The Sunrise Ruby

By Sara Abey

In my memory the most exhilarating gem sale of the last decade was the 2015 Magnificent and Noble Jewels auction at Sotheby’s Geneva on 12 May. The Sunrise Ruby broke all sales records, making it the most expensive coloured gemstone sold at public auction. Named after the Sufi poem by the 13th-century Persian poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, this ruby was a truly extraordinary gem.

Weighing 25.59cts, the Burmese ruby was set by Cartier as a ring, between two seven-sided diamonds, 2.70cts and 2.47cts. It fetched US$30.42 million, purchased by an anonymous collector.

The Sunrise Ruby is of distinctive red colour, vivid and well saturated, the photo doesn’t do it justice. Its clarity is superb, which is extremely rare for a ruby this size. The cutters maximised its natural beauty with a well-balanced symmetry and excellent polish.

In anticipation of looming Valentine’s day tomorrow [this was first published on 13 Feb 2020], here’s a translation of the first few lines of Rumi’s poem. Suitably romantic?

In the early morning hour,

just before dawn, lover and beloved awake

and take a drink of water.

She asks, Do you love me or yourself more?

Really, tell me the absolute truth.

He says, There is nothing left of me.

I am like a ruby held up to the sunrise.

Is it still a stone, or a world made of redness?

It has no resistance to sunlight.

The ruby and the sunrise are one.