Stunning rubies, red spinels and red diamonds – the most sought-after ‘red trinity’ of jewellery – lead Bonhams Hong Kong Jewels and Jadeite sale on 20 June.
For ruby collectors, Burma has long been the preferred origin of the fiery gemstone. But with Burmese rubies weighing five carats or more becoming increasingly rare, the market is turning towards high quality Mozambique rubies. As a result, the price of Mozambique rubies has steadily grown, from only just about one tenth of that of Burmese rubies 15 years ago, to about half in recent years. On offer in the June sale is a 5.02-carat unheated Mozambique ruby and diamond ring, boasting the most desirable ‘pigeon’s blood’ colour. Estimated at HK$620,000-750,000, its price per carat stands at just approximately US$16,000 – much more attractive than the market price.
The sale also offers an exquisite Burmese ruby ring:
- Lot 616 | An important 3.21-carat ruby and diamond ring, Van Cleef & Arpels. Estimate: HK$2,800,000-3,200,000
Lot 601 | A rare spinel and diamond ring, Louis Vuitton, 2014. Estimate: HK$2,600,000-3,200,000
For hundreds of years, glistening red spinels were treasured by kings, queens, and emperors. They were revered, worn in crowns, and confiscated as spoils of war. All were entranced by the deep red colour and fire of these remarkable stones that were hiding in plain sight, for “the great impostor” stone was originally thought to be a ruby. Red spinels have long been found in Sri Lanka, Burma, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, but over recent decades, collecting-quality spinels have also been sourced in Tanzania. The 20.03-carat rare spinel and diamond ring by Louis Vuitton in 2014 in Bonhams sale is a perfect example. Superior in terms of size, colour and clarity, this spinel represents the fine quality of the gemstones recovered from the Mahenge deposit in Tanzania. Carrying an estimate of HK$2,600,000-3,200,000 and a per-carat price at approximately US$16,500, this is a highly desirable spinel that more than holds its own among its Burmese peers.
Leslie Roskind, Bonhams Head of Jewellery, Hong Kong, said: “As the Asian market matures and becomes more sophisticated, the origin of a gemstone or a diamond is no longer the only determining factor for collectors. Indeed, what was once considered a ‘lesser’ origin now yields top-quality stones – and very often at a more attractive price. This opens up a wider variety of options for collectors and new market potential for the stones, as seen in the price growth of Mozambique rubies over the past two decades.”
Lot 642 | An important coloured diamond and diamond ‘flower’ ring, Tiffany & Co. Estimate: HK$900,000-1,200,000
The product of a natural miracle, red diamonds are the rarest of all coloured diamonds. The gleaming red hue is caused by glide planes in the diamond crystal, along which carbon atoms have undergone slight displacement to alter light transmission. The primary source of red diamonds has been the Argyle mine in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. The mine was closed since 2020 making the market’s already limited access to red diamond even more restricted. The June sale presents a purplish-red diamond and diamond ‘flower’ ring by Tiffany & Co., from the property of an Australian collector (Estimate: HK$900,000 – 1,200,000). At a per-carat price of US$305,000, it is a friendly price point for anyone who wants to include a spot of red in their diamond collection.