Estrela de Fura: 55.22 – A Celestial Fusion of Earthly Splendor and Artistic Brilliance

Estrela de Fura: 55.22 – A Celestial Fusion of Earthly Splendor and Artistic Brilliance

This fiery treasure has ignited the imaginations of gem enthusiasts worldwide and will appear at auction during Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction on 8 June.
This fiery treasure has ignited the imaginations of gem enthusiasts worldwide and will appear at auction during Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction on 8 June.

F rom the depths of the earth to the hands of masterful artisans, Estrela de Fura: 55.22’s captivating story is a testament to fortuitous chance, global camaraderie and unique artistic vision. Weighing in at an eye-watering 55.22 carats, it is the largest and most valuable gem-quality ruby ever to appear at auction, expected to achieve in excess of 30 million US dollars when it is offered for sale in Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction this Luxury Week.

Discovered at Fura Gems’s Montepuez mining operation in Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique, the rough stone – named Estrela de Fura – weighed 101 carats. The crystal has been referred to by some gem laboratories as “pigeon’s-blood red,” a term applied strictly to top-quality rubies of a pure and vibrant hue. The quality of the rough, in addition to its astonishing size, explains why the stone was dubbed Estrela de Fura, Portuguese for “Star of Fura,” in a nod to Mozambique’s official language. Established in 2017, the company, based in Dubai, specializes in mining and marketing colored gemstones.

The stone’s discovery is a significant moment for the ruby mining industry, which traditionally considered Myanmar (formerly Burma) the premier source for gem-quality specimens. This thinking is changing, however, as spectacular Mozambican rubies have been making increasingly frequent appearances in elaborate settings by the world’s top jewelers.

The most reputable gemological laboratories also recognize the importance of Mozambique as an emerging source, with the Estrela de Fura: 55.22 receiving special praise. Gübelin Gem Lab, an authority on gemological analysis, states: “The ruby is setting a new record not only for Mozambican rubies, but also for rubies in general.”

“Traditionally, the best of Mozambican rubies possessed a lovely red hue but lacked fluorescence, a visible light that some gemstones emit when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light,” says Alexander Eblen, Sotheby’s Senior Specialist in Jewelry. This feature is part of what makes rubies from Myanmar “so romantic and amazing” – and with this stone, now it’s been discovered in an entirely different world region.

Fura is committed to the sustainable development of local communities and increased traceability within the industry, setting itself apart from many other gem companies. The rough stone was packed and exported under the supervision of the Mozambiquan government to Fura’s headquarters in Dubai, where it was displayed for several days. In February 2023, Fura sent the stone to Bangkok, where it was cut and polished by master gem cutter Chirapat under the supervision of the Fura team.

“The chance to transform a once-in-a-lifetime rough into a faceted gem of this caliber is the dream of any master cutter.”
- Alexander Eblen, Senior Specialist, Jewelry

Taking the stone from rough to finished jewel is a meticulous process and no easy feat, explains Eblen. “The chance to transform a once-in-a-lifetime rough into a faceted gem of this caliber is the dream of any master cutter.” While the vast majority of large rough crystals are significantly included – with fractures and imperfections forcing the cutter to facet several smaller stones – Eblen says the Estrela de Fura’s superb crystal allowed for a singular gem of incredible scale to be fashioned.

Many rubies may possess an attractive color or a high clarity, but rarely both at once within the same crystal. Only stones of rare clarity can be cut to produce a gem with multiple internal reflections, which concentrate color and brilliance. The cutter, Eblen touts, used his “considerable skill to ensure the finished gem maximizes both the rich red hue while also creating the most lively jewel possible.”

Since its unveiling in Hong Kong, Estrela de Fura: 55.22 has captivated global audiences, gracing exhibitions in Taipei, China, Singapore, Geneva and Dubai, where it has astounded even the most jaded connoisseurs. Its appearance at auction will be a watershed moment in the gemstone industry, reinvigorating centuries-old practices and perceptions while introducing the majesty of this incredible source on the world stage. So often, conventional wisdom about gems considers even the most storied sources to be relics from a distant past. The profound story of Estrela de Fura: 55.22, however, is only just beginning.

Luxury Week

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