MOGOK: ORIGIN OF THE FINEST RUBIES
Of all ruby origins, one country eclipses all others, and has long captured the imagination of travelers, explorers and entrepreneurs: Burma. A Burmese origin is typically considered the finest pedigree for rubies. Specimens from the Burmese mining regions reflect the delicate balance of natural conditions essential for the formation of these fiery treasures. Rubies from Burma display a bright pinkish, to a deep saturated red colour, accompanied by a fiery glow that continuously spreads and sparkles throughout the crystal. This unusual combination of colour and life resulted from a mixture of tone, saturation, fluorescence and inclusions.
Within Burma, there is further distinction between regions and mines that produce the best rubies in the world. The legendary Mogok Valley is the world’s pre-eminent source of rubies of the highest quality, captivating gem connoisseurs and collectors for centuries with their prized ‘pigeon’s blood’ colour, an appellation promising the most exceptional quality.
Rubies from Mogok possess the unrivalled crimson red body colour together with a fiery red fluorescence, both induced by the element chromium that grants them an inextinguishable fire, even when placed in the dark. The beauty of Mogok rubies are also characterized by a multitude of tiny, fine needles, commonly known as ‘silk’, which cause light to diffract, producing a velvety sheen throughout the stone and allow light to be scattered throughout the facets and crystal. It is this extraordinary mix of the most desirable red colour and vivid fiery sparkle that set Burmese, and especially Mogok rubies apart from their peers.
The rubies from the Red Emperor Necklace are of the perfect tone and saturation, combined with the intensity of the vivid pigeon’s blood colour and the strong natural red fluorescence, makes them an exemplary contribution to the finest rubies which hail from this mythical and reputable origin.
COLLECTION THROUGH FOUR GENERATIONS
The collection of the ruby rough that would become the Red Emperor Necklace shares its beginning with the very beginnings of the brand Fai Dee, a process which spanned over a decade and serves as a testimonial to acute judgments and devoted passion demonstrated by four generations of jewelers in the family.
Roop Chand Lunia (1895-1960) is the founder of Fai Dee, also known as the ‘King of Burma Rubies’, was one of the most successful gem traders of his time. At a young age, he was taught everything about the trade and mysterious gemstones by his father, and he spent his early years learning the origins and techniques of cutting rough sapphire from Kashmir. It was until he bought a red rough from a Burmese trader, that he discovered his passion for red. He immediately put his knowledge into practice and cut a fine ruby from his purchase, for which he later sold at a hefty profit. Since then, he frequented Burma looking for the most exquisite and rarest rough, as well as polished rubies and sapphires.
The acquisition of the ruby rough for the Red Emperor Necklace started back in Roop Chand’s era, as early as in 1905. The rough, however, remained in his personal collection until it was recently discovered by his successors in the family business. Roop Chand’s great grandson, Rajeev Lunia, showed no less passion in continuing his family tradition and legend in honouring the red ‘king of gemstones’. He spent over a decade acquiring exemplary rough to match the collection of his great grandfather, bringing together premium gems and top quality fabrication, in the hope to create a first of its kind masterpiece that features stellar workmanship by both nature and man.
To Rajeev Lunia and his team, it was of utter importance to bring out the best in every rough in the collection, and to ensure that each ruby is well-matched. Therefore, weight loss during recutting and repolishing was not a major concern. Cutting and polishing commenced in early 2005 and continued through late 2012. Each ruby took up to weeks of work, staging from careful analysis and planning before the cutting to the immense care and attention put into execution. Pear- and heart-shapes are notoriously the most difficult shapes to cut and match for rubies, but Fai Dee demonstrated technical prowess and meticulous precision in this challenging aspiration, and created a ruby suite that was almost impossible to construct.
CREATION DEEMED SUITABLE FOR ROYALTY
James W. Currens, world-renowned high jewellery designer, collaborated with Fai Dee and brought to the world a masterpiece so elegant and innovative, yet true to his divine aesthetics. With over twenty prestigious international design awards and over four decades of experience in the jewellery industry under his belt, Currens has mastered ground-breaking ideas, styles and techniques. His works can be seen in the designs of famous haute joailleries including Cartier, Tiffany, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels and Chopard. In 2009, he went into collaborations with Fai Dee, drawing inspiration from the beauty of each unique gemstone provided, delivered designs that redefined high-end jewellery time after time. In recent years, his one-of-a-kind designs gained increasing popularity at auctions, which was attested by record-breaking prices with the highest acclaim.
For the Red Emperor Necklace, Currens drew on a Buddhist principle that ‘less is more’ and focused on the natural beauty of the gemstones through simplicity in his design. The composition spaced out fiery rubies using top-quality diamonds, allowing each ruby’s character to shine through without embellishments; the well-balanced graduation of the stones all-round accentuates the perfect curvature of the design, protruding elegance along a soft neckline. Each ruby and diamond was so carefully selected and positioned that the overall beauty of the Red Emperor Necklace is at the same time delicate and gallant. James W. Currens’ excellence in workmanship has resulted in – in his words – one of the most sophisticated and high-quality necklaces he has ever made.
All sixty rubies have been certified by GIA to display the most prominent ‘pigeon’s blood’ colour, shining with the most brilliant saturated red light that are typical of the finest specimens unearthed in mythical Mogok. In addition, this regal suite of rubies is free of heat treatment, which is extremely rare in the trade today. Each of these rubies, weighing 5.04 to 0.72 carats stands alone as a gemstone of great rarity with respectable pedigree; one can only imagine the difficulty and complexity to bring together such an exquisite suite of rubies.
The magnificent Red Emperor Necklace, showcasing an impeccable suite of ‘king of gemstones’ collected over a century’s time, conjures visions of nobility and opulence, befitting its princely name and making it truly fitting for an emperor.
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