Sapphires of the Stars
By Judith Anderson
A beautiful star sapphire set with diamonds
in a custom platinum ring.
I love gemstones with unique personalities, gems that have a special talent or distinctive feature that makes them stand out from the crowd. It could be a rare color shift of a color-change gem, the horse tail inclusion in a demantoid garnet, or the exceptional faceting of a beautifully cut diamond. One of my favorites among these intriguing gemstones are star sapphires which, when well-cut, display a bright six-ray star.
Star Power - Carole Lombard's eyes sparkle
almost as much as her star sapphires!
These rare sapphires where once the treasured jewels of Indian Maharajahs and Hollywood movie stars. Celebrities and socialites of the Art Deco era often glittered with bracelets, brooches and rings set with these starry gems. Among them Gloria Swanson, Carole Lombard and Joan Crawford often wore their prized jewels on the silver screen. The next time you watch a classic movie ("My Man Godfrey" or "Personal Property" are good choices) check out the elegant actresses and the gorgeous jewels they wore. These were often personal jewelry, prized signature pieces treasured by the stars who wore them. Apparently there was even a bit of competition among the major stars as to who owned the brightest bauble and the largest star sapphire.
A stunning line-up of star and cat's eye sapphires I assembled
for a client wanting a custom created ring.
What causes this fascinating optical effect in these sapphires? The star-like appearance is created by light reflecting off thin needle-like inclusions trapped within the crystalline structure of the sapphire. This heavenly phenomenon known as "asterism" gains its name from the classical Greek word "aster" meaning star. As you have probably guessed, the lovely starry petaled flowers that brighten the New England autumn landscape, purple and white asters, take their name from the same ancient root.
Over the years I have been lucky to create a variety of striking rings and other jewelry set with star sapphires. Each project began with a beautiful gemstone, an imaginative design and a client who wanted to create a special piece. Here are a few examples ...
Maybe a beautiful jewel set with a star sapphire is in the stars for you! I hope my designs and the beautiful gemstones I have been lucky to work with have inspired you. You will find additional star sapphire rings and inspiring design ideas in the Star Sapphire Gallery.
I am always happy to chat about beautiful gems and new custom design projects. After all, I love custom creating jewelry with phenomenal gemstones! I can be reached me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (603) 624-8672.
Plum Star Sapphire
Star sapphires are the most popular examples of asterism. The gems contain myriad bundles of needle-like rutile inclusions intersecting at 120 degrees within the same plane. When light is reflected by the sapphire and its rutile needles a six-ray star results. This is logical since there are three equal axes intersecting at equal angles in the trigonal crystal system of which sapphire is a distinctive member.
Some gemologists and jewelers refer to these rutile needles as silk. The more intersecting needles or silk the stronger the star effect. However, the gem must be properly oriented and cut en cabochon (a polished dome) rather than faceted to exemplify and concentrate the star effect to its best display.
Star sapphires are wonderful, elegant gemstones that work well in a variety of ring and jewelry designs. To inquire about custom creating a star sapphire ring,
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