Rubies have long been revered for their enigmatic colour and regal appeal. Their fiery red hue, often associated with the strongest of human emotions like love and passion, has earned the precious gem a number of titles – the most enduring of which is the “King of Gemstones.”
Rubies originating from Myanmar (Burma) are deemed the most valuable and captivating, as demonstrated by top-performing ruby jewellery pieces at international auctions.
In May 2015, Sotheby’s auctioned the 25.59-carat “Sunrise Ruby” of Burmese origin for a final price of $30.3 million, the highest price ever paid for a ruby at auction. This was followed by the 15.04-carat “Crimson Flame” Burmese ruby that Christie’s sold for $18 million in December 2015. In November last year, the 10.05-carat “Ratnaraj” Burmese ruby fetched $10 million at Christie’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels Autumn auction, setting the third-highest price per carat of $1.02 million for a ruby.
The US government’s decision to lift restrictions against the trade of ruby and jadeite from Burma on October 7, 2016 is expected to further fuel the global demand for Burmese rubies, according to gemstone traders interviewed by JNA.
The decision effectively waived financial and economic sanctions stipulated in the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008, a US legislation barring gemstones – specifically rubies and jadeite – from Myanmar from entering the US.
A number of ruby suppliers said they have already entertained inquiries from their US customers following the removal of the ban.
Burmese rubies: Rare and enchanting
Tanya Trirotanan, vice president of Veerasak Gems Co Ltd of Thailand, cited the Burmese ruby’s solid reputation as the “rarest, and most beautiful and expensive amongst all rubies,” making it a highly sought-after coloured gemstone.
The US ban on Burmese ruby imports, implemented in 2008, not only disrupted the Burmese ruby trade and impaired the Southeast Asian country’s mining industry, it also forced Burmese ruby dealers in the US to look for sourcing alternatives, added Trirotanan.