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Rubies proved to be a Christmas Cracker for one couple at a recent valuation day by Mayfair auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb. Could you be sitting on a fortune? 

If you asked 100 people to name their favourite gemstone, rubies would come a close second to diamonds. ‘Diamonds are forever’, to coin a phrase made popular by one of the most successful jewellery advertising straplines of all time (De Beers in 1947), but the lure of the finest blood red rubies is irresistible.

Ruby is the red variety of the mineral Corundum, with Sapphire, the other gem variety of corundum, covering all other colours but red. Sapphires have the same chemical properties as rubies, with the only difference being the addition of the metal chromium which gives the red hue.

Burmese rubies are famous for their exceptional colour. Often referred to as  ‘pigeon’s blood’, with the finest stones having a translucent rich pinkish tint to the hue. The finest untreated rubies (most modern rubies are heat treated to enhance their colour and durability), can command high premiums.

When an unassuming couple walked into a valuation day in Berkhamsted, held by the Mayfair Auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb just before Christmas, they brought with them some inherited jewellery, but no one was expecting any surprises.

Burmese rubies are famous for their exceptional colour

Placing the jewellery on the table, the husband remarked on a red and white stone ring, having no expectation of value, and commenting that the ring ‘looked as if it had come out of a cracker’. Jewellery specialist Frances Noble pulled out the ring and a pair of matching ear studs from the pile of jewellery.

‘Usually, when you see a gemstone that looks too good to be true, it proves to be just that!’ explained Frances. ‘But in this instance, the red stones were deep pinkish-red rubies bordered by diamonds. The jewellery was consigned for auction in our Christmas sale. We had the rubies tested at the Gemological Laboratory to check the exact nature of the stones, and they proved to be untreated, and of Burmese origin, exactly the result we were hoping for.’

After intense bidding at the Mayfair auction, the ruby ring and ear studs sold for a total of £9,800, to the surprise and delight of the vendors, certainly proving to be a ‘Christmas Cracker’ of a price!

For a free valuation of your jewellery, watches and coins, join Dix Noonan Webb’s specialists at their upcoming valuation days at the Bingham Hotel in Richmond on Thursday 26 January and the Clarendon Hotel in Blackheath on Wednesday 1 February

Jewellery Specialist Frances Noble and Coin and Medal Specialist Christopher Webb will be present at the Bingham, and Jewellery Specialist Frances Noble and Coin and Medal Specialist Jim Brown will be present at the Clarendon. Specialists are available by appointment to offer confidential valuations free of charge and without obligation with a view to possible sale in the Dix Noonan Webb Mayfair auction rooms. Home visits can be arranged as appropriate. Call 020 7016 1700 for an appointment or email jewellery@dnw.co.uk


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