Hollywood and Star Sapphires
By Arthur Anderson
| Some exceptional sapphires and rubies display
a six-ray star, a phenomenon known to gemstone
connoisseurs as "asterism." This star-like effect is
created by thousands of needle-like inclusions crisscrossing the
crystalline structure of the gem. Star sapphires and
rubies are usually cut as polished domes ( en cabochon
) to showcase the star-like effect.
Star sapphires were a great favorite among the movie stars of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Silent-film actress Mary Pickford treasured a 182-carat star sapphire, the Star of Bombay, given to her by her husband Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. She later donated this beautiful blue-violet gem to the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History.
Joan Crawford’s engagement ring, from husband number two of five, featured a 70-carat star sapphire. Incidentally, husband number two was Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Clearly the Fairbanks men knew the alluring power of a star sapphire. To complement her betrothal bauble, the star of "Grand Hotel" favored a bracelet set with three equally stunning star sapphires each weighing 73 carats, 64 carats and 58 carats. Clearly she felt these gemstones had "Star Quality!"
On the other hand, Jean Harlow was less fortunate. In 1936, leading man William Powell proposed to her with a beautiful, but traditional, diamond ring. Harlow accepted the proposal, but refused the ring. The platinum blond actress felt a large star sapphire would better fit her glamorous life style. Powell, no doubt chagrinned that his first ring was rejected, acquiesced and purchased a large star sapphire, but one of lower quality. This time the ring was accepted and Harlow proudly displayed the bauble in her final film, Saratoga. Tragically, she died several months later at the age of 26.
In the tradition of the beautiful Star Sapphire rings of the 1920s and 1930s,
we have created a number of rings featuring this stellar gemstone.
You will find additional star sapphire rings and inspiring designs
in our Star Sapphire Design Gallery.
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