The World’s Largest and Most Valuable Ruby is Heading to Auction

The Estrela de FURA will be auctioned off in Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels sale, set to break records with an estimate of more than $30 million.

Square shaped ruby shown against black backround.
The Estrela de FURA was mined in July 2022. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

Sotheby's will offer the “Estrela de FURA,” the world’s largest ruby, at an upcoming auction this summer, said the auction house in a statement today (April 5). With an estimate of more than $30 million, the 55.22-carat gem is also poised to become the most valuable ruby ever sold at auction.

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The red hue of Estrela de FURA, which was unearthed in Mozambique in July 2022, is referred to as “pigeon’s blood,” a color traditionally associated with rubies mined from Burma, said Sotheby’s. The gem is also rich in chromium, which supposedly radiates a red fluorescence when exposed to sunlight.

“To see a natural ruby of this size, with such a combination of quality characteristics spared from treatment was considered almost unimaginable,” said the Gubelin Gem Lab, a Swiss laboratory that graded the gem, in a statement.

The ruby will tour Hong Kong, Taipei, China, Singapore, Geneva and Dubai before being sold at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale in June alongside “The Eternal Pink,” a rare pink diamond with an estimate of more than $35 million.

Woman looks at a ruby she is holding between her fingers
The ruby’s sale is set to break records. Courtesy of Sotheby's.

The Estrela de FURA was cut from a 101-carat rough crystal found in the Montepuez mine of Mozambique, an unearthing that made headlines and is known as “one of the greatest gem discoveries of the century,” according to Sotheby’s.

Will Burmese rubies lose their hold on the market?

The gem is set to break the record for the most valuable ruby sold at auction, surpassing “The Sunrise Ruby,” a 25.59-carat Burmese ruby that Sotheby’s sold for $30.3 million in 2015.

The upcoming sale also signifies the rising African influence in the ruby market, which has long been dominated by Burma, according to Sotheby’s.

“It is undoubtedly positioned to become the standard bearer for African rubies — and gemstones in general, bringing global awareness to their ability to be on par with, and even outshine, those from Burma, which have traditionally been the most desirable and recognizable source for rubies,” said Quig Bruning, head of Sotheby’s Americas jewelry department, in a statement.

While significant ruby deposits in Mozambique have been known since the 1960s, the discovery of the Montepuez ruby deposit in 2009 added momentum to the country’s ruby mining, said the auction house.

The Estrela de FURA was unearthed by FURA Gems, a relatively new gemstone mining company established in 2017 and headquartered in Dubai. The company has three mining operating subsidiaries located in Mozambique, Colombia and Australia, which mine rubies, emeralds and sapphires respectively.

FURA Gems plans to donate a portion of proceeds from the Estrela de FURA’s sale towards the FURA Training Academy, a program that aims to promote education and technical training opportunities in mining, carpentry, engineering and agriculture to local populations in Mozambique.

The World’s Largest and Most Valuable Ruby is Heading to Auction