London luxury jeweler Laurence Graff has paid a record 8.2 million Swiss francs ($8.6 million) for a Burmese ruby, the top lot at a Geneva auction marked by strong prices for fine diamonds and rare colored stones. Graff, known as the “King of Diamonds”, was buying the ruby of 8.62 carats for the second time, having acquired it first at an auction eight years ago. He had named the ‘pigeon-blood’, or pure red with a hint of blue, gemstone the “Graff Ruby” at the time.
In between he sold it to Greek financier Dimitri Mavromattis, whose collection of 16 jewels was part of Sotheby’s semi-annual sale in Geneva. In all, 403 gems netted a total of 91.8 million francs. “This is the finest ruby in the world. We are very proud to have it in our possession for the second time,” Graff said in a statement.
The cushion-shaped ruby, set in a diamond ring, is from the Mogok Valley of Myanmar, formerly Burma, which produces “arguably the rarest of all gemstones”, Sotheby’s said. “It’s not a surprise, the ruby is a unique stone that bears his name. He likes unique stones,” said Eric Valdieu, a Geneva-based jeweler formerly of Christie’s who attended the sale. “Its price more than doubled in just over eight years. At that level, the competition is between buyers in the United States, Asia and ‘Old Europe’. There is still money in Europe for such objects,” he said.