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Star Ruby

If you’ve ever bought gold or silver bullion, or at least followed the fortunes of these metals, you may recall that for years commodity experts talked of an iron-clad price ratio between these two precious metals of 35:1- favoring gold, of course. Once prices for these metals got too much out of alignment with each other, investment analysts started to fret.

Today, no one takes the old 35:1 ratio seriously. But it is worth nothing that the commodities world long lived by a certain price relationship between the world’s two most famous precious metals.

Believe it or not, the gem world once lived by an equally hallowed price ratio- traceable at least as far back as the middle 1600s and still observed at the turn of this century- between its two most coveted faceted gems: diamond and ruby. According to the rule, a 3- to 5- carat ruby was to be priced 10 times higher than its diamond counterpart.

Merchants used this ratio as a guide when negotiating.

Although this 10:1 price relationship was rigorously adhered to, there was one major exception made for star ruby. When valuing these stones the ratio was stretched to 12:1.

Today, of course, the fine faceted rubies no longer command anywhere near what star ruby equivalents do. Indeed, faceted rubies no longer fetch what comparable diamonds do, unless they are exceedingly fine and rare stones of bona fide Burma origin. Tastes have changed and with them the precise market price formulas that held sway for centuries.

Mention is made of this long-discarded diamond and ruby pricing equation only to show in what high esteem star ruby was held for hundreds of years. A book published in the late nineteenth century records jewelry store prices of $3,000 per carat for top-echelon three-carat star rubies- an impressive sum then, although far below the price of such a stone nowadays. You see, fine star rubies have never been scarcer and hopes for meaningful supply never more futile.

The Burma Benchmark

Relatively few of the rubies mined today are candidates for cutting into star stones. Most come from Thailand or East Africa and lack the one essential element needed to produce the star effect: rutile.

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Star Ruby