It’s been a long time since I wore a watch regularly but back when I did I’d have to take it in and get the battery replaced every six months or so. And while there are some chain places that are closer to me that offer watch battery replacement I’d always go the extra distance to go to a small independent jeweler. I’d do this for two reasons: one, the people who work at those chain places aren’t always that well trained at replacing watch batteries and I’ve seen them damage watches, and, two, the independent jeweler was actually cheaper.
Well, there was also a third reason. I really dig gemstones. I mean I like them. I’ve dabbled in rock collecting, including earning my geology merit badge as a Boy Scout, but there’s something really fascinating about cut stones. The skill of lapidary is just amazing to me, and while there are more valuable stones there aren’t any that I find more extraordinary than star sapphires. I’m kind of running out of superlatives here because I just can’t put into words how amazing it is that the “star” at the heart of a star sapphire, known as an asterism, moves as you move back and forth while looking at it. It’s not an illusion but it does seem unreal.
I thought about that when I read about some workmen in Sri Lanka who turned up a massive cluster of star sapphires, estimated to be worth up to one-hundred million dollars, in the backyard of a guy who was able to identify it on the spot because he just happened to be a gem trader.
What are the odds of something like that happening? Well, pretty good, it turns out. Sri Lanka is known for being a major exporter of sapphires and other gems, and Ratnapura, where the sapphire cluster was found, is one of the island’s most gem-rich areas. The world’s largest star sapphire, known as “The Star Of Adam”, which weighs a whopping 1404.49 carats–that’s almost ten ounces– was found there in 2016.
It’s still an amazing find, and I bet the guy whose yard it was found in really digs it.