When You Wish Upon a Star

Savvy gemstone collectors know Sri Lanka to be one of the world's premier colored gem locales.

So many precious stones are found on this island nation, including the very coveted ruby and sapphire varieties of corundum. But even for a nation accustomed to beautiful stones coming from the earth, this find was earth shattering. 

 Found in the City of Gems

It seems the world's largest star sapphire cluster was accidentally found in a Sri Lankan's backyard in the town of Ratnapura no less. Ratnapura actually means city of gems . . .so . . .

The massive rock weighs close to 510 kilograms, or nearly 1,125 lbs. To keep things on the down low until the boulder can be safely removed, the homeowners exact location is kept secret. He was digging a well, and . .well . . there it was. It's estimated to hold about 2.5 million carats of star sapphire. Experts say they found the material to be of high quality when they cleaned some of it.

How the Sapphire Gets its Star

But what exactly is star sapphire you wonder? It seemed to have enjoyed its heyday in the Art Deco era and still collected its devotees afterward for some years. Lately, its not as in demand as earlier times. Yet star sapphire is a beautiful stone.

Star sapphires are polished in high domes rather than faceted as other sapphires are. The cabochon polishing allows the interior rays to be displayed in a 6 ray pattern across the center of the dome. The straighter the rays, and the farther down the sides of the stone they go, the greater the value of the stone.

The cause of the rays are interesting rutile needles inside the sapphire crystal. Polishing it in a cabochon with a high dome exposes the rutile needles in a star-like pattern. This phenomenon is called asterism.

Show Me the Money

The big star sapphire boulder has been named Serendipity Sapphire and experts estimate its value at $100 million US dollars pending authentication by independent experts. That's a good idea.


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