Ruby
Named after its owner, Edith Haggin DeLong, this precious gemstone was uncovered in Burma in the 1930s. It is a cabochon star ruby with an oval shape. The gemstone weighs 20.064 g or 100.32-carat. In 1937, the owner of the gemstone donated it to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).
This gemstone was one of the precious gems that were stolen during a notorious heist conducted by JR Murphy and his accomplices in 1964. Although some of the other gemstones stolen during this robbery were recovered, a massive ransom amount had to be paid to get back the DeLong Star Ruby. The amount was paid by a wealthy businessman from Florida.
6. The Midnight Star Ruby
Another famous ruby, the Midnight Star, is also a part of the collection of the AMNH. The ruby was discovered in Sri Lanka. JP Morgan donated it to the museum. This star ruby weighs 116.75-carats and has a deep purplish red color. The Midnight Star was also one of the stolen precious gemstones during the 1964 jewelry heist from the AMNH by JR Murphy. The gemstone was, however, recovered from Miami and returned to the safety of the museum.
5. The Neelanjali Ruby
The 1,370 carat Neelanjali Ruby holds the record of being the world’s biggest ruby with a double star. The precious gemstone was worshipped for centuries by a family in India who owned it. It was believed to represent the lingam of the Hindu god Shiva. The owners of the ruby are descendants of the rulers of the famous Indian Vijayanagara empire. According to reports, the Neelanjali Ruby is currently safe in Bangalore, India.
4. The Rosser Reeves Ruby
One of the finest and largest star rubies in the world, the Rosser Reeves Ruby also traces its origin to Sri Lanka. The ruby is noted for its prominent star pattern and attractive color. The ruby was donated to the Smithsonian in 1965 by Rosser Reeves, an advertising mogul, after whom the gemstone is named. The ruby weighs 27.74 g or 138.7 carats.
3. The Sunrise Ruby
The world’s most expensive ruby, the Sunrise Ruby, is also the world’s most expensive gemstone other than a diamond. This precious gemstone traces its origin to Myanmar. The Sunrise Ruby weighs 5.1 g or 25.59-carat. The ruby has been set between hexagonal diamonds to create an exquisitely beautiful piece of jewelry. The well-balanced combination of trace elements in the ruby lends the gemstone its lovely ‘pigeon blood red’ color. The ruby was purchased by an anonymous buyer in 2015 during an auction event in Geneva. The ruby sold for a record US$30.42 million during the auction.
2. The Prince of Burma
One of the rarest rubies in the world, the Prince of Burma is a large uncut ruby weighing 190 g (about 950 carats). It exists in the crystallized form on a marble deposit. The Prince of Burma was discovered in Myanmar’s Dattaw-Mine in 1996. Despite not being subjected to heat treatment, the gemstone has a unique pigeon-blood red color. If a gem is cut out of this uncut piece of gemstone, it might result in a ruby that weighs 300 carats, making it one of the world’s biggest piece of cut rubies. However, due to the sentimental value associated with this gemstone, no plans to process it is known to currently exist. According to reports, the Prince of Burma is currently owned by a German gemstone trader.
1. The Liberty Bell Ruby
The world’s largest mined ruby, the Liberty Bell Ruby, was discovered in the 1950’s in eastern Africa. The 8 1/2 thousand carats large ruby is sculpted to represent a miniature version of the Liberty Bell. 50 diamonds have also been included in the bell. Unfortunately, the Liberty Bell Ruby was stolen during a jewelry heist in 2014 and is yet to be recovered.