Rubies from Burma are the most treasured in the world. Those over 10 carats and in particular those that have not undergone heat treatment are exceedingly rare.
To say that such rubies are worthy of a king would be no exaggeration. Until the middle of the 19th Century, only the sovereign of Burma, or an individual deemed worthy by him, would have been allowed the privilege of possessing such a gemstone.
The explorer Ludovico di Varthema of Bologna traveled to Pegu, a state in Burma, in the first decade of the 16th Century. He was in awe of the extravagant attire of the King and described him in his journal as wearing "more rubies on him than the value of a very large city, and he wears them on all his toes. And on his legs he wears certain great rings of gold, all full of the most beautiful rubies..."
The universal appeal of Burmese rubies lies in their unique red colour. According to Richard W. Hughes, 'this results from a mixture of the slightly bluish red body colour and the purer red fluorescent emission. It is this red fluorescence which is the key, for it tends to cover up the dark areas of the stone. The best Burmese stones actually glow red and appear as though Mother Nature brushed a broad swath of fluorescent red paint across the face of the stone' (Ruby and Sapphire, 1997, p. 331).
The present ruby is a truly exceptional gem as it combines the highly sought-after typical colour of old Burmese material along with a good degree of transparency, with the significant size of 13.72 carats. Using the words of the famous 16th century explorer and gem-dealer Jean-Baptiste Tavernier 'When a ruby exceeds 5 carats, and is perfect, it is sold for whatever is asked for it' (Travels in India, vol. II (1676), pp. 78-79).
The present ruby belongs in the realm of truly exquisite and extremely difficult to obtain gemstone- a King's Stone.