This sapphire is notable not just for its size, but its hue. The Bismark Sapphire displays a highly saturated blue of medium shading, like the afternoon sky fading into twilight. It is one of the fine quality sapphires that its country of origin, Burma, is noted for. The jewel’s 98.57 carats add to its rare yet enviable features.
In 1926, the jewel was purchased by its namesake, socialite Countess Mona von Bismarck. Cartier updated the sapphire in 1935 by setting the stone into an Art Deco style platinum and diamond necklace. The Countess enjoyed the gem in this state until 1967, when she donated the necklace to the Smithsonian Institute.
The Logan Sapphire
Originally from Sri Lanka, the Logan Sapphire is one of the largest known faceted sapphires in the world. This jewel weighs 423 carats and is about the size of an egg and possesses a medium evening blue shade with very few inclusions to cloud its appearance. According to a 1997 assessment by the Gemological Institute of America, the stone’s hue is completely natural, with no evidence of treatment.
The Logan Sapphire is shaped into a cushion cut and is currently mounted on a brooch of white metal, surrounded by 20 round brilliant diamonds. This jewel is named for one of its owners, Mrs. Polly Logan, who donated her gemstone to the National Museum of Natural History in 1960. At 84.6 grams, it is the heaviest gem of the museum.
The Star of Bombay
This sapphire has star power in more ways than one. One of the beauties of Sri Lanka, it measures 182 carats, or 36.4 grams. The violet-blue jewel contains a series of large inclusions that intersect to form a six pointed star. Its cabochon cut highlights the asterisk effect.
The Star of Bombay’s most famous owner is the silent movie star, Mary Pickford. Her husband Douglas Fairbanks purchased the stone jeweler Trabert & Hoeffer, Inc. and commissioned the store to set it in a platinum ring as a gift to his wife. In the 1970s, Ms. Pickford bequeathed her estate, including her jewels, to philanthropic film and educational causes. The ring containing the Star of Bombay was singled out for donation to the Smithsonian Museum.
The Star of India
The Star of India, despite its name, hails from Sri Lanka. Weighing in at 112.67 grams, or 563.35 carats, it’s one of the world’s largest star sapphires. At the behest of financier J.P. Morgan, noted jewel expert George Kunz acquired this and other gemstones for the 1900 Paris Exposition. After the event, the sapphire was donated to the American Museum of Natural History.
On October 29, 1964, the Star of India fell victim to a jewel heist. After the museum closed for the night, three men snuck in through a window and absconded with twenty two stones beyond price. The Star of India remained unaccounted for until January 1965, when it was recovered from a Miami bus station.