To truly appreciate the beauty of a natural sapphire, untreated by heat or chemicals – unlike most commercial sapphires today – we need to look at some of the most famous natural sapphires to observe their unique qualities. Although a natural stone may not always be totally perfect, its beauty can be seen in its individuality.
However, whilst we may not be able to afford a huge natural sapphire ourselves, owning even the smallest natural stone can bring joy to the wearer, knowing that their sapphire is unique to them.
Let’s take a look at some of the most famous sapphires and their unique individualities:
These gemstones are perfect examples of how certain types of “imperfections” (known as inclusions) can add beauty to a sapphire. A star sapphire exhibits a phenomenon known as “Asterism”. This is an anomaly that occurs when fibers of the mineral rutile intersect in such a way that when light is reflected upon the gemstone, it shows up as a six rays star pattern.
The Star of India
At a massive 563 carats, the Star of India is the largest and most famous star sapphire in the world. This fabulous gemstone possesses a milky quality due to the presence of tiny fibers of the mineral rutile, that create its star pattern. It is this magical star, set within the gemstone’s rich blue color that makes the Star of India sapphire such a highly valued jewel.
The Star of India was discovered approximately 300 years ago in Sri Lanka, where many high quality sapphires can still be found. The Star of India is currently housed at The American Museum of Natural History in New York.
The Star of Bombay
The Star of Bombay is another excellent example of a Star Sapphire. Weighing in at 182 carats, this beautiful Sapphire was given to Mary Pickford – a silent movie actress – by her film star husband, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. The Sapphire is housed at The Smithsonian Natural Museum of Natural History, in Washington DC.
The Black Star of Queensland
Accidently discovered by a small boy in a small mining town in North Eastern Australia in the 1930’s, this magnificent 733 carat oval shaped Black Sapphire is believed to be the largest Star Sapphire ever found.
The stone existed in its raw uncut state for many years, being used as a doorstop, before being sold to an Armenian born jeweler, Harry Kazanjian. It was he, who was responsible for cutting the Sapphire into its cabochon shape and discovering its “star” qualities.
The rays of the star are not as long as some of the other famous blue star sapphire. However, the intensity of the star pattern against the darkness of the black sapphire and its gold setting, makes this an amazingly beautiful gemstone.
Having made the Kazajian family extremely successful, the Black Star of Queensland Sapphire has changed hands several times and is still privately owned. It has been exhibited at The Smithsonian Natural Museum of Natural History.
Other Famous Blue sapphires
The Logan Sapphire
A flawless blue sapphire, weighing 423 carats is one of the largest faceted sapphires in existence. Cushion cut and set in a brooch surrounded by 20 round brilliant cut diamonds – with a total weight of 16 carats, this stunningly beautiful sapphire is housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, where it was donated by Mrs. John A Logan, in 1960.
The Rockefeller Sapphire
The Rockefeller Sapphire is an internally flawless cornflower blue gemstone that weighs approx 62.02 carats. The Sapphire is flanked by cut-cornered triangular cut diamonds mounted in platinum. The Rockefeller Sapphire gets its name from one of its previous owners, John D. Rockefeller who bought the gemstone from an Indian Maharajah in 1934. This rectangular cut sapphire weighs approximately 62.2. The Rockefeller Sapphire sold for $3.03 million on 11th April 2001 in New York.
The Bismark Sapphire
The Bismark Sapphire was purchased in the 1920’s by the husband of Countess Mona von Bismarck when they visited Sri Lanka, whilst on honeymoon. The Sapphire is believed to have originated from the Ratnapura district – a region that has produced sapphires and rubies from the times of King Solomon in the 10th century BC. The district continues to produce an excellent supply of good quality sapphires.
In 1967, the Sapphire was donated by Countess Mona von Bismarck to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution, where it continues to reside.