Massive Ruby Crystal in Zoisite -The Largest Ruby Crystal to be Offered at Public Auction

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Lot 1198W
Massive Ruby Crystal in Zoisite -The Largest Ruby Crystal to be Offered at Public Auction
US$ 100,000 - 150,000
£ 77,000 - 120,000

Lot Details
Property from Various Owners
Massive Ruby Crystal in Zoisite -The Largest Ruby Crystal to be Offered at Public Auction
Longido Mine, Arusha, Tanzania
In 1949, Tom Belvins and another English prospector, both residents of Kenya, made a discovery of a ruby deposit not far from Mount Kilimanjaro. In a shallow basin they found a breathtaking display of flat, sharp-faced, hexagonal, deep red ruby crystals in a green zoisite outcrop, the matrix in which the ruby crystals were formed. The crystals rarely exceeded two inches in diameter by a quarter of an inch in thickness. Another 150 feet along the strike of the outcrop, a noticeable change occurred to the rubies, still immersed in the green matrix. They became much larger but coarser in outline, changing from the thin, flat crystals with transparent areas into huge hexagonal columns of a lighter red opaque material. The most distant outcrop from the original discovery was approximately four hundred feet, at which point the exposed rubies were sparsely scattered, poorly formed and opaque, but extremely large.

From the standpoint of sheer quantity, this locality is the largest producer of ruby ever known. In later years, when the claim was in the hands of new owners, shafts were driven down into the green zoisite and for many years rubies were mined, totaling hundreds of thousands of carats, much of this production being sent to India to be cut into small faceted gems. The largest crystal found at this time was in a class by itself, weighing slightly more than 30,000 carats. The noted prospector and gem dealer, Ed Swoboda, traveled to Nairobi and purchased the stockpile of ruby that Tom Belvins had squirreled away in his garage, including the large crystal. Back home in Beverly Hills, he quickly sold the collection to the Kazanjian Brothers gem and jewelry company. They had recently completed a fabulous Lincoln head carving of black star sapphire and were presently searching the world market for some big chunks of ruby, suitable for sculpting another bust in their Presidential Series of gem carvings.

The present specimen, at over 100 lbs, to our knowledge was the largest found in this historic deposit (seven times larger than the one found by Belvins in the early 1950s). It is an enormous, well-formed hexagonal crystal of very fine quality "select" ruby material, with a deep red hue, and a high polish to its face and a rind of green zoisite visible to the sides. Elevated simply on an elegant metal stand, it forms an impressive sculpture.....a testament to this most famous ruby deposit which men and expeditions had been searching for over a very long period of history, very possibly the famous long lost ruby mines of King Solomon!

Weight 100.53 lbs (228,000 carats)(112.44 lbs with base) Single Crystal 16 x 12 x 11in, height with base 33 1/2in

Footnotes

  • Offered on a custom-built metal stand.

    Provenance: Luis Alberto Quispe Aparicio Ruby Collection
Activities
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