The Star in the Sapphire

Ever wondered how star sapphires get their stars? It's created by an optic feat called asterism, from the Latin astrum meaning star. For a star sapphire to appear, the stone must have spindly, needle-like inclusions of a mineral called rutile that grow and intersect each other within corundum, the mineral we know as sapphire and ruby (yes, star rubies are also possible!)

To cut a perfect star is no easy feat. After determining that a star is even possible, due to a sheen on the rough gemstone, a lapidary must find the gemstone’s optic axis, and then begin to fashion the stone into a rounded cabochon shape. High quality star sapphires are cut to center the stone’s asterism as perfectly as possible in the middle of the cabochon, and keep the points of the star of similar length. The higher the dome of the cabochon, the less the star will ‘move’ under a light source or when rotating the gemstone at different angles.

Snug in a platinum, diamond accented mounting, our Art Deco star sapphire ring was most likely designed for the stone set into it. The underside of the cabochon is rough and uneven to keep the rutile inclusions needed for a lovely, strongly visible star.

And, for a little gemstone bling, take a look at some of the most famous star sapphires, one of which is on display here in New York!:

The Star of India, which lives in New York's American Museum of Natural History, is 563 cts.

The Star of India, which lives in New York's American Museum of Natural History, is 563 cts.

The Black Star of Queensland, no longer on public display, is 733 cts.

The Black Star of Queensland, no longer on public display, is 733 cts.

The Star of Asia, currently housed in the Smithsonian, is 330 cts.

The Star of Asia, currently housed in the Smithsonian, is 330 cts.

French Art Nouveau 18k and Star Sapphire Serpent Scarf Ring

Back in August when we gave a talk at the Brooklyn Brainery, some audience members ended up starting a long discussion about how brooches and pins needed to make a comeback. We couldn’t agree more! So many fabulous antique jewels languish away in cases, just waiting for somebody bold enough to bring back the brooch. So, to that end, say hello to our Art Nouveau scarf ring! 

18k yellow gold and star sapphire scarf ring.  French marks, c.1900. For sale at Gray & Davis. 

18k yellow gold and star sapphire scarf ring.  French marks, c.1900. For sale at Gray & Davis. 

A sculptural 18k yellow gold serpent coils around itself and sports a purple star sapphire on its forehead in this delightfully specific piece from the turn of the twentieth century. French marks, c. 1900

What is a scarf ring, you may ask? It is exactly what it sounds like: a large, decorative ring that holds a scarf in place. 

Our serpent scarf ring has a sturdy spring action pin that still functions perfectly. 

Though scarf rings are not as commonplace an accessory as they were in the early 1900s, Hermes still produces a number of styles. 

So, we challenge you to go beyond the world of ring-bracelet-necklace-earring (even though they are great). Accepting odd and forgotten forms of antique jewels into your repetoire will open up a whole new world of accessorizing capabilities. 

Happy Birthday to Lucille Ball!

Lucille Ball, television pioneer and lover of fabulous jewelry would have turned 103 today.

All decked out in pearls, c.1950.

All decked out in pearls, c.1950.

Back in 2007, Christie's auctioned off several pieces of jewelry from Ms. Ball's estate. Our favorite was this stunning star sapphire and diamond ring:

From Christie's:  Set with a cabochon star sapphire within a two-tiered marquise-cut diamond surround, mounted in platinum,

From Christie's: Set with a cabochon star sapphire within a two-tiered marquise-cut diamond surround, mounted in platinum,

The ring ended up selling for a whopping $34,000, more than double the high pre-sale estimate.

Cheers to a lady who kept it classy while keeping her sense of humor!