Black Star of Queensland
Black Star of Queensland is a 733-carat (146.6 g) black sapphire, and the world’s largest gem quality star sapphire. It was discovered in the 1930s by 12-year-old Roy Spencer in Queensland, Australia. Since they did not know that sapphires could present themselves in a black color, the boy’s dad dismissed it as an enormous black crystal, threw it aside to be used as a doorstop in their family home. The humble gemstone that spent nine years as a doorstop is now set majestically as a pendant framed by 35 diamonds.
The Royal Blue
The ever famous ring was personally chosen by Diana from a selection presented to her by Garrard Jewelers, making it an unusual royal choice because anyone could purchase it from the Garrard catalog at the time. A large, oval 12-carat sapphire is surrounded by a cluster of 14 diamonds set in 18-carat white gold. When the official engagement photos were released, the ring only had 8 prongs total: 2 in each corner. More prongs were added in December 1981 and the end result is now Kate Middleton’s engagement ring.
There are many speculations as to why Diana chose this particular ring. Sapphires were one of the Princess’ favorite gemstones. Some
say she chose it because it reminded her of her mother’s engagement ring. Others say she chose it to match her beautiful blue eyes. Diana later stated that it she picked it because it “was the biggest one.” Whatever the reason, this beautiful ring has indeed become a symbol and an heirloom. When William gave it to Kate he stated, “It’s very special to me. As Kate’s very special to me now, it was right to put the two together. It was my way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement, and the fact that we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together.”
The Reward of Faith Sapphire
This stone was was found in 1975 at the Reward gemfield near Rubyvale in Queensland, Australia. In 1983 it was cut into the 52.36-carat round you see here, measuring 22.35 mm across and 13.49 mm deep. It is still owned by its original owner. The stone’s color in the photograph is close to the true color but this does change considerably, to a deeper red, depending on the nature of the light, although perhaps not strongly enough to be called a color change sapphire.
The Grand Sapphire of Louis XIV
This stone resides in Paris’s Museum of Natural History. It is of a distinctive lozenge shape and possesses only six facets, appearing like a huge sapphire rhomb. It is indeed nearly “without flaw,” containing only one small feather and crystal inclusion, and is possibly of Burmese or Sri Lankan origin.
According to the museum’s H.J. Schubnel, the sapphire actually weighs 135.80 carats. In the museum it is known as the Ruspoli Sapphire. During the 17th century, a Roman prince named Ruspoli sold this sapphire to a salesman, who in turn, sold it to King Louis XIV sometime before 1691. At that time it was the third most prominent gem in the French Crown Jewels.
During the French Revolution, the royal gems were confiscated by the revolutionary government and then stolen by Cadet Guyot. Only a few escaped, including the Ruspoli Sapphire, probably saved by its unusual form. In 1796, the revolutionary government allowed the Museum to choose a few gems for educational purposes. Daubenton, the Museum’s director, chose the Ruspoli Sapphire, cleverly labeling it as a sapphire crystal. Obviously he was lying, but it was for a noble cause. In 2016 the Gemological Institute of America published an article their “Gems & Gemology” periodical stating that the name ‘Ruspoli Sapphire’ actually applied to a separate, cushion-shaped sapphire.
The Star of India
The Star of India, at 563.35 carats, is the largest and most famous star sapphire in the world. Formed some 2 billion years ago, it was discovered, allegedly more than 300 years ago, in Sri Lanka, where excellent sapphires are still to be found in deposits of sand and gravel left by ancient rivers. Industrialist and financier J. P. Morgan presented the sapphire to the New York Museum of Natural History in 1900. Today, the Star of India is one of the most renowned objects in all of the Museum’s collections.
Star Sapphire Brooch
This large star sapphire has no apparent name. It appeared at Sotheby’s Auction House in April of 2002. Here is what they had to say about it:
“Star sapphire and diamond pendant-brooch, circa 1955. The large oval-shaped star sapphire cabochon weighing approximately 145.00 carats, within a frame set with 23 marquise-shaped, 1 round and 1 kite-shaped diamond weighing a total of approximately 23.00 carats, mounted in platinum, with pendant hook.”
The piece had an estimate of $30,000 to $40,000. I think it is beautiful.