Like its more famous and similarly-colored cousin, the “Red Mendelssohn,” the 1708 “Ruby” is so-named because of its rich, ruby-tinted varnish. But unlike the “Red Mendelssohn,” the whereabouts of the “Ruby” are known for almost the entirety of its existence.
According to tradition, one of the ancestors of the Marquis de Pierisis acquired the violin from Paolo Stradivari, Antonio Stradivari’s youngest son. In 1905, it was still in the possession of the Marquis’ family. It then came to the Hamma firm, which sold the violin in 1912 to Heiweid Glatz-Neumann, an important Viennese collector who owned a full Stradivari quartet. This sale was merely the first of a whirlwind of sales of the “Ruby” to avid, knowledgeable collectors in the 20th century.
Bein & Fushi, a Chicago-based purveyor of fine instruments, took ownership of the violin in 1982. They placed the “Ruby” with The Stradivari Society®, where it is one of the violins made available for use by exceptional artists. This is a fortunate development as it seems likely that this Strad was not played very often, if at all, on its previous stops. The 1708 “Ruby” Antonio Stradivari violin is currently on loan to Philippe Quint through the generous efforts of The Stradivari Society®.