Gem hunter discovers rare rubies worth $530,000 in marketplace

'Game of Stones': The Search for Rare Sunset Rubies
'Game of Stones': The Search for Rare Sunset Rubies

The Cambodian 'sunset' ruby is 50 times more rare than a diamond, and there has been no significant raw gem discovery in the last 20 years.

A flawless sunset ruby the size of a fingernail can fetch a quarter of a million dollars on the world's gem market, making it precious both monetarily and aesthetically.

Experienced gem hunter Don Kogen, head of Gem Guys Inc., is following a lead that newly discovered sunset rubies are coming out of the ground in southeast Asia. Using his network of contacts in the backstreet markets of Chanthaburi, Thailand, the gem trading capital of Southeast Asia, Kogen went in search of the rare stones before they vanish.

The high iron content of Cambodian 'Sunset' rubies can make them appear cloudy and worthless to the untrained eye, but with over 20 years of experience in the gemstone and jewelry industry, Kogen knows that these rubies transform at extreme temperatures yielding a beautiful and highly prized gemstone.

After paying heavily armed Cambodian miners $150,000 in cash for the raw rubies, Kogen begins the incredibly delicate thermal transformation process. With temperatures reaching above of 2,000 degrees, the extreme heat process could either turn the stones into a brilliant 'sunset' red color, or they could easily be shattered and turned into worthless dust.

To protect the exact details of his cooking formula, Kogen doesn't allow the "Game of Stones" TV crew, or even his own team, to be present. In the end, the cooking process is wildly successful.

After paying $150,000 for the raw stones, Kogen has transformed them into exquisite rubies worth an estimated $530,000 in the marketplace.

Learn more about Don

Originally published