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Sell With a Story: Star Sapphires

Star Sapphires GemstonesA Name In The Stars

The star sapphire’s name originates from its unique optical phenomenon, asterism (that’s Latin for “star”). Small needle-like inclusions of the mineral rutile cause asterism.

That’s Ancient History

For those seeking talismans, star sapphires surpass regular sapphires in reputed mystical powers. The celebrated explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton traveled the Orient with a large star sapphire, the Asteria. He found it brought him luck, as the stone’s fame preceded him in his travels. Many, however, believed that just viewing the gem would bring good fortune. Thus bringing Sir Burton prompt service and extra favors from those he visited.

Some Christians referred to the star sapphire as the “Stone of Destiny.” They associated the gem’s three crossbars with faith, hope, and destiny. They used the gemstones as travelers’ guides and as protection from illness and ill omens. Supposedly, the star sapphire warded off the Evil Eye and scared away devils. Some believed the influence of asteria remained after the stone left the wearer’s possession.

The Biggest of the Big

Star Sapphires Black Star
The Black Star of Queensland • Source

The Black Star of Queensland is currently considered the world’s largest black star sapphire, weighing in at a whopping 733 carats. This gem comes from humble beginnings. The gemstone was originally found in 1938 by Roy Spencer in Queensland, Australia. At first, it was dismissed and thrown aside mistaken for a simple large black crystal. In fact, it spent the next nine years serving as a doorstop in the Spencer family home. Over time the realization of what the doorstop actually was set in and the Spencer family struck a deal with an Armenian born jeweler, Harry Kazanjian, to sell the stone for just $18,000

Throughout its lifetime, The Black Star of Queensland was displayed in the Smithsonian Museum and exhibited at the Royal Ontario Museum, however, today, it’s privately owned by an unknown party and its current whereabouts is a mystery.


A Double-Sided Coin

Star Sapphires of India
The Star of India • Source

Discovered more than 300 years ago, The Star of India is the largest known blue star sapphire weighing in at an impressive 563.35 carats. As if being the biggest wasn’t enough, the Star of India holds another unique characteristic – it has stars on both sides of the stone.

In 1900, J.P. Morgan donated the Star of India, the Midnight Star Sapphire (another notable natural), and several other famous jewels to America Museum of Natural History, And there it remained until the 1964 Jewel Heist of the Century. Fortunately, investigators recovered the Star of India and the Midnight Star Sapphire a few months later inside a bus depot locker.


Star Sapphires of Bombay
The Star of Bombay • Source

Star of Bombay

Another Sri Lanka native, the Star of Bombay was given to silent film star, Mary Pickford, by her husband Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Mary bequeathed the 182-carat gemstone to the Smithsonian Institute in 1981. And to boot, the popular brand of gin, Bombay Sapphire, was named after this remarkable gem.



Stellar Star Sapphires from Stuller

We can meet your design needs with calibrated blue and black star sapphire. Should a customer request something unique, our Special Order Services will source it for you through our extensive global network.


Randi Bourg

Former Staff Writer