star rubies

Guernsey’s, the New York City-based auction house, is delighted to announce two extraordinary events. On April 12, the Marcial de Gomar Collection of spectacular emeralds will be held, followed less than a month later by the May 3 auction of the Mountain Star Ruby Collection. Both events will be conducted live at the Americas Society at 680 Park Avenue with online bidding at liveauctioneers.com.

The Marcial de Gomar Emerald Collection consists of more than twenty loose emeralds (both cut and rough) plus 13 pieces of emerald jewelry. The emeralds were collected by Manuel Marcial de Gomar over a long career spent both in the United States and in the jungles of Colombia, where for years he worked in the legendary Muzo mines, widely known for producing the world’s finest emeralds. Mr. Marcial’s knowledge of rare emeralds has placed him in demand as an author, lecturer and consultant, and while his family continues in their involvement with rare emeralds, it is Manuel’s lifelong personal collection that is being sold.

Featured lots in the Marcial de Gomar Collection include:

  • La Gloria, which, at 887 carats, is the largest Muzo rough emerald in North America;
  • Marcial de Gomar Star, the largest of only eleven star emeralds known to exist and perhaps the first of its kind as a double-sided star emerald;
  • Tears of Fura, an impressive matched pair of large teardrop-shaped Muzo emeralds.

Decades ago, Mr. Marcial befriended Mel Fisher, the famed treasure hunter best known for his work with the sunken Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha, which is considered the most important wreck yet discovered. Several Muzo emeralds and rare gold coins from the Atocha passed into the Marcial de Gomar Collection and will be included in this event.

Mountain Star Ruby Collection

The Marcial de Gomar Collection will be followed by another exciting gem auction in May: the Mountain Star Ruby Collection. Consisting of four extraordinary star rubies – each with an exquisite star* and collectively weighing in at 342 carats – experts have described this Collection as potentially the finest in the world. (*The Smokey Mountain Two Star Ruby, as its name suggests, has distinctive stars on both front and back.)

Volumes could easily be written about the remarkable find by a modest mountain man from western North Carolina who, as a self-described “rock hound,” was constantly in search of rare and unusual stones in his native Appalachia. Star rubies, such as the fabled Rajaratna Star Ruby in Bangalore, are the rarest form of ruby and have been coveted for centuries. Most often discovered in areas of Burma and Sri Lanka, the Mountain Star Ruby Collection is all the more astounding for its North American origin.

Following their discovery in 1990, the four stones were examined by the leading gemological testing labs in the U.S. and Europe prior to an exhibition of the 139 carat Appalachian Star at the Natural History Museum, London where a record audience of 150,000 people viewed the ruby over a two week period. Shortly thereafter, the gentleman who found the stones passed away and the Collection was returned to his family where it has quietly resided ever since.

An interesting comparison can be made between the 138 carat “Rosser Reeves Star Ruby” currently on display at the Smithsonian Museum, where it has been described as the “largest and finest star ruby in the world,” and the Appalachian Star included in the four stone Mountain Star Ruby Collection being sold together as one lot in the May 3 auction. One carat smaller than the Appalachian Star, the Rosser Reeves has an imperfect, 5-ray star, compared to the perfect six rays of the Appalachian Star. In the early 1980s, the Rosser Reeves was appraised at $25 million, which later was increased to $40 million. One could argue that the Appalachian Star, even without its three companion star rubies, is even more valuable.

For more information about both of these astounding auction events, please visit www.guernseys.com.

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