The gaudy red ring that helped initially identify the corpse of Iran’s Major Gen. Qassem Soleimani is no Hope Diamond, according to local jewelers.
Dealers believe the distinctive ring worn by Soleimani is either a red carnelian stone — believed by some Middle East Muslims as able to bestow “blessings”– or possibly an inexpensive ruby that would cost a few hundred bucks.
“From the photo, it looks like it’s a carnelian stone — it’s not a ruby; it comes from Africa,” said Maykel Rieth, a professional cutter for R Gems Inc on West 48th Street.
“The ring is made out of silver,” he continued.
“It could be white gold, but it looks like silver — and whoever made a stone like this is not going to put it in gold because it’s not an expensive piece.”
Another jeweler, from Paillon Jewelry, agreed it was a silver band, and said that gives away that the piece is cheap.
“From the looks of it, it doesn’t look like an expensive ring because it’s made out of silver, it’s not gold,” said the jeweler, who declined to give his name.
If it were a ruby, its dark color would bring a low price point, he added.
“From the photo the color of the ruby is dark,” he said. “The brighter the ruby the more expensive, so this ring here doesn’t look that expensive,” he said, “although it’s very difficult to get an exact price from a photo.”
Whatever its cash worth, the stone still significant within the Islamic faith, particularly among the Shia sect, according to Freddy, 33, who works at Taste of Persia Pizzeria and hails from Libya.
Soleimani was widely reported to be Shia, and to lead Shia militias.
“That’s a religious ring. That little rock that you see inside is a type of blessing,” Freddy said. He asked his last name not be used.
“Back in the day, the messengers used to carry those type of rings with that stone or rock inside,” he said. “It’s a blessing for them to carry on their journey, so for you to carry that type of ring you’re associated with that type of religion.”
The major general, who was among several people killed in the airstrike near Baghdad airport, had been pictured in life wearing the ring.
A graphic photo from the drone strike scene showed the oversized ring on a bloodied hand lying on grass.
Rieth guessed that even with the intricate engravings on the band, the ring would be easy to replicate — probably at the cost of $400 to $500.
“Anybody can manufacturer that ring,” he said. “If you show me a better picture, I can copy it.”