9 July 2019

Rise of the Ruby

At last month’s ruby auction by Gemfields – the world’s largest responsibly sourced coloured gemstone supplier – the company saw prices for the ‘king of gems’ hit a new all-time price-per-carat record.

But this came as no surprise to Gemfields, who had observed demand, price and supply rising consistently year on year for the Mozambican gemstone. Gemfields is currently seeing a surge in demand for Mozambican rubies from Asian markets – particularly China, where there is a traditional fondness for the ruby’s vibrant red colour, which also represents luck, happiness, beauty, vitality, success and good fortune. High-fashion jewellers across the world are starting to replace colourless diamonds with rich red rubies. Appearing on the red carpet and starring in jewellery advertising campaigns, the rubies now dominating the market have been honed to perfection through a variety of cutting and polishing processes. Coloured gemstones have been front and centre in recent collections from luxury brands like Cartier (with its recent ‘Coloratura’ high jewellery collection), Van Cleef & Arpels (with its ‘Treasures of Rubies’ collection) and Dior (with its new ‘Gem Dior’ collection, featuring a range of coloured gemstones, including rubies, pink sapphires and emeralds). Having observed an increased interest in pieces that feature Gemfields’ Mozambican rubies, Fabergé – an iconic name with an exceptional heritage – recently added a heart-shaped Mozambican ruby hidden inside an egg-shaped locket pendant to its Heritage fine jewellery collection, and their arresting Dalliance GemAddict timepiece features 32 trapeze-shaped Mozambican rubies. Josina von dem Bussche-Kessell, global sales director at Fabergé, explains: “We have seen a rise in demand for rubies, with our younger customers, in particular, wishing to look beyond diamonds, because of the sumptuousness of coloured gemstones. There’s no doubt that many of our most well-informed clients are investing in coloured gems, because of the appreciation in their value in recent years.” International jewellery specialist Joanna Hardy, author of the book Ruby (Thames & Hudson, 2017), commented: “High quality gemstones are extremely rare in nature, and no coloured gemstone fuels passion more than the ruby.  Place a ruby in front of any man or woman and there will be an instant response. Alongside the many emperors, empresses, kings and queens who have worn rubies, style icons and Hollywood royalty are seen wearing ruby pieces, catapulting this vibrant red gem further into the global spotlight.” Elena Basaglia, gemmologist for Gemfields, explains: “As a result of our productive mining processes, we are now able to sell stable and consistent parcels of gemstones, enabling jewellers to create large jewellery collections featuring rubies which boast uniformity in terms of quality, colour and clarity. This is a game-changer, enabling luxury jewellery houses to create collections with artistically complex jewellery designs of high value, appealing to consumers and discerning investors.” Gemfields’ CEO Sean Gilbertson summarises: “Demand for Mozambican rubies is at an all-time high. The industry now has growing confidence in a consistent and reliable supply of rubies. There is also a growing understanding of a gemstone’s origin and how gemstones can be responsibly mined to have a positive impact on the countries of source; Gemfields’ Mozambican rubies are the market leader in this regard.”