Rare 5,000-carat Afghan ruby unveiled in Dubai

Owner wants to raise funds to help impoverished village on Afghan-Iran border where the gemstone was found

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A rare 5,000-carat gemstone displayed in Dubai is being heralded as a "blessing from heaven" for the residents of the impoverished village in which it was unearthed.

The remarkable ruby, which weighs about 1 kilogram, has been hailed as "one of a kind" due to its rich purple colouring and vast size.

Its discovery in the small village of Hyderabad, bordering Iran and Afghanistan, was said to be startling due to the lack of mining activity in the area.

Its owner said he hoped the unexpected find could help bring a change of fortune for villagers without access to schools, hospitals or even electricity for some.

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We are not selling it. We hope to display the ruby in museums in the UAE and even in Europe, and generate funds for hospitals and schools in the village where this was found
Esmail Borhanzahi, owner

Called Malak, meaning ‘angel’ in the Farsi language widely spoken in Iran, the uncut stone could cost at least $10 million in the market, asset manager Patrick Pilati told The National.

“It was an accidental finding from the village called Hyderabad bordering Iran and Afghanistan. There is no mining activity in the village that is under the jurisdiction of Afghanistan,” he said.

The rough stone is deep purple in colour and bigger than the palm of a hand.

Mr Pilati said the gemstone belongs to the Borhanzahi family, who are from the village.

Esmail Borhanzahi, who believes the gemstone is from the ‘Persian region’, said the ruby could be one of the largest in the world.

“It is very rare, it is one of its kind in its size and colour,” said Mr Borhanzahi after unveiling the gemstone for a private viewing in Dubai on Thursday evening.

“This is the first time we are displaying it."

He said the ruby is not for sale but only for display.

“We are not selling it. This belongs to the village. The ruby belongs to the world and we want everyone to see and appreciate it.”

He said he wants to display the stone in museums around the world and use the proceeds to build basic infrastructure for his village.

“It is a small village with around 1,500 people. There is no electricity, schools or hospitals," he said.

“We hope to display the ruby in museums in the UAE and even in Europe, and generate funds that can be used to build a hospitals and schools in the village where this was found.

“This is a blessing from heaven for the people. That is why we named it Malak.”

Mr Pilati said the operation team led by Mr Borhanzahi took the gemstone to India to test and verify it.

“The test conducted in India came as a pleasant surprise for the team," he said. "The gemologist at the lab confirmed that it could be one of the largest rough gemstone found anywhere in the world.

“It is very difficult to find ruby stones of this size and quality.”

A certificate of authenticity issued by the International Testing Laboratory Gems and Jewellery, in Jaipur, Rajasthan in India, and shown to The National, stated the rough ruby weighs 5,010 carats.

Azad Rokhsati, a gemologist, who was also present at the event, confirmed the size and weight.

“I have never seen anything like this,” he said.

It is the latest jewel to shine brightly in Dubai this year.

Last week, a gem-quality ruby weighing 101 carats was unveiled in Dubai. Called the Estrela de Fura, Portuguese for 'Star of Fura', the stone was unearthed in Mozambique and was described as a “once in a century" discovery by the owners.

In April, a 8,400-carat rough ruby weighing 2.8 kilograms was unveiled in Dubai. Called Burj Alhamal, the uncut stone, that was mined in Winza, Tanzania, has an estimated value of $120m.

Rare diamond displayed in Dubai - in pictures

Updated: September 25, 2022, 3:18 AM
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