Truly Magnificent: the Estrela de FURA Ruby!

What happened on Thursday morning at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in New York was nothing less than spectacular. A ruby of exceedingly fine quality in size and color came to the auction and set the all-time record for value. Selling for $34.8 million, the Estrela de FURA, a Mozambique ruby weighing an amazing jaw-dropping 55.22 carats, displaying vivid red color, and beautifully fashioned into a classic cushion design, set a new benchmark for all colored gemstones.

The beauty of this gem is unquestionable. When you see the gem, one of the first qualities you are impressed with is its size. The size of the Estrela de FURA is unheard of. As a rough crystal. it weighed 101 carats. As a faceted gem, it now weighs 55.22 carats. Those two weights are impressive, to say the least. To find a 101 carat gem quality facetable rough crystal of ruby is shocking. To recover over 50% of the rough crystal in a finished faceted gem is amazing. It literally is historic. On average, gem cutters are pleased to retain 30% of the original rough when faceting a colored gemstone, which again is testament to the quality of the Estrela de FURA.

One is also immediately struck by the vivid color of Estrela de FURA. It is outstanding. The saturated, evenly distributed red hue of Estrela de FURA, with its fluorescent red afterglow, in this size, really sets it apart from anything comparable. And this again is what makes this ruby, the Estrela de FURA so important. It is not too light, or too dark in color. It is not orangey-red, or purplish-red, … not that there’s anything wrong with those colors, but this gem’s color directly hits the sweet spot, creating a beautiful vivid red. This is why the Estrela de FURA stands above the rest.

The Importance of Country of Origin

From where a gem originates often equates to its rarity or beauty, based upon historical gem finds from that locality. Estrela de FURA is from Mozambique, which has very little history when it comes to ruby mining, especially when compared to Burma. Mining ruby in Burma is centuries old, and has the well-deserved reputation for producing some of the finest rubies in the world. Because of its history in producing fine quality ruby, it is understandable that when it comes to the world’s most important rubies, Burma has been the locality noted for exceedingly beautiful gems.

Burmese ruby is known for its color, with its vivid red hue, accentuated by its fluorescent capabilities, glowing even more red when exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Rubies from other important ruby deposits of the past such as Thailand rubies tend to have trace amounts of iron which reduces or even eliminates that ultraviolet red glow, and can deepen the classic red color.

Mining ruby in Mozambique is quite young, having organized mining for only a few decades. Much of the Mozambique ruby that has been mined appears similar to Thai ruby, tending to be of a deeper red and lacks the fluorescent red glow of a Burmese ruby.

That is until now.

The FURA ruby deposits have less iron, allowing for the vibrant red fluorescent glow, so common in Burmese rubies. When one wonders why some rubies are more beautiful than others, fluorescence is usually the reason.

The ruby deposit from which the Estrela de FURA was unearthed has only been mined for a few short years. So from an historical perspective, Mozambique has a few years to catch up to the notoriety of the Burma ruby deposits. With the record breaking performance of Estrela de FURA at Sotheby’s, Mozambique ruby is catching up quickly.

Estrela de Fura – sold for $30 million plus buyers premium TOTAL $34.8 Million!
The Sunrise Ruby, Burmese,
1st sold in 2015 and then again this year in 2023.

Mozambique Breaking the Record

Rare does not adequately describe how often a 100+ carat rough crystal of extraordinary quality finds its way into the sorted ruby crystals during what would have been just another normal work day at the mine. To unearth such an incredible find is simply unheard of. It is shocking, amazing, and incredible, all words that have been used to describe such a find. It is truly a wonder of mother nature.

Up until Thursday, a Burmese ruby, the 25.59 carat Sunrise Ruby, held the “most valuable colored gem” record. In 2015, the Sunrise Ruby sold for $30.3 million. The Sunrise Ruby came up for auction again this year in the Heidi Horten private collection auction. It sold for roughly half that amount, taking the Burmese ruby off the record books, selling for CH13,055,000 / $14,681,130.

The Estrela de FURA not only eclipsed the Sunrise Ruby’s selling price, it became the first ruby from Mozambique to be awarded the record breaking honors. This too is unheard of.

No less than FIVE Laboratory Reports – All Very Impressed with Mozambique

When an important gem comes to sale, whether it be at your local jewelry store, or for auction, it is usually accompanied by a professional gemological laboratory identification report. This gives the seller and buyer the necessary information to make a decision as to whether the gem is worthy of the value. The laboratory report will tell us if the gem is natural or manmade, whether its color and clarity are natural or if it’s been enhanced in any way.

Because the laboratory reports are the opinion of the laboratory gemologists, a second laboratory opinion is sometimes warranted. For extremely important gems, it is not unusual to have three different professional laboratories offer their opinions.

Additional reports with names such as JewelFolio or GemPortrait, etc., often offered by the lab to give more than just the standard gemological test results, can be issued to inform the client of a gem’s importance.

For the Estrela de FURA, because of its important quality, size, color, and country of origin, no less than five laboratories were given the gem to offer their opinions. And all five laboratories were undeniably impressed.

No doubt, the buyer was impressed as well.

Laboratory report excerpts as listed in the Sotheby’s catalogue:

1. Accompanied by an AGL report no. 1132093 dated May 3, 2023 stating that the ruby is of Classic Mozambique origin, with no indications of heating. Together with a JewelFolio describing its “unequalled uniqueness and importance,” and noting that it is “by far the largest ruby of such quality ever produced from Mozambique.”

2. Accompanied by an SSEF report no. 127611 dated February 16, 2023 stating that the ruby is of Mozambique origin, with a saturated red color, with no indications of heating. Together with an appendix letter and provenance book attesting to its “beautifully saturated color” and “fine purity.”

3. Accompanied by a Gübelin report no. 23020085 dated February 21, 2023 stating that the ruby is of Mozambique origin, with saturated and homogeneous red color, with no indications of heating. Together with GemPortrait and appendix attesting to the importance of the ruby and its “saturated and homogenous red colour, combined with a degree of clarity unseen in any other unheated ruby of comparable size.”

4. Accompanied by a GRS report no. GRS2023-057888 dated April 21, 2023 stating that the ruby is of Mozambique origin, with no indications of heating. This color variety of ruby may be called “pigeon’s blood” by members of the trade and has been given a GRS brilliancy type of “vibrant.” Together with an appendix letter and award book attesting to the extraordinary qualities of the ruby.

5. Accompanied by a Bellerophon report no. B7316 dated February 14, 2023 stating that the ruby is of Mozambique origin, with no indications of heating and of “vivid red, pigeon blood” color. Together with an Elysium Award book detailing the history and significance of the ruby.

Courtesy of Sotheby’s New York: an Interview with Chris Smith, President of the American Gemological Laboratories.

After the sale of the Estrela de FURA, we had a chance to sit down with the Founder & CEO of FURA, Mr. Dev Shetty. Tap here to go directly to that interview.

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