The 55.22-carat "Estrela de Fura," the largest gem-quality ruby to ever appear at auction, is expected to make headlines at Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels sale in New York on June 8. The gem has a chance to break two records that have stood since 2015: The largest sum ever paid for a ruby and the highest price-per-carat ever paid for a ruby.
Back in September 2022, mining company Fura Gems unveiled the Mozambique-sourced “Estrela de Fura” in its rough form. At the time, it weighed 101 carats and was described as a “once in a century” discovery.
Even in its rough, untouched state, Estrela de Fura was considered by experts as an exceptional treasure of nature for its fluorescence, outstanding clarity and vivid red hue, known as "pigeon’s blood" — a color traditionally associated only with Burmese rubies.
The company’s chief executive, Dev Shetty, said at the time that the gem could eventually yield a faceted stone weighing 50 carats or more and challenge the records held by the 25.59-carat, cushion-cut "Sunrise Ruby."
We assumed that if the quality of the polished Estrela de Fura (Portuguese for “Star of Fura”) turned out to be on par with the “Sunrise Ruby” ($30.3 million), Fura's find might deliver $50 million or more.
The past week, Fura and Sotheby's confirmed that the 101-carat rough from the Montepuez ruby deposit did, indeed, yield a top-quality, cushion-cut ruby exceeding 50 carats. Fura reported that Estrela de Fura displays a saturated and homogeneous red color, combined with a degree of clarity unseen in any other unheated ruby of comparable size.
Estrela de Fura was masterfully cut and faceted by a team of artisans, according to Fura. The rough was transformed into a beautiful cushion-shaped stone which, according to a report from the Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF), “resulted in vivid red hues due to multiple internal reflections.”
The report further stated that the gem is profoundly rich in chromium which, when exposed to ultraviolet light — as found in sunlight — causes the stone to radiate a fiery red fluorescence, further enhancing the stone’s vibrancy, as though it was lit from within.
"From the in-depth analysis and study of the stone through the process of cutting and polishing, we have worked with the utmost care and respect for the ruby, recognizing its importance and stature, " said Shetty. "Witnessing the completion of Estrela de Fura was a monumental achievement for all of us, and we are excited that a new page in the story of this incredible gem and Mozambican rubies is about to be written with Sotheby’s.”
While it's nearly a sure bet that Estrela de Fura will beat the Sunrise Ruby's record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a ruby, the "once-in-a-century" gem will need to achieve about $66 million to overtake the Sunrise Ruby's per-carat record of $1,185,451. That's a tall order.
Estrela de Fura is currently embarking on a multi-city tour ahead of the New York auction. The stone will be making appearances in Hong Kong, Taipei, China, Singapore, Geneva and Dubai.
Credits: Images courtesy of Fura Gems.