Most Important Ruby to Appear at a U.S. Auction in 25+ Years Could Fetch $15M

The last time a ruby this magnificent was offered for sale by a New York auction house, President George H.W. Bush was Time magazine’s Man of the Year, Macauley Culkin was starring in Home Alone and M.C. Hammer was wearing parachute pants. Yes, we have to go back to 1990 to match the grandeur of the ruby that will headline Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale on April 20.

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The 15.99-carat “Jubilee Ruby” is a true rarity in its exceptional size, color and quality. The oval-shaped Burmese ruby, which is framed by white diamonds in a platinum and 18-karat yellow gold mounting by Verdura, is predicted to sell in the range of $12 million to $15 million.

Back in October 1990, Christie’s sold a 16.20-carat Burmese ruby. For the next 25-plus years, no gems of that size and quality would come up for sale. That’s why Christie’s is so excited to represent the “Jubilee Ruby.”

“Top quality Burmese rubies of over 15 carats are an absolute rarity in the world of colored gemstones, and the record price of $18.3 million achieved for the 15.04-carat ‘Crimson Red Ruby’ at Christie’s Hong Kong in December 2015 exemplified the voracious appetite of collectors for these gems,” commented Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s International Head of Jewelry.

In a Christie’s promotional video, the narrator states, “To say the ‘Jubilee Ruby’ is 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 magnificent gemstone.”

The ruby’s intense, saturated red color — often referred to as pigeon’s blood red — is often associated with the gems mined in Burma’s legendary Mogok Valley. Christie’s explained that the land near the mine is rich in chromium, an element that gives the gems a natural fluorescence. This fluorescence makes the stone “come alive” and appear internally illuminated.

While emeralds, sapphires and diamonds regularly appear on the market in extraordinarily large sizes, Burmese rubies greater than 15 carats in weight are uncommonly rare. Notes the Christie’s video, “To find an almost circular cut unheated gem weighing more than 15 carats with near perfect crystallization is the dream of every gemstone connoisseur.”

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Other top lots at Christie’s April 20 sale include a 10.07-carat fancy intense purple-pink diamond ring and a perfect D color, flawless round brilliant-cut diamond weighing 40.43 carats. The purple-pink diamond ring could sell for as much as $12 million, while the flawless diamond is expected to sell in the range of $7 million to $10 million.

All the items featured at the upcoming Magnificent Jewels auction will be on public view April 15 through April 19, at Christie’s Rockefeller Center galleries.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie’s.

Music Friday: Living in the City ‘Is Like Trying to Find Gold in a Silver Mine,’ Sings Sir Elton John on His Birthday

Welcome to Music Friday, when we spotlight songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today’s installment falls exactly on Sir Elton John’s 69th birthday, March 25. And to honor this legendary talent, we present one of his classic songs from 1972, “Honky Cat.”

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In this song about a young man torn between the fast pace of the big city or a simple life of the country, he ultimately chooses to return to his roots. John sings, “You better get back honky cat / Living in the city ain’t where it’s at / It’s like trying to find gold in a silver mine / It’s like trying to drink whisky from a bottle of wine.”

Interestingly, the words that John sings reflect the point of view of his lyricist, Bernie Taupin, not himself. Unlike John, who grew up near London and loved the city life, Taupin was born on a farm in Lincolnshire and preferred that environment.

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“Honky Cat” is the first track on John’s fifth studio album, Honky Château, which reached #1 on Billboard 200 albums chart and was ranked one of the 500 Best Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. The single made the Top 10 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 list. The album’s title refers to the location where it was recorded in early 1972, specifically Château d’Hérouville in Hérouville, France.

Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, John is one of the best-selling music artists in the world. In a career that has spanned five decades, John has sold more than 300 million records. John and Taupin have collaborated on more than 30 albums and are credited with more than 50 Top 40 hits.

His single in honor of Princess Diana, “Candle in the Wind 1997,” sold more than 33 million copies worldwide, making it best-selling single in the history of the UK and US singles charts.

Thirty-five years after the release of “Honky Cat,” John performed it live at Madison Square Garden in New York — on his 60 birthday. The occasion also marked his 60th concert at the world’s most famous arena. See the awesome video below…

“Honky Cat”
Written by Bernie Taupin and Elton John. Performed by Elton John.

When I look back boy I must have been green
Bopping in the country, fishing in a stream
Looking for an answer trying to find a sign
Until I saw your city lights honey I was blind

chorus:
They said get back honky cat
Better get back to the woods
Well I quit those days and my redneck ways
And oh the change is gonna do me good

You better get back honky cat
Living in the city ain’t where it’s at
It’s like trying to find gold in a silver mine
It’s like trying to drink whisky from a bottle of wine

Well I read some books and I read some magazines
About those high class ladies down in New Orleans
And all the folks back home well, said I was a fool
They said oh, believe in the Lord is the golden rule

(repeat chorus)

(repeat chorus)

They said stay at home boy, you gotta tend the farm
Living in the city boy, is going to break your heart
But how can you stay, when your heart says no
How can you stop when your feet say go

You better get back honky cat
Better get back to the woods
Well I quit those days and my redneck ways
And oh the change is gonna do me good

You better get back honky cat
Living in the city ain’t where it’s at
It’s like trying to find gold in a silver mine
It’s like trying to drink whisky from a bottle of wine
Get back honky cat, get back honky cat, get back…

Screen captures via YouTube.

Hilary Swank’s Emerald Engagement Ring Will Have You Green With Envy

Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank just announced her engagement to former tennis pro Ruben Torres and her new ring may have you green with envy.

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Swank revealed the big news on her Instagram page on Tuesday, but perhaps more surprising than the proposal itself was the emerald engagement ring gleaming on her finger.

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The Million Dollar Baby actress and frequent covergirl joins a small, but impressive, legion of celebrities who have stepped out of the box with colored gemstone engagement rings. Some of the most notable are Halle Berry’s 4-carat emerald engagement ring, Jessica Simpson’s 5-carat ruby engagement ring and Kate Middleton’s 12-carat blue sapphire engagement ring, which had been worn by Princess Diana.

A romantic photo posted to Swank’s Instagram page showed the actress and her new fiancé with the following caption: “Went on a hike and this happened! I am so happy to share with you all this exciting and incredible news… the engagement to my dear Ruben!!!” She concluded the post with #Engaged and three emojis.

Also prominent in the photo is the gorgeous emerald-cut emerald ring, with a halo of white diamonds and split shank. The emerald seems to be set in white gold or platinum.

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On Twitter, she posted a shot of their first kiss as an engaged couple, with the following caption: “And then this happened….#sealedwithakiss.”

Coveted for thousands of years, the beautiful and rare emerald is associated with Venus, the goddess of love, and is known to symbolize romance, domestic bliss, good luck, well being, sensitivity, loyalty, harmony, faith and truthfulness.

New brides need to be cautious when choosing an emerald for an engagement ring because the gem very often presents natural inclusions that are an integral part of the stone’s beauty and character. Special care must be taken to ensure the quality of the emerald lasts a lifetime.

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People reported that Torres proposed to Swank, 41, over the weekend during the BNP Paribas Tennis Open in Palm Springs, Calif. The former tennis pro is now a tennis coach and wealth manager at UBS Financial Services. Swank and Torres started dating last summer and made their relationship public in December of 2015.

Swank was previously married to actor/producer Chad Lowe for 10 years. They divorced in 2007.

Images: Instagram/HilarySwank; Twitter/HilarySwank; Elle magazine cover, November 2010.