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Pigeon's Blood: The Colour of Perfection

Wednesday 5th July 2023

Pigeon's Blood: The Colour of Perfection

The colour of a gemstone is arguably the most important factor when determining value. Hue, tone and saturation are assessed in harmony, and rubies with the perfect gem colour are given the status ‘pigeon’s blood’.

European traders first travelled to Burma as early as the 15th century seeking exotic spices; however, the abundance of sapphires and rubies also caught their eye. Burma, today Myanmar, is located in South East Asia, and is known historically as the most significant source of fine rubies.

The Mogok Valley in upper Burma, known as the ‘Valley of gems’, is where historically the desired pigeon’s blood colour ruby is found. This area is just four miles long and two miles wide and is a high mountainous region, approximately 4,000km above sea level. Unsurprisingly, the difficulty in reaching this area explains one element of their rarity.

The status ‘pigeon's blood’ is given to only the finest rubies exhibiting a colour regarded as perfection. This colour is seen as a pure, vivid, velvety red, supercharged by the glowing florescence found in Burmese rubies, due to the high Chromium within their chemical composition combined with low iron content! The hue is often also is described as having blue undertones. The ‘softness’ often displayed in these rubies comes from them having minute, light-scattering inclusions, known as ‘silk’.

Although mining is still active in Myanmar, these mines are almost completely depleted. The superior nature of Burmese rubies, coupled with their scarcity, makes them arguable one of the rarest gemstones in the world and are highly sought after. A natural and unenhanced Pigeon’s blood Burmese ruby is seldom seen today and thus is an investment.

We are extremely privileged to currently have three pieces in our collection featuring pigeon’s blood natural, unenhanced rubies. These pieces include a remarkable Victorian three stone ring, an Art Deco Flanked solitaire, and last but not least, a convertible tiara. This extraordinary piece features 26 perfectly matching natural and unenhanced pigeon’s blood Burmese rubies.

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Updated 17/05/2024 at 3:13PM

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