The source of the world’s best Burmese ruby is Laos, Burma, where Thailand and China meet. This area became known as the “Golden Triangle”.There is no doubt that the world’s rarest and most valuable rubies, which are sought after by collectors, were mined in Burma – Mogok. The reason these jewels are envied is because they shine and tend to look good in all lighting conditions. This glow is the direct result of fluorescence. When fluorescent jewelry is struck with ultraviolet light, it adds an extra effect to the jewelry. Burmese stones tend to be more beautiful and shiny compared to rubies from other sources .
Although there are thousands of different shades of red, for the sake of argument let’s divide the Mogok Burmese ruby into three groups: The ultimate color is what is referred to as “pigeon blood”, “stoplight red”, or “cherry-lifesaver red”. The primary color is red and the secondary color is orange, purple, or pink. These stones are ultra-rare and command price premiums. They are sought after by an awaiting international gem market.
The second major color is best described as “electric magenta”. The predominate color is red and the secondary is pink. These beautiful stones are light-toned, bright, and vibrate with color.
The final group is “hot electric pink” or “day glo pink” gemstones. These stones tend to look good even without any direct light. The primary color is still red, but with less red than the “electric magenta” colors.
Which color is best for collectors? This is a controversial subject among dealers and collectors. Some collectors love strictly one group, for example the “pigeon blood” reds, to the exclusion of the other groups. Some collectors strictly collect the pinks or magentas. Some collectors believe it is too difficultto trade in only one group and collect the finest examples of all three groups. This is probably the most prudent strategy. For collectors on a budget, you can start with the hot pinks and work your way up through the magentas to the reds as your finances allow.
For the finest one carat unheated Mogok Burma rubies cost between US $9000- US $33000 per carat. For two carat Mogok Burmas are available from US $14000 – US $54000 , for three carats between US $30000 – US $85000 per carat. For four carat Mogok Burmas can easily exceed US $110000 per carat. Larger gem quality Mogok Burma rubies can reach hundreds of thousands to over one million dollars per carat.
Ever since Burma’s Communist leaders shut off the country in 1962, Mogok Burma ruby has been an endangered species. Even before 1962, the famous Mogok tract production was in sharp decline. Mogok is 4000 feet above sea level .
Due to the severe shortages in Burma production, the majority of rubies bought and sold today are from Mozambique, Africa. The new find in 2011 has brought relief to the lack of material from Burma. If you are looking to collect a ruby on a more moderate budget, many experts predict this stone may eventually gain the acceptance Burma ruby now holds. Almost all of these stones are cooked. Research right now is trying to determine if some Mozambique material is cooked under low heat vs. high heat. Stay tuned. Try to focus on the gems that look like Burma ruby and are not heated. Occasionally, you can find an intense red/orange that is highly desirable. They do not have the desirable fluorescence of the Burma gems. As a general rule, for unheated Mozambique ruby, deduct 50%-75% from Burma prices. Beware because these stones often come with “junk” certificates claiming they are “pigeon” blood .
When only the most luscious of red rubies will do for a special jewelry setting, precious stones harvested from Burma prove nearly impossible to top. While the July birthstone is found all over the world, including Africa, Australia and America, rubies from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, tend to be the most visually stunning.
Burmese ruby value can vary based on the quality of the individual stone in question. When ruby prices are considered carefully alongside quality, stones from this particular region tend to live up to their cost. The most precious of these stones are characterized by a robust, rich red color that has just a slight hint of blue to add depth to its beauty. The finest stones in the world are mined in Myanmar, which is why the term “Burmese ruby” and high quality go hand-in-hand.
Rubies come in a variety of shades – While red and ruby are synonymous, not all of these precious stones have the rich red color offset by blue that have made Burmese rubies so highly sought after. These stones can vary from that deep, dark red to also include such hues as pigeon blood red and pinkish red. The red in the stone, by the way, comes from traces of chromium.
Rubies are highly durable – If the desire is to purchase a stone that will stand up to the rigors of wear, rubies will deliver.
They rate a 9 on the Mohs scale, tying closely related sapphires and only coming in as slightly softer than diamonds.
Rubies are flawed – It is nearly impossible to find a ruby without imperfections. In fact, when a stone is located that’s flawless, it will fetch a higher price than a diamond of similar weight and quality.
Rubies are treated to shine even more – It is a standard practice in the jewelry industry to treat rubies to enhance their color and add even more strength to the design.
The world’s finest rubies all come from the metamorphic rocks of Mogok, in Myanmar. Traditional methods of mining, with little mechanization, are still used; they work best in digging the gemstones out of narrow calcite veins and thin beds of buried placer gravel.
Rare Burmese rubys is the rarest of all colored gems, and Burmese ruby has long been the premier investment gem. Fine unheated Burmese rubies in larger sizes draw prices as high as US $300000 to US $400000 a carat at auction. Vivid red — a color known in the trade as pigeon’s blood — is the most valuable color. Rubies tend to have inclusions, so color is more important than perfect clarity.
Another interesting ruby worth noting is the star ruby.
Star rubys being not faceted like most ruby, these stones are cut cabochon.
If you want to see an outstanding collection of stars , go to the American Museum of Natural History in New York . Morgan collection.
In searching for these gems, follow these guidelines:
The six legs of the star should be sharp, not wide and blurry.
The star should be centered.
The main ray should run lengthwise.
The star should be silvery or milky white.
From a clarity standpoint, the stones should be semi-transparent. The stone should not be too flat on the top or too heavy on the bottom.How Much Is a Burmese Ruby Worth?
Just because a ruby is from Burma does not automatically mean that it is of the highest quality and therefore should be more expensive. Each ruby is evaluated on a case by case basis with the focus on color, carat, clarity and other quality factors.
In general, though, Burmese rubies tend to be the most expensive among ruby varieties. The highest anyone has ever paid for a Burmese ruby has been $1 million USD per carat. However, in general, you can find high quality Burmese rubies priced around $10000 per carat.
The rarest and most valuable collector fancy sapphire is the padparadscha, which is Sinhalese for “lotus flower”. A true padparadscha must display a combination of both orange and pink colors. These colors should blend so that it is difficult to see where the pink stops and the orange begins. Dealers disagree on the exact ideal color of a padparadscha. Tone and origin are crucial factors in determining what truly constitutes this gem. We believe the term should be limited to the light to medium tones of Sri Lankan (Ceylon) sapphires with a color that is similar to salmon. In our opinion, the Umba Valley, Tanzania gems and the new Madagascar material do not have the same attractive color in the classic sense. Some unscrupulous dealers have been selling African fancy sapphires as padparadscha. However, these stones have too much orange-brown to be properly labeled “pads”. Sri Lankan padparadscha sapphires sell at a premium, nearing the price of a Kashmir sapphire. An unheated gem padparadscha will range between $5000-$16,000 per carat. Large gems can exceed these prices. Padparadschas are hot collector items and are bought up as quickly as they are found.
$1500-$3500 per carat. Large multi-carat sized Burma pinks can exceed $7000 per carat. Many collectors consider “hot” pink sapphire as an inexpensive alternative to the red Classic Mogok Burma ruby.The second most valuable fancy sapphire is “electric” or “bubble gum” pink. The best of these gems have a pure vibrant and vivid pink color. What makes these stones exceptional is an electric intensity and a tone that pushes them way above a pastel color. Dealers, gem organizations, labs and collectors argue about where to draw the line between ruby and pink sapphire. One problem with grading these stones is the color pink is basically a light or desaturated red. On the AGL grading system, there is a transition point for pink sapphire/ruby. If the stone is redder than this point, it is called a ruby. If the stone is less red, it is a pink sapphire. And, although these gems are technically pink sapphires in America, some cultures, such as the Japanese and Europeans, refer to this color as “Burma ruby”. This makes it very difficult for US collectors. The main sources of these gems are Burma, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar. The supply of Sri Lankan and Burma goods remains scarce. Most of the heated pinks on the market today are from Madagascar and sell from $200-$1000 per carat. Unheated gem Burma pinks sell from
The Standard For Star Sapphires
Ideally, the star in a star sapphire should be perfectly centered when viewed from directly above, with each ray of equal length. The rays should be bright, sharp, and clearly defined–not blurry or fuzzy–and they should reach from the crown of the cabochon to the base without interruption. Star sapphires occur in almost every color seen in transparent sapphires, although yellow, orange, and green star sapphires are very uncommon.
Where did the name “Alexandrite”come from?
Nils Gustaf Nordenskiöld the Finnish mineralogist , is credited with finding the first samples of Alexandrite material in Russian emerald mines in the Ural Mountains . Nordenskiöld after being inspired by the future Russian tsar Alexander’s birthday celebration, he coining the name Alexandrite .
Alexandrite from any source is one of the world’s rarest gems. Reportedly, this gem was discovered on Czar Alexander the Second’s birthday in Russia in 1830, and hence its name. This is one of the few gems that actually change color. The stone appears green like an emerald in natural daylight , and ruby red in artificial light. Interestingly, these were the colors of the Russian Imperial Guard. The deposits of the Ural mountains were depleted long ago. In an ideal perfect world , alexes change from red to green . However , this is not usually the case. They tend to change from a brownish reddish raspberry to a grayish bluish green. Some stones only partially change color. What you are looking for is a dramatic 100% change.
Today, the main sources of alexandrite are Sri Lanka and Brazil. Collectors have long complained about the Sri Lankan stones. They either had brown or yellow undertones, or they did not have a color change, or were horribly included. The largest known alexandrite is a 66 carat Sri Lankan gem currently in the Smithsonian Institute. From a collector standpoint, there is some of this material available today.
In 1987, a new find of alexandrite was discovered in Nova Era, Brazil. This country has always been known as a producer of inexpensive gems, until this find. What was amazing about this find was that most of the Brazilian gems had a 100% color change. Although they did not change from ruby red to emerald green, they changed from a pleasing raspberry red to an electric blue green color. Presently, there is some limited availability of these goods today.
When collecting alexandrites, remember the color change is everything. Clarity is a minor issue, as long as the inclusions do not effect the gem’s durability. Also, cut is not critical, as long as the stone is not so shallow or deep that it affects its sparkle.
One caveat is due here. If you have never seen an alexandrite, you may be disappointed. If you want a perfect stone for jewelry, you can buy a synthetic alex for $100 per carat. They have a perfect color change, are cut perfectly, and are flawless. However, if you are a serious collector, this is one stone to collect, and love for what it is. Alexandrites are one of the most sought after gems.
Jewelry quality alexandrites begin at US $1000 per carat. Wholesale prices range from about US $8000 per carat for a gem quality Brazilian gem to over US $50000 per carat for a five carat Russian gem. Average prices range from US $5000 – US $20000 per carat.
Collectors are fascinated with emerald. This rare and exotic gem is also known as “green fire”. Colombia is the main source of gem emerald. This South American country is one of the most dangerous and unstable places in the world. Many visitors recall the similarities between Chicago in the 1920s and Colombia today. With the highest murder and kidnapping rates in the world, cocaine cartels and a long-running guerrilla insurgency, Colombia is often referred to as “Locombia”, or the mad country.
Which mine is better for collectors? The terms Muzo and Chivor are often used in the trade, not so much to determine the exact source of a gem, but rather to to describe the qualities of the emerald. “Muzo” is used to describe a warm, grass-green emerald, with yellow being the secondary color. “Chivor” stones are like the pine trees of Washington state, with blue being the secondary color. Certain collectors and dealers argue about which color is the best, but it is really a matter of personal preference. In top colors both types of these emeralds are highly desirable and expensive.
Emeralds are very included compared to most gemstones. Inclusions that would not be acceptable in ruby and sapphire are acceptable in emerald. The definitive identifier for Colombian emerald is the three-phase inclusion; solid, liquid, and gas. Even though the gem is typically mined with eye-visible inclusions (even at the collector level), emerald is the most popular colored gem in America. Probably 98% of all emerald discovered would be graded inclusions .
Most collectors seek strictly Colombian emeralds. They spend decades buying the finest green and cleanest stones available. Occasionally, African and Brazilian emeralds are discovered that look exactly like Colombian emerald. These gems make sense to collect if you are an emerald connoisseur. If you have a moderate budget, you can purchase African emerald. These gems are cleaner than Colombian emeralds but have a touch of black and gray colors. They trade at a 50% discount to Colombian stones. If you are on a limited budget, occasionally Brazil produces nice stones at about 50% the price of Colombians. Brazilian emeralds are green/black in appearance.
Commercial quality Colombian emeralds can easily range from $500-$2500 per carat for one carat stones. High jewelry quality ranges from $2500-$5000 per carat. Gem, one carat emeralds range between $5000-$10,000 per carat. The finest color, four carat or larger Colombian emeralds can easily fetch $20,000 per carat. A ten carat, gem emerald can exceed $50,000 per carat. If an emerald is AGL graded as No Clarity Enhancement, add 100% to these figures. Many collectors search for untreated emeralds only .
Even rarer than alexandrite and cat’s eye is the first green garnet, the demantoid garnet. This beautiful green gem was discovered in the Urals of Russia in 1886, and has not been mined until recently . It derives its name from its diamond-like luster. Unlike most garnets, this gem looks like a green diamond. One interesting factor in demantoid garnets is that almost every Russian demantoid has a “horsetail” inclusion. This is one exception where an inclusion is actually a positive attribute. The stones tend to come bright green, with a yellow or blue secondary color. Most collectors do not purchase African demantoids.
Diamonds are the best known and most traded gemstone. Very few individuals collect white diamonds. One exception are individuals who collect D-Flawless diamonds. This is the ultimate “pure white ice” diamond. In 1974, you could buy one of these stones for about $5000. They topped out in 1980 at over $60000 per carat. Today, you can buy a carat sized D-Flawless for about $18000 to $20000 per carat. Some people collect them in various shapes, such as rounds, pears, marquise, radiants, ovals, and princess cuts. Others just buy rounds. Also, some people collect only important large white diamonds. Collectors buy them for their history (perhaps someone famous owned the gem), or for their large size (any diamond over 10 carats is important).
The vast majority of collectors collect colored diamonds. No other jewel combines the rarity, beauty and sex appeal of a colored diamond. Let’s face reality. The majority of white diamonds are not rare. The DeBeers cartel is the most successful cartel in existence. For over 60 years, they have convinced Americans that diamonds equate with love. On the other hand, colored diamonds are exceedingly rare, and are simply geological flukes. For every 100000 D-flawless diamonds, there is probably one colored diamond, and it is probably not flawless. The beauty and the rarity of these gems has spawned unprecedented desire and unparalleled prices for these diamonds. If you are a collector, you can collect colored diamonds depending upon your financial resources. If you are in the highest economic circle, you can collect reds, pinks, greens, and blues. If you are moderate collector, you can own fancy yellows and oranges. If you are on a tight budget, you can specialize in browns, from cinnamon to coffee to light beige. One important fact to remember is that in colored diamonds, clarity is secondary to the intensity of the diamond’s color.
Red is undoubtedly the rarest colored diamond.Red diamonds are almost priceless .
Pink diamonds have always been exceedingly rare. In the 16th and 17th centuries, India was the principal source of pink diamonds.
India was the main producer of blue diamonds from 1500 -1700. Today, new production of blues comes from South Africa or Australia. In order to understand pricing , here are some examples of recent auction prices. In October, 1994 at Sotheby’s a dealer representing a Hong Kong concern paid $9 million , or over $460 000 per carat for a 20.17 blue diamond. In 1995 at Sotheby’s a 6.70 blue diamond sold for $3.52 million , or $525000 per carat. The Apollo Blue a 14.54 Fancy Vivid Blue internally flawless sold for $42 million at Sotheby’s or almost $2.9 million per carat in 2017.
Besides the Hope diamond, the second most famous diamond is the Dresden Green. It is green and weighs 40.70 ct . It is believed to have come from Brazil in 1725 . It was purchased by Frederick Augustus the Second from a gem merchant at the Leipzig Fair in 1742 . Since then, it has been exhibited for public display in the west wing of the Dresden castle. In 1983 a 8.19 ct rectangle green diamond was sold at Sotheby’s for $396000. In 1988 a 3.02 ct yellowish/green sold for $1.7 million. In 2008 a 10.36 ct square-shaped fancy green diamond fetched $3.4 million or $336417 per carat at Christie’s.
Although India produced some yellows in the 16th and 17th centuries, South Africa today is the main producer of these gems. As a matter of fact, the first authenticated diamond found in South Africa was the 10.73 ct yellow Eureka.
Today, collectors can buy yellows in various shades from lemon yellow to taxicab yellow. The best pure yellow or orangish yellow will be called “fancy intense” or “fancy vivid” yellow . These diamonds are rare and expensive.
In an ideal perfect world, you should try to collect orange diamonds that look like a Halloween pumpkin. These pure diamonds sell for more than the yellows. A 8.93 fancy intense orange sold for about $1.9 million at Sotheby’s. However, if you are looking for a bargain, focus on oranges with yellowish secondary colors. You can also collect intense oranges with just a hint of brown at substantially reduced prices.
Pearls form in the shells of freshwater and marine molluscs. In theory, all types of these mollusks that have a shell can produce pearls. At the same time, only pearls covered with a layer of mother-of-pearl are of commercial value and they are created only by bivalves and some gastropods, as well as one type of cephalopods.
Pearls are formed as a result of a mollusk’s reaction to irritation when a foreign body enters the space between the shell valve and the mantle or to its introduction directly into the mantle. The latter is a fold of the body wall, covered with epidermis and forming a mantle cavity that communicates with the external environment. In bivalve mollusks, it has the form of two folds hanging from the back on the sides to the ventral side. The outer layer of the mantle contains a large number of glandular cells that produce various layers of the mollusk shell.
Pearls are the only jewelry material that forms in the body of mollusks, and they are probably one of the oldest used as jewelry, since they do not need additional processing. For centuries, high quality pearls have been sold for very large sums of money. Rare pearls are sold at auctions .