In honor of the ruby—July’s regal birthstone, let’s take a closer look at one of the world’s largest rubies—the Rajaratna Ruby! The Rajaratna Ruby is a 2,475 carat, cabochon-cut wonder, currently located in Bangalore, India and owned by Mr. G. Vidyaraj.
This truly regal ruby, whose name literally means “King of Rubies” in Sanskrit, was deemed the world’s largest ruby and the world’s largest star ruby at the time of its unveiling in 1986, and still considered one of the world’s largest rubies today. Furthermore, this ruby is believed to have a six-ray star pattern (known as asterism) unlike any the world has ever seen due to its semi-translucent, opaque nature rutile fibers and cabochon cut.
The Rajaratna Ruby’s story dates as far back as the Medieval Era, with its first known owners, the Kings of Vijayanagar—a prosperous South Indian Empire. The infamous Rajaratna Ruby is rumored to have originated in one of India’s two well-known ruby and sapphire regions at the time—Kalinga (Northeastern India) and Kalpur (Central India), or the Mogok region of Burma—a region synonymous with rough rubies of remarkable size.
Regardless of its origin, the Kings of Vijayanagar dedicated the Rajaratna Ruby to worship the God Shiva—transforming this regal wonder into a Shaligram. After the defeat of the Vijayanagar Empire and subsequent destruction of the empire’s capital city of Hampi in 1565, the Rajaratna Ruby was claimed by ancestors of G Vidayaraj, which was then passed down to G Vidayaraj’s father and finally G Vidayaraj himself.
Upon inheriting this ancient gemstone, G Vidayaraj locked the Rajaratna Ruby, (in addition to a select collection of rubies) in a cupboard in his house. These colossal gemstones went untouched for a number of years, until one day he decided that he wanted to learn more about these sacred heirlooms sitting in his dusty cupboard. To investigate, he took self-study gemology course, and upon inspection, he discovered that these stones were quite valuable!
Shortly after, he began taking these sacred stones one by one to a gemstone professional for cutting and polishing. Over the course of its lifetime, the Rajaratna Ruby alone has been priced for over $200 million—that’s approximately $80,000 per carat! For security purposes, G Vidayaraj’s rubies are all locked away in vaults around the world until he finds buyers for these remarkable gemstones. G Vidayaraj says that he plans to set up a trust fund to help the less fortunate, in addition to a research institute, tasked to find the cure for AIDs, Cancer and other deadly diseases.
There’s no question that this remarkable ruby is truly a natural wonder! Check out The Diamond Diaries for more on the world’s most regal gemstones, courtesy of DC’s Oldest Jeweler.