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Sotheby to auction The Queen Maria-Jose Ruby Ring

2015-10-11


Sotheby to auction The Queen Maria-Jose Ruby Ring

This November, Sotheby’s Geneva is thrilled to offer “The Queen Maria-José Ruby Ring”, an exceptional ruby and diamond ring formerly part of the personal collection of the last Queen of Italy, Maria-José (1906-2001). The superb jewel has impeccable provenance: it was a gift from Italian bibliophile Tammaro de Marinis on the occasion of Maria-José’s wedding to Crown Prince Umberto in 1930.

The stunning ring is set with an exquisite Burmese ruby weighing 8.48 carats, and boasting the most sought-after hue for rubies: “pigeon’s blood”. This sensational piece will be offered during Sotheby’s auction of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels on 11 November 2015, with a pre-sale estimate of $6-9 million (CHF 5.75 – 8.6 million).

David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division, commented: “The “Queen Maria-José Ruby Ring” is a magnificent jewel of exceptional quality with truly outstanding royal provenance. Its “pigeon’s blood” colour is sumptuous - the perfect jewel for a queen - and the jewel’s history, coming from the jewellery collection of Queen Maria-José, of course adds enormously to its romantic appeal.”

The Queen Maria-José Ruby Ring:

The Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF) has certified that this important 8.48-carat ruby is of Burmese origin and has no evidence of heat treatment. The institute’s specialists commented further: “The rarity of this ring lies not only in the beauty, quality and Burmese origin of the ruby, but certainly also in (its) workmanship and well-documented historic provenance… This makes the ‘Queen Maria-José Ruby Ring’ a very exceptional treasure.”

Outstanding Historical Provenance: 

Princess Maria-José of Belgium was known and admired for her elegance and beauty. She shared a passion for jewellery with her future husband, Umberto II of Italy (1904-1983). On the occasion of their wedding in Rome on the 8th of January 1930, Maria-José received this sensational ruby ring as a gift from her friend, the celebrated scholar and bibliophile Tammaro de Marinis (1878-1969).

In its report on the ruby ring, the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) states: “A man of great taste, Tammaro chose the perfect ring for this brilliant princess, married to the heir to the throne of Italy, for the royal character of the exquisite “pigeon blood” ruby within its diamond frame… Any Burmese ruby in excess of 5 carats is considered very rare even today; thus, in the nineteenth century, one such as this – being over 8 carats and such a fine colour – would have been held as truly exceptional.”