The Origin, Weight and Value of the Burj Alhamal Ruby Misrepresented in Potential Scam

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Bangkok, Thailand: The Burj Alhamal ruby promoted in Dubai as “record breaking” and valued at $120M has been grossly misrepresented by SJ Gold & Diamonds. Initially claimed to weigh 8,400-carats and 2.8kg raises the question, how could SJ Gold & Diamonds not know that 8,400-carats equals 1.68kg, not 2,8kg? Additionally, it was eventually revealed the actual weight is 3.4kg, or 17,000-carats.

Regarding the dubious “record breaking” claim, a Google search of “world’s largest ruby” will quickly reveal The 125West Ruby certified by GIA at 18,696 carats, the carved Ruby Kusturd weighing 30,090-carats, and the Guinness record holder The King Ruby at 21.95kg or 109,750-carats.

Falsely claimed to be from the high-value ruby mines of Winza, Tanzania, the actual origin of the Burj Alhamal ruby is the low-value ruby mines of Longido, Tanzania. Indisputable evidence of this is the green zoisite matrix making up the majority of the weight of the specimen meaning only a fraction is actual ruby. Known in East Africa as “anyolite”, this material is named after the Maasai word anyoli, meaning “green.” Green zoisite has never been found in the host rock of rubies from Winza meaning it is impossible for the Burj Alhamal ruby to be from this high-value source.

Gabriel Sendeu Laizer, a mine owner at Mundarara village in Longido District recovered five tonnes of anyolite ruby-in-zoisite from his eight hectare block in 2020, his largest haul since he ventured into mining in 2016. According to Mr Laizer, “one kilogramme of ruby fetches about $260 in the international markets.”  For decades, demand for ruby-in-zoisite has predominantly been for use as a carving material with specimens documented up to over 80kg. 

On May 20, 2014, a 228,000 carat (45.6kg) ruby-in-zoisite specimen was offered by Bonhams in Los Angeles. This ruby-in-zoisite specimen, which 16 times larger than the “Burj Alhamal”, carried an estimated value of US$100,000-$150,000. It failed to sell at the Bonhams auction after bidding did not reach the minimum estimated value of $100,000, or $2,200 per kilogram. Ironically, SJ Gold & Diamonds boasts that their Callisto collection includes 12 rough rubies that weigh a total of “an astonishing 236,000 carats” or 47.2kg. The failed Bonhams auction is a clear indication the entire Callisto is not even worth $100,000.

This is not the first time a low value rough ruby from Tanzania has been implicated in fraud. In 2009, a 2kg ruby-in-zoisite specimen named the “Gem of Tanzania was initially valued at £11m ($17.4m) and owned by UK Wrekin Construction company. As revealed by the BBC, the company used the valuation of the stone to help prop up its balance sheet. Forced into bankruptcy, the court-appointed administrators Ernst & Young declared the 2kg stone’s £11m valuation and its accompanying documents as forgery. With 60 offers, it was eventually auctioned for a mere £8,000 ($10,400), leaving creditors with massive losses exceeding £45m ($58.7m).