What are Star Rubies?
Star Rubies are a rare variety of the gemstone Ruby. These magnificent gems display a sharp six-rayed star which seems to glide and shimmer magically
across the surface of the gem when the latter is moved. This is caused due to an optical phenomenon known as “Asterism“. The star is best visible when the star ruby is seen in a single light source such as sunlight and spotlight.
What causes the Star-Effect?
Star-effect or “asterism” is caused by the dense inclusions of tiny fibers of rutile (also known as “silk“). The stars are caused by the light reflecting from needle-like https://www.claxy.com/t/farmhouse-pendant-lights/ inclusions of rutile aligned perpendicular to the rays of the star. However, since rutile is always present in star rubies, they are never completely transparent. Infact, star ruby is one of those few gemstones which actually requires inclusions (i.e. rutile).
Are Star Rubies rare?
Today, out of every 100 rough corundum (ruby and sapphire) mined; only three will have stars apparent after being cut into cabochons. Out of these three, one will have a poor color but a good star, one will have a poor star but a good color. Only one out of hundred will have both a good star and a good color!
Most original sources of star rubies such as Mogok (Burma) have run out of supplies. Worldwide production today is yielding a very small quantity of fine stars (especially in sizes above 5 carats). Star rubies are becoming rare as most rough today is cut into faceted stones after heating instead of being cut into cabochons to display the star.
Star Ruby Myths and Legends:
Traditionally, star rubies were worn by knights in the battlefields to protect themselves from the enemy. Local tales in Karnataka (India) say that if it is worn as a visible pendant or as a headgear then anyone who faces you as an enemy looses half his valour. The power of star ruby is said to be the highest during full moon.
Star Ruby is said to pep up internal strength, ward off tensions, distress the mind and drive away stress related problems like migraine, insomnia, and hysteria. The healing powers of gemstones remain a controversial issue, but are mentioned since ages by healers, shamans and medicine men. Whether it’s a fact or a placebo effect doesn’t matter, if it helps.
Famous Star Rubies:
The Delong Star Ruby resides in the Natural History Museum in New York City. It weighs 100.32 carats. Discovered in Burma during the early part of the twentieth century, it was sold by Martin Ehrmann to Edith Haggin DeLong, who donated it to the museum. In 1964 the Delong Star Ruby was the object of an infamous burglary, carried out by Jack Murphy, known as Murph the Surf, and two other men. It was then ransomed and recovered. The Delong Star was found at a designated drop off site – a phone booth in Florida.
The Rosser Reeves Ruby is one of the world’s largest and finest star rubies. Weighing 138.7 carats, it is not only clearer and more translucent that the Delong Star, but also possesses a sharp six-rayed star. This Sri Lankan stone is renowned for its great color and well-defined star pattern. Advertising mogul Rosser Reeves, who donated the piece to the Smithsonian in 1965, carried it around as a lucky stone, referring to it as his baby. He often stated that he had acquired the stone at an auction in Istanbul in the mid-1950s. He actually bought the stone from Robert C. Nelson Jr. of New York who was acting on behalf of Firestone & Parson of Boston. Firestone & Parson were selling the stone for Mr. Paul Fisher of New York. Mr. Robert Fisher, Paul’s father, had bought the ruby at an auction in London in 1953. At the time the ruby then weighed just over 140 carats, but was very heavily scratched, and a few carats were removed in the repolishing. The repolishing also helped to center the stone’s star. Articles in the New York World-Telegram and The Sun in 1953 mentioned this fabulous gemstone.