BURMESE RUBY

Beauty and stigma be­hind the blood-red gems

Solitaire (Singapore) - - Content - By Ka­t­rina Uy

For cen­turies, Mo­gok Val­ley in cen­tral Myan­mar has held leg­endary sta­tus as the source of ru­bies with the rare “pi­geon’s blood” hue. This colour is one of the things that make Mo­gok ru­bies so valu­able. Other fac­tors in­clude their rar­ity and the dif­fi­culty to ac­cess them.

In Au­gust this year, over 100 pieces of jew­ellery us­ing nat­u­ral Burmese ru­bies were show­cased at the Her­mitage Ho­tel in Monaco. It was the first time for such a num­ber of ruby jew­ellery to be dis­played in one place. The Burmese Ruby Ex­hi­bi­tion stemmed from a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween jew­ellery brand Faidee and Rus­sian fash­ion de­signer Ulyana Sergeenko.

A look at re­cent events con­cern­ing Myan­mar’s ruby in­dus­try can help ex­plain why the time was ripe for such an ex­hi­bi­tion. In Oc­to­ber last year, then-in­cum­bent US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama lifted eight-year-old sanc­tions on the im­por­ta­tion of Burmese ru­bies and jade into the coun­try. The Amer­i­can Gem Trade As­so­ci­a­tion, along with Jewel­ers of Amer­ica and the Ge­mo­log­i­cal In­sti­tute of Amer­ica, has since worked to re-es­tab­lish gem­stone trad­ing be­tween the coun­tries.

Myan­mar is work­ing hard to dis­prove the stigma that used to ac­com­pany its ru­bies, with is­sues sur­round­ing labour prac­tices, mine own­er­ship, and en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity. It is aim­ing for full mem­ber­ship within the Ex­trac­tive In­dus­tries Trans­parency Ini­tia­tive, a global stan­dard for the open and ac­count­able man­age­ment of nat­u­ral re­sources.

For Faidee di­rec­tor Ravi Lu­nia, the ex­hi­bi­tion was an op­por­tu­nity to ed­u­cate the world about Burmese ru­bies. “Not ev­ery­one knows that this rare gem­stone ex­ceeds

The “pi­geon’s blood” hue is one of the things that make Mo­gok ru­bies so valu­able

di­a­monds in price and there­fore can be a per­fect in­vest­ment al­ter­na­tive,” says Lu­nia. The Faidee web­site also notes that the in­crease in the in­dex price of ru­bies has been out­pac­ing that of the Dow Jones for most of the last decade. Since 2013, ru­bies’ price in­dex has been ris­ing far above that of di­a­monds and all other gem­stones.

Lu­nia also as­sures buy­ers that the ru­bies used in Faidee jew­ellery are sourced eth­i­cally: “We strongly be­lieve in re­spon­si­ble and eth­i­cally mined gem­stones; there­fore, we only pur­chase rough ru­bies through trusted chan­nels and make sure that the gems we ac­quire are eth­i­cally mined.” Its top mar­kets in­clude Asia, USA, and the Mid­dle East, with buy­ers be­ing con­nois­seurs and col­lec­tors.

Be­cause it works with the “king of gem­stones” — the lit­eral trans­la­tion of “Rat­naraj”, an an­cient In­dian word used to de­scribe the ruby — Faidee cre­ates only high jew­ellery pieces. The qual­ity of the stones and the crafts­man­ship must never be com­pro­mised. One ex­am­ple is The Im­pe­rial Neck­lace, which was re­vealed at the Burmese Ruby Ex­hi­bi­tion. The neck­lace comes with more than 50 per­fectly colour-matched, un­heated Burmese ru­bies with the cov­eted “pi­geon’s blood” hue, eight of which ex­ceed five carats each. Th­ese are com­ple­mented with 100 carats of colour­less D-colour di­a­monds. The neck­lace took four gen­er­a­tions to cre­ate.

In Oc­to­ber last year, then US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama lifted eight-yearold sanc­tions on the im­por­ta­tion of Burmese ru­bies into the coun­try

At Basel­world this year, Faidee un­veiled the Grand Phoenix neck­lace, fea­tur­ing 24 ‘pi­geon’s blood’ ru­bies, com­bined with 100.21 carats of colour­less di­a­monds

OP­PO­SITE Ring with un­heated Royal Blue sap­phire and un­heated pi­geon blood ru­bies THIS PAGE The Splen­dor Neck­lace fea­tur­ing un­heated Burmese ru­bies and di­a­monds

OP­PO­SITE PAGE CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT Faidee am­bas­sador Anna An­dres Ear­rings with un­heated Royal Blue sap­phires and un­heated pi­geon blood ru­bies Su­per­model and phi­lan­thropist Natalya Vodyanova and de­signer Ulyana Sergeenko THIS PAGE CLOCK­WISE FROM...

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