Rubies have been prized and sought after by humans since antiquity. It is the July birthstone and the gift for the 15th and 40th wedding anniversaries. Such precious gemstones are especially prized in Asia, where they used to be buried in the base of buildings for good luck.
Most rubies weigh a few carats, but once in a while, people discover impressively large ones. The title of biggest ruby in the world can be controversial, for there are contenders that have been shown to be somewhat mythical.
This article discusses the top 10 largest rubies in the world so far, including their characteristics, history, values, and beauty.
As of 2020, the 125West is the largest ruby in the world. It is a rough stone and has not yet been polished, measures 4.8 inches x 4.4 inches x 5.27 inches, and weighs an astonishing 8.2 pounds, which would be 18,696 carats.
Even in a rough state, this priceless ruby has areas where it is semi-translucent and contains a needle-shaped mineral called rutile. The inclusions of rutile give this ruby a shimmering glow known as “silk”, which is also a distinguishing characteristic of star rubies. Star rubies are polished cabochons that seem to have a six-pointed star in the center.
It’s reported that 125West’s owners, whoever they are, have put this world’s largest ruby up for sale.
2. Neelanjali Ruby
This ruby is a star ruby too, and it has not only one star but two, which criss-cross each other in its center. It is allegedly the largest ruby that sports this phenomenon.
Neelanjali Ruby is part of the collection of a gentleman descended from southern India’s fourth Hindu dynasty. This imperial family owned the gem for centuries and worshiped it as a representation of the lingam of the god Shiva.
The Neelanjali ruby weighs 1370 carats, is worth about $100 million, and is thought to be in Bangalore, India.
3. Liberty Bell Ruby
This gem was mined in east Africa in the 1950s, weighs 8500 carats, and was carved out of the biggest ruby in the world to have been mined.
It was not cut and faceted like other rubies but was carved to resemble the Liberty Bell and to be further set with 50 diamonds. This precious ruby was stolen in 2011 and though four men were arrested for its theft in 2014, no one really knows where it is.
4. DeLong Star Ruby
This ruby was found in Burma during the 1930s and was cut and polished into a star ruby that weighs 100.32 carats. It was named after Edith Haggin DeLong and donated to the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Like so many other spectacular rubies, the DeLong Star was a victim of a jewelry heist. It was stolen by the J.R. Murphy gang in 1964 and returned after an exorbitant ransom paid by a rich Florida businessman.
5. The Midnight Star Ruby
This ruby was found in Sri Lanka and donated to the American Museum of Natural History by J.P. Morgan, the financier. It weighs 116.75 carats and is notable for its asterism and purplish-red hue.
Like the DeLong Star ruby, it was stolen during the J.R. Murphy heist in 1964 and was later ransomed and returned to the museum.
6. Prince of Burma
Like the 125West ruby, the Prince of Burma ruby is uncut. It weighs around 950 carats and was found on a marble deposit at the Dattaw-Mine in Mogok, Myanmar in 1996. Mogok is the origin of the most finest rubies on earth, and the government of Myanmar is very protective of such resources.
Even though it has not been polished or heat-treated, the Prince of Burma is notable for its intense, pure pigeon blood red color. If it was cut and polished, it may produce a surpassingly radiant stone that weighs about 300 carats.
It was also the object of a heist in which its owner, a gemstone trader from Germany was injured. Fortunately, later on, it was returned. The Prince of Burma’s value is thought to be incalculable.
7. The Hixon Ruby
This ruby crystal weighs 196.10 carats and is considered one of the best specimens of an uncut crystal in the world. It was donated to Los Angeles’ Natural History Museum by Colonel Fredrick Hixon in 1978.
8. Sunrise Ruby
This ruby is not only big but extremely pricey. Though it only weighs 25.59 carats, it was sold for $30.42 million at an auction in Geneva in 2015. This makes The Sunrise Ruby the most expensive colored gemstone ever and the most expensive gemstone besides a diamond.
It was discovered in Myanmar and displays the fabulous and sought-after pigeon blood red. The name Sunrise comes from a poem written by the Persian poet Rumi in the 13th century. Currently, this huge and beautiful stone is set on a ring where it is flanked by hexagonal diamonds.
9. Rosser Reeves Ruby
This is a 138.7-carat star ruby found in Sri Lanka. It is notable for the crisp and shimmering star and the beautiful purplish color. This ruby was named after its owner, the advertising tycoon Rosser Reeves, who carried it everywhere and called it “my baby.” He gave it to the Smithsonian Institute in 1965.
10. The Nawata Ruby
This 496.5-carat ruby was discovered in Myanmar in 1990. Like the Prince of Burma, it was found in the Dattaw-Mine in Mogok, Myanmar, and also goes by the name of SLORC, or the State Law and Order Restoration Committee ruby.
According to several accounts, this ruby was found by a man who owned a brothel in Mandalay. When he tried to sell it in Thailand for 2 billion dollars, one of the buyers gave a heads-up to the military junta in Myanmar. They retrieved the stone and then either executed the brothel owner, Than Htun, or sent him to prison for life.
The image of the ruby can now be found on a Myanmar stamp.
Bonus: Chaiyo Ruby
The provenance of this ruby is a bit mysterious. It is supposed to weigh 109,000 carats, which is about 49 pounds. Such figures will definitely make it the world’s largest ruby; However, some experts claim that the Chaiyo ruby is a fake.
Gemologists who believe this ruby is real said that it was mined in Africa or was bought at the border between Thailand and Myanmar. As of 2020, there are rumors that Chaiyo Ruby, which might be the largest ruby on earth is actually in a Laotian safe. If this ruby does exist, its value is supposed to be around 320 million pounds or 418 million dollars.
Conclusion on largest ruby in the world
It does seem that these beautiful and large rubies have very interesting histories behind them. For some reason, sapphires, emeralds, and even diamonds, with the possible exception of the Hope diamond, do not have such arresting backstories. Could it simply be that it is this gemstone’s rare and fascinating color that stirs such passions in people?