• The First Shanghai Auction auction at Christies

    Sale 3390

    The First Shanghai Auction

    26 September 2013, Shanghai

  • Lot 9


    Price Realised  


    Designed as a series of butterfly motifs, set with thirty graduated oval-shaped rubies weighing approximately 5.01 to 0.98 carats, to the marquise and pear-shaped diamond wings and brilliant-cut diamond accents, mounted in platinum and 18k yellow gold, 39.0 cm long, in black Faidee case

    With maker's mark for Faidee
    Accompanied by report no. 13037267/1 to 30 dated 18 March 2013 from the Gübelin Gemmological Laboratory stating that the rubies weighing 5.01 to 0.98 carat are of Burma (Myanmar) origin, with no indications of heating and this colour variety may also be called "pigeon's blood red" in the trade

    Also accompanied by report no. 6142751630 dated 1 March 2013 from the Gemological Institute of America stating that the natural rubies weighing 48.30 carat total are of Burma (Myanmar) origin, with no indications of heating and the color appearance of the rubies are described in the trade as "pigeon's blood"; also accompanied by a monograph and letter stating that the rubies are wonderful examples of the classic Pigeon's Blood colour. The intensity of the red colour combined with the exquisite design gives these gems a sensation that is truly fitting subject for detailed documentation

    Report no. 1139845998 dated 27 August 2012 from the Gemological Institute of America stating that the 1.34 carat diamond is E colour, VS1 clarity, excellent polish

    The total weight of the certified rubies is 48.30 carats

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    Special Notice

    Items which contain rubies or jadeite originating in Burma (Myanmar) may not be imported into the U.S. As a convenience to our bidders, we have marked these lots with Y. Please be advised that a purchaser¹s inability to import any such item into the U.S. or any other country shall not constitute grounds for non-payment or cancellation of the sale. With respect to items that contain any other types of gemstones originating in Burma (e.g., sapphires), such items may be imported into the U.S., provided that the gemstones have been mounted or incorporated into jewellery outside of Burma and provided that the setting is not of a temporary nature (e.g., a string).
    This property has been sourced from overseas. When auctioned, such property will remain under “bond” with the applicable import customs duties and taxes being deferred unless and until the property is brought into free circulation in the PRC. Prospective buyers are reminded that after paying for this lot in full and cleared funds, if they wish to import this lot into the PRC, they will be responsible for and will have to pay the applicable import customs duties and taxes. The rates of import customs duty and tax are based on the value of the goods and the relevant customs regulations and classifications in force at the time of import. The final amounts will be determined by PRC Customs and other competent authorities at the time of import. Neither Christie’s nor the seller warrants or guarantees the accuracy of this information and we are not responsible in any way for any errors or omissions. Potential buyers are responsible for satisfying themselves as to the amount of import customs duty and tax payable for lots which they buy and intend to import into the P

    Pre-Lot Text

    Named from the Latin word for its hue, rubens meaning red, the gemstone ruby epitomizes the boldest of colours, and has come to represent the values of desire, passion and power. For centuries, the ruby has been regarded as one of the most valuable gemstones. In ancient Sanskrit, the ruby is called 'Ratnaraj' or 'King of Precious Stones'. In the eleventh century, the Persian sage al-Biruni was only conveying the popular wisdom of the time when he wrote that the ruby has "the first place in colour, beauty and rank" among all gems.

    The source of the world's finest is Burma or present-day Myanmar, whose pure-red rubies are regarded as precious treasure. For more than 800 years, the Mogok Stone Tract in Upper Burma has remained the classical source for the finest quality rubies. So admirable are the quality elements exhibited by these rubies that they have emerged as the standard by which others are judged. Those over 5 carats, and in particular, those gems that have not undergone any thermal enhancement are extremely rare. This is largely due to the fact that the famous Mogok mines are yielding fewer and fewer stones of an important size. In addition, the market has also seen a diminishing number of antique Burmese ruby stones and jewellery appearing for sale.

    Lot 9 a ruby and diamond necklace by Faidee, is an exemplary Burmese specimen, all gemstones showing an extraordinary saturated hue and degree of transparency. Collection, design and fabrication of such an exquisite piece of art took knowledge and experience and most importantly an incessant passion. Each ruby of this necklace has its own inherent story. The collection and consideration of each and every stone took more than 10 years in total so when in comparison each ruby could fit the high expectations of the previous. Every aspect of the rubies was carefully planned and met: from the selection of the rough to the quality of the cut, it was of course necessary to pay attention to each detail in order to achieve the highest level of perfection.
    All the stones display the coveted 'Pigeon's Blood' red typical of old Burmese material. According to Richard W. Hughes, this well-saturated hue 'results from a mixture of slightly bluish red body colour and the purer red fluorescent emission. It is this red fluorescence which is the key and appears as though Mother Nature brushed a broad swath of fluorescent red paint across the face of the stone.' Indeed, these Burmese crystals fluoresce strongly under ultraviolet light. In addition, the pure white metamorphic marbles of the Mogok ruby mining districts are iron poor. Its geological conditions are ideal for the formation of ruby crystals that are exceptionally vivid red. The absence of the diluting effects of iron, coupled with fluorescence, gives the Burma ruby a vivid saturation.

    The cutting of each rough took countless determinant days and after each step, the next was carefully considered to make sure the previous was not done in vain. With each, extreme measures were taken to ensure that the faceting was perfect and matched each other. Even after the meticulous selection and cutting of each stone, the challenges did not end; the concept and the design posed another trial. After numerous speculating days, a vision worthy of the chosen stones was eventually finalized and ultimately determined the necklace's name: Butterfly. The mounting itself took more than 12 months to perfectly assemble, ensuring that the highly articulated necklace rests flawlessly on the beholder's nape. The rubies were set with even more care and after more than 12 years since the collection had started, one of the greatest feats of nature came to life.

    Christie's established the world record price per carat for any ruby sold at auction in May 2012 in Hong Kong when an oval-shaped Burmese ruby of 6.04 carats sold for US$3,330,768 or US$551,451 per carat. This achievement exceeds a record held by an oval-shaped Burmese ruby of 8.24 carats from the collection of Elizabeth Taylor sold for US$512,924 per carat.


    Richard W. Hughes. Ruby and Sapphire. RWH Publishing. Colorado. 1997.