Some of history’s most famous and prized gemstones are rubies. Prized for their vibrant, deep color, remarkable rubies of all shapes and sizes have been discovered all over the world. Here are some of the world’s most famous rubies.
The Rubies of the Crown Jewels of England
While recent gemological studies have identified some red spinels as masquerading rubies, there are still many genuine rubies within the Crown Jewels of England. One of the most famous is the Burmese Ruby Tiara belonging to Queen Elizabeth. Commissioned by the Queen in 1973, the tiara is composed of 96 rubies which originally were mounted in a necklace given to her by the people of Burma.
These rubies were said to protect their owner from evil and sickness, which may have worked – the Queen just recently celebrated her 94th birthday!
The Liberty Bell Ruby
Discovered in East Africa in the 1950s, the Liberty Bell Ruby is the largest mined ruby in the world. It weighs a whopping 8,500 carats, or over four pounds! It was cut into the shape of the Liberty Bell for the 1976 United States Bicentennial Celebration, where 50 diamonds were set into it, representing the 50 states.
Valued at over $2 million, the ruby was stolen from a jewelry store in Delaware in 2011. While police were able to apprehend the suspects, the ruby was never recovered.
The DeLong Star Ruby
One of the most unique and beautiful rubies is the DeLong Star Ruby. First discovered in Burma in the 1930s, this 100.32 carat ruby was eventually donated to the American Museum of Natural History in 1937. It was a notable addition to the museum both due to its incredible size and the 6-ray star pattern it displayed.
In 1964 the DeLong ruby achieved notoriety when it was one of the gemstones stolen in what was known as the “Jewel Heist of the Century”, along with the Star of India and the Midnight Star Sapphire. Eventually all three were recovered and remain on display at the museum to this day.
The Sunrise Ruby
The Sunrise Ruby is not only the most expensive ruby in the world, it is the most expensive color gemstone in the world. Weighing at 25.59 carats, this ruby may not be the largest in the world, but its color and cut is unrivaled.
The most famous ruby was originally mined in Burma, the Sunrise Ruby was eventually set by Cartier into a ring along with 2 diamonds weighing a total carat weight of 5 carats. In 2015, Sotheby’s put the ring up for auction, where it sold for a whopping $30.42 million dollars to an anonymous Swiss buyer.
Princess Mary’s Ruby Parure Tiara
Crown Princess of Denmark, Princess Mary’s ruby tiara holds a beautiful long history. From being in the hands of Queen of Josefina by the Swedes to Princess Ingrid of Sweden to Princess Mary, the ruby tiara holds a rich history.
After the demise of Ingrid, the tiara was customized into the shape of Princess Mary’s head. From the leftover material of the ruby tiara, two hair clips were made for Princess Mary.
Elizabeth Taylor’s Ruby Collection
The late and great actress Elizabeth Taylor was as known for her fashion and jewelry as she was for her on-screen performances. Over her long career she amassed one of the most valuable and prized private jewelry collections in the world. Some of these were purchased by Ms. Taylor, but the majority of her pieces were gifted to her by her many friends and companions.
After her death in 2011, her complete collection was auctioned by Christie’s. Many of these pieces were rubies set in various jewelry. Among them was an 8.24-carat ruby and diamond ring gifted to her by Richard Burton in 1968.
This ring was sold for $4.2 million and went to break the world auction record for a ruby per carat (approx. $512,925 per carat). Another ruby piece was also sold from that collection; a ruby and diamond necklace designed by Cartier which went on to sell for $3.8 million
Rubies are some of the world’s most valuable and prized gems. They are extremely rare and have been desired by people all over the world for centuries. While the most famous rubies above are worth millions, finding an affordable ruby to add to a collection is not impossible!