Dev Shetty of Fura Gems
Dev Shetty of Fura Gems: "When we discovered the original 101-carat ruby at the Mozambique mine, it sure was a surprise. We were expecting rubies, but this became a cherry-on-top kind of situation." Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Dev Shetty of Fura Gems has got a sparkle about him – today, that’s a $34.8 million one.

The founder and CEO of the DMCC-based company, specialising in gemstones, has just seen a 55.22 carat ruby hit the jackpot – by setting a world record auction price for a stone of its genre at a Sotheby’s auction in New York. It beat the record held by the 25.59 carat ‘Sunrise Ruby’, which sold in 2015 for $30.3 million.

The new one – all of 101 carats in its original form – is no family heirloom or a private collector’s asset that has come up for auction. It’s discovery is of recent vintage, as recent as July 2022 to be precise. That was when miners at a Fura gems’ owned site in Mozambique came across the 101-carat version.

The buyer, not named, is an investor from the Middle East.

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“This became the largest gemstone-quality ruby ever discovered in the last 700 years,” said Shetty. “While we have multiple licenses in Mozambique for mining ruby, we were searching for those that fit more volume requirements in the jewellery business.

“This one – which was named ‘Estrela de Fura’ – came up as a complete surprise. And it is one of a kind. Something like a cherry-on-top kind of situation.”

Stock - Estrela De Fura
In its final cut, the 'Estrela de Fura' was trimmed to 55.2 carat from the original 101 version. The new buyer is from the Middle East. Image Credit: Supplied

Soon after the July 2022 discovery, the stone was shown off in Dubai. Then, it was cut to size – literally. The current version is 55.2 carat and, for the auction, was set on a ring.

The process was done in Thailand and involved specialists from the French gem company Garaude and 3D engineers from Bellerophon Gemlab.

“In gemstones, the average recovery from rough to cut is around 40-45 per cent,” said Shetty. “To get something over 50 is rare. We were excited to place an Africa discovered ruby for an auction, in a space where Burmese rubies were in vogue.

“We knew the Estrela De Fura could set records – it has brought Mozambique to the attention of the world’s gemstones’ trade.”

Auctions for stones run hot

Diamonds – of various levels of vividness, caratage and all the rest of its – had been setting auction records through these two-, three years. In fact, another of these stones did so on Thursday itself, with a pink one fetching $34.8 million at the same Sotheby’s auction.

Gemstones, in comparison, have been less prominent, which is why the sum brought in by the Fura ruby sets up new benchmarks as well.

Any regrets about someone else owning it? “Not really – always believed it’s best to have it with someone who will always cherish the stone,” said Shetty. “I’m sure the buyer will set it up as a brooch or a pendant.

“For our operations, it’s a moment to enjoy our moment in the sun.”

With a $34.8 million shine to it…