Known for their strong fluorescence, Burmese rubies – the most expensive gems per carat are cherished the world over for their clarity, quality and above all their lush red ‘Pigeon’s Blood’ hue. Rubies like these exist nowhere else on Earth.
Pure corundum, from which rubies are formed, is colourless. Rubies actually get their colour from chromium. The term ruby is used only for deep red gem stones, while other variants are referred to as sapphires, which get their colour from iron and titanium impurities. The most sought after are rubies the colour of pigeon blood.
They are mined in Mogok – The Valley of Rubies. The exact date when rubies were first discovered at Mogok is unknown. No doubt the first humans to settle the area found rubies and spinels in the rivers and streams. Local legend has it:-
“Long before the Buddha walked the earth, the northern part of Burma was said to be inhabited only by wild animals and birds of prey. One day the biggest and oldest eagle in creation flew over a valley. On a hillside shone an enormous morsel of fresh meat, bright red in color. The eagle attempted to pick it up, but its claws could not penetrate the blood-red substance. Try as he may, he could not grasp it. After many attempts, at last he understood. It was not a piece of meat, but a sacred and peerless stone, made from the fire and blood of the earth itself. The stone was the first ruby on earth and the valley was Mogok.”
This valley is impenetrable due to the deadly serpents which covered its floor. To retrieve rubies, men would cast lumps of meat into the valley via catapults. Rubies would become attached to the meat, which was then carried out of the valley by large birds of prey. After the birds had sated their appetites, men would climb into their nests and retrieve the rubies from their droppings.
They are so rare, so expensive and sought after, that very few people own them.
The brightest and best red in ruby colours is called Pigeon Blood Red. The red of the ruby is unequalled in warmth and fire. Ruby red is not just any old colour. It is a sensual, passionate, powerful colour. The ruby is the perfect way to express powerful feelings.
Rubies Like these exist nowhere else on earth. Due to the political situation in Burma they are becoming more and more difficult to attain.