The Star Of India

Star Of IndiaNo, not a famous Bollywood actress. The Star of India is a 563.35 carat star sapphire, among the largest of its kind in the world.

While the size of the gemstone alone is quite impressive, its’ name is derived from the literal meaning – in certain lights, the shape of a star can be seen in its depths. Why are they not well known? It is for the fact that naturally occurring star gemstones are so rare that many will not see one in their lifetime. To put it into perspective, out of every 100 faceted corundum (ruby and sapphire) mined, there are only about three stars among them. Of these three, only one will have both a good color and a good star shape. If a fine star ruby or sapphire is properly lit, it will appear as if the star is hovering above the gemstone.

MuseumThe reason why stars form is due to the amount of the element rutile in the stone; the best formed stars will have a dense amount of rutile in them. When a ruby or sapphire is discovered to have this element in them, some may be cut into a domed shape –called cabochon- which occasionally produces a six-legged star. Only Sri Lanka and Burma produce these types of gemstones.

The origins of the Star of India come from modern day Sri Lanka, where it was discovered almost 300 years ago. In 1900, wealthy financier J.P. Morgan donated the Star of India to the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, where it currently resides. The stone’s notoriety comes from its size, almost perfect star shape, and the appearance of the star on both sides of the stone – an incredibly rare trait.

To see a collection of precious gemstones and beautifully cut diamonds, come down to Secret Sapphire, a luxury jewelry boutique located in Vancouver’s Yaletown district.