Beauty and stigma behind the blood-red gems
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...