The reason why gemstones come in so many color varieties is to offer consumers a multitude of possibilities to pick the one that will ideally match their personal taste and style. But, there is always at least one specimen that stands out in the crowd, thanks to a specific characteristic that makes it not just different, but also universally appealing. And what other precious stone it could be than the one and only, star sapphire? If you have never had the opportunity to meet this sensational gem in person, the least you can do is to learn about its intrinsic nature. Who knows, maybe it will be your stepping stone to making it your next jewelry purchase. Enjoy your reading!
Star sapphire is a unique variety of sapphire, considered the rarest sample of the gemstone’s remarkable blue color. Its one-of-a-kind feature is called “asterism”, an optical phenomenon displayed in a form of a six-rayed star on the stone’s surface. (*in astrology, asterism is defined as a group of stars that form a specific pattern on the sky.) Asterism can be exclusively seen when the gem is viewed under direct natural light. Then, the needle-like inclusions appear and the most impressive thing about them is that they can be seen from all angles. These inclusions are mainly composed of rutile, a mineral that is present in almost all optical effects in gemology.
Although blue is the most common color appearance of star sapphire, this unique gemstone can be also found in other shades, such as yellow, orange, green, pink, purple, gray and black. However, they are present in extremely low quantities, which is the reason why these sapphires are mostly seen in blue color. As for the six-rayed star, it is always white, with the exception of a few specimens, like the Thai star sapphire, whose asterism is exhibited in an authentic gold hue. There are certain sapphire specimens that have 12 star-like rays instead of six.
In terms of hardness, this sapphire variety ranks 9 on the Moh’s scale, which confirms that it is a durable stone that can be freely used for making fine jewelry. Clarity, on the other hand, is a more delicate feature, mainly determined by the intensity of the rutile silk (the white, star-like asterism). If the rutile silk is present in the proper amounts, the sapphire gem will be entirely transparent. But, it the rutile silk is too intense, it will affect the stone’s overall clarity grade, which will consequently reduce its value. When it comes to color, the saturation is more likely to decrease when opacity increases. This will result in a stone with a nicely exposed asterism, but dull color that makes it gloomy and unattractive.
HISTORY & MYTHOLOGY
There are not many legendary discoveries related to this precious stone, except for The Star of Adam, a 1,404.49-carat blue specimen known as the largest star sapphire in history. The stone is featuring a nicely outlined oval shape and its value is estimated at $100 million at least. The Star of Adam is not auctioned yet, but experts predict that it could fetch up a price of $175 million, thanks to its high qualities that are valued with the same importance as its rarity. Back to the 1930’s, another significant specimen was discovered - The Black Star of Queensland. As the name suggests, the 733-carat gem is showcasing a nicely saturated black color with a gold six-rayed star, one of the rarest asterism varieties for star sapphire. After several eminent owners, The Black Star of Queensland is last known to be in possession of a Swiss gemstone collector.
In the past, many civilizations held the six-rayed star gemstone in high regard; they used it as a talisman for protection, especially for travelers and treasures seekers. Some of them even believed that its protective properties are still effective if the stone is passed from one person to another. Throughout history, star sapphire has also got references of a healing and divine stone. For instance, in the book “Physica”, written by Abbess Hildegard von Bingen, there is a special tribute to this gemstone: "Who is dull and would like to be clever, should, in a sober state, frequently lick with the tongue on a sapphire, because the gemstone's warmth and power, combined with the saliva moisture, will expel the harmful juices that affect the intellect. Thus, the man will attain a good intellect."
In astrology, this sapphire variety is related to the zodiac sign Taurus (people born between April 20 and May 21).
The Black Star of Queensland
STAR SAPPHIRE & JEWELRY
Thanks to its extraordinary durability, this gemstone can be used for all jewelry types, ranging from rings and bracelets to earrings, brooches and necklaces. At the same time, it is a suitable alternative for day-to-day and evening jewelry in both aspects of aesthetics and versatility. However, the six-rayed sapphire specimen is mostly desired for the making-of cabochons, since the stone is usually cut and polished, but not faceted. Future buyers of star sapphire jewelry should remember that the real beauty and magnificence of this gemstone is best displayed when the stone is exposed to natural daylight; it is when the star-like asterism is most saturated in color. Last but not least, this one-of-a-kind sapphire gemstone is more popular for men’s jewelry (rings and bracelets) than women’s jewelry.
There are several locations in the world where star sapphires are founded and sourced to the gemstone industry. The most significant deposits are located in Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand and Australia. Other producers of these sapphire specimens are Madagascar, Tanzania, Cambodia, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Vietnam, China, Brazil and the United States.
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