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Star of India (gem)
The Star of India is a 563.35 carat (112.67 g) star sapphire, probably the largest such gem in the world. It is almost flawless and unusual in that it has stars on both sides of the stone. The greyish blue gem was mined in Sri Lanka and is now kept in the United States, where it currently resides in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Additional recommended knowledge
The milky quality of the stone is caused by the traces of the mineral rutile in the Star of India. This also makes the star effect also known as the effect of asterism. The tiny fibers of the mineral, aligned in a three-fold pattern within the gem, reflect incoming light into the star pattern.
In 1900, wealthy financier J.P. Morgan donated Star of India to the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West in Manhattan. On October 29 1964, the famous golf-ball-sized stone was stolen, along with several other stones including the Eagle Diamond and the de Long Ruby. The thieves unlocked a bathroom window during museum open hours, climbed in that night, found that the sapphire was the only gem in the collection protected by an alarm — and the battery for that was dead. So they raked up the stones, and fled the same way they came in. The stones were valued at more than $400,000. Within two days, the notorious cat burglar, smuggler, and one-time surfing champion, Jack Murphy (also known as Murph the Surf), was arrested along with two accomplices, later receiving a three-year sentence. Some months later, the uninsured Star of India was recovered in a locker in a Miami bus station. While most of the other gems were also found, the Eagle Diamond was never seen again.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Star_of_India_(gem)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|