The Sunrise ruby is a 25 carat ruby that holds two records: It is the most expensive ruby in the world at $30 million dollars USD, and the most expensive colored gemstone in the world. Note that there are colored diamonds that have sold for higher prices; however the colored diamond market is considered separate from the colored gemstones market. This is for good reason; diamonds do not usually show intense color, while colored gemstones are known for vibrant colors.
Like most rubies that go to auction, the Sunrise ruby is a Burmese ruby with the ideal “Pigeon’s Blood” color. If one were to create a place in the encyclopedia for the definition of pigeon’s blood color, it would read: “Untinted red color softly diffused by the red fluorescence of chromium” and have a picture of this ruby right next to it.
Some dealers will say that the pigeon’s blood color is only for Burmese rubies, while others will explain it only refers to color rather than origin. There is no complete agreement on which rubies should or should not receive this distinction, but the GRS did officially designate this Mozambique ruby below as “Pigeon’s Blood”.
R11298 | medium| play | “Ruby ID: R11298 Weight: 4.48 Carats Origin: Mozambique Lab Report: GRS (Gem Research lab Switzerland) lists color as “Pigeon’s Blood” red”
In terms of size, the most comparable ruby is the Hope Ruby weighing 32 carats.
For color, the most comparable ruby is Elizabeth Taylor’s ruby ring. It only weighs 8 carats, but the quality of the ruby is considered to be exceptional. In fact, Taylor’s then-husband Richard Burton promised her a “perfect” ruby ring early on in their marriage, culminating in this magnificent ruby being hidden at the bottom of her stocking, and initially overlooked on Christmas day.
The Sunrise ruby was bought by an anonymous Swiss bidder from the Sotheby’s Geneva auction in 2014, making the current ownership of the gem unknown. What is known is that the ruby was set by Cartier as a three stone ring, with every gemological lab and long-term employee at Sotheby’s saying the same thing: This ruby is exceptional.
The Sunrise Ruby gets its name from a poem by that title, penned by a 13th century Persian poet widely known as Rumi. The poem itself is very optimistic, describing how work and dedication eventually lead to: “… the joy inside, will eventually open a window, and look out to see who’s there”. Note that the original work is written in ancient Persian, so exact translations vary between sources. Given a ruby’s association with the sun, love, passion, and spiritual positivity in general all rolled together in this poem, this is a very fitting title.