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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Carmen Lúcia Ruby

Carmen Lúcia Ruby (NMNH G10320-00) from the National Gem Collection.
Photo by Chip Clark. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G10320-00
Locality Myanmar [Burma]
Weight 23.1 ct

Gift of Dr. Peter Buck in 2004 in memory of Carmen L. Buck.

At 23.10 carats, the Carmen Lúcia Ruby is the largest faceted ruby in the National Gem Collection and one of the finest large, faceted Burmese rubies known. This natural ruby possesses a combination of outstanding characteristics. Aside from its large size, this extraordinary gemstone displays a richly saturated homogenous red color, combined with an exceptional degree of transparency. The stone was mined from the fabled Mogok region of Burma in the 1930s. The most important source of fine rubies has been Burma, and in fact the term “Burmese Ruby” is synonymous with the best and most valuable rubies. Burmese rubies are considered to be the finest color – red to slightly purplish-red and medium-dark in tone, with the vibrancy of the color enhanced by a red fluorescence. This color is commonly referred to as “pigeon’s blood.” While sapphire, emerald, and diamond gems weighing hundreds of carats exist, high-quality Burmese rubies larger than 20 carats are exceedingly rare. The Carmen Lúcia Ruby is mounted in a platinum ring with 2 triangular-cut diamonds totaling 2.38 carats. This magnificent ruby was a gift to the Smithsonian and the people of the United States in 2004 from Dr. Peter Buck, in memory of his wife, Carmen Lúcia Buck, who was born in Brazil and became a U.S. citizen. Her love for the United States, devotion to children, and appreciation for fine jewelry inspired the gift of this ruby for the American People to enjoy. The Carmen Lúcia Ruby is on display in the Gem Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History.


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