THE PRINCESS MARGARET RUBY RING: A RUBY AND DIAMOND RING

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A ring composed of three oval rubies set in partial bezels between baguette-cut diamond shoulders, with prong-set brilliant diamond accents; mounted in white gold

  • 3 oval rubies, weighing 4.07, 2.35, and 2.23 carats
  • Stamped M with a crown above it for H.R.H. The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
  • Measurements: 1 5/16 × 7/8 × 5/8 inch

Additional cataloguing

Certification

  • American Gemological LaboratoriesThe Prestige Gemstone Report no. CS 62651, dated September 4, 2014, stating the three rubies of 8.65 caratsare natural corundum of Classic Burma origin with no heat or clarityenhancement. Further stating non- heated rubies are scarce.

 

Provenance

  • H.R.H. The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
  • The three rubies were a gift from the personal collection of H.M. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

 

Significance

Owned and designed by H.R.H. The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon,this magnificent ring incorporates three Burmese rubies, a gift fromMargaret’s mother, H.M. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The only sibling of Queen Elizabeth II and the younger daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Margaret was quite close to her family. King George would say of his two daughters, “Lilibet (Elizabeth) is my pride, Margaret my joy.” Gregarious and fun, Margaret grew to be a great beauty and a counterpoint to her serious sister. A style icon, she inspired recent collections by both Vivienne Westwood and Christopher Bailey for Burberry. Margaret designed this ring herself and the diamonds set obliquely to the rubies give a subtle and clever nod to the form of a crown.

Throughout history, the deep red color of the finest rubies has made it the most valued stone in the world. The ancient Hindus called the stone ratnaraj,meaning “king of precious stones.” In 1560, Italian goldsmith Benevuto Cellini stated “the price of ruby was eight times that of diamond.” An intense redgemstone, ruby is formed from the mineral corundum, with the color causedby chromium deposits. For hundreds of years the Mogok Valley in Upper Myanmar (Burma) produced the finest rubies ever discovered, though few good rubies have been found recently. Today, Burmese rubies over three carats are the most rare, expensive, and sought after of all gemstones.

While Burmese rubies of this size alone are exceedingly rare, to find a matched suite of three impeccable non-heat treated rubies totaling 8.65 carats is nearly unheard of except in a royal collection. Composed of a gem quality suite of Burmese rubies from the collection of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, this magnificent ruby and diamond ring, designed and owned by Princess Margaret, has an unrivalled pedigree and is a rare and coveted acquisition for any collector.

Known for her sense of style, Princess Margaret championed Dior’s New Look with a nipped in waist and wide skirt such as the one shown here, circa 1950. She was considered one of the best dressed women in the world.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Consort (left) make an appearance after their coronation ceremony with Queen Mary and the young princesses Elizabeth and Margaret on the Buckingham Palace balcony in 1937. The Queen Consort is wearing the coronation crown that includes the famous 106 carat Koh-i-Noor Diamond. After her husband’s death and Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, The Queen Consort became The Queen Mother. The three Burmese rubies in this ring came from her collection.

A map of Burma by Sidney Hall, 1829, just three years after the British annexation began. The mines of upper Burma reached their height of productivity around 1886, after the British completed their annexation and established the province of Burma.