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Star Gemstones

What is a Star Gemstone?

Star or, more properly, asterism, is a term used for gemstones which display a star-like shape that can appear to float across their surface. Typically the star will have 4 or 6 rays but on very rare occasions 12 rays can be seen.

The most famous Star Gemstones are rubies and sapphires but asterism may also be exhibited by a number of other gemstones, such as moonstone, lemon and rose quartz, garnet and diopside.

In most cases, the 'star effect' is the result of tiny inclusions of the mineral rutile within the gemstone which are aligned in parallel lines. With great skill, cutters have to turn the gemstones to just the right angle before shaping and polishing to ensure they have a clear and distinct star.

What shape are Star Gemstones?

To display the star effect at its most impressive, most Star Gemstones are cut into cabochons - flat bottoms with smooth domed tops - not faceted. These cabochons tend to be round or oval but very rarely come in pear or rectangular shapes.

What are the spiritual benefits of Star Gemstone?

With their other worldly appearance, it is no wonder that Star Gemstones were quickly given mystical powers in the ancient world.

In India, a Star Ruby would be worn into battle by warriors for protection and it was believed that any opponent who saw the gemstone would lose half his bravery.

It has also been a long held belief that Star Gemstones could ward off the malevolence and misfortune brought about by the Evil Eye.

The three lines that create the 6 rayed Star Gemstones are supposed to symbolize trust, hope and destiny.

Each gemstone type - ruby, sapphire, garnet and so on - has its own strengths and spiritual influences but these powers are magnified and intensified by the Star.

See our detailed article on gemstone meaning and uses

What color are Star Gemstones?

Generally the ideal color of a Star Gemstone should be close to that of a normal specimen of the gem type. So, for example, a star sapphire should be blue, a star ruby should be red and a star rose quartz should be pink.

Of course, there will be variations - star sapphires can be found in yellow and golden colors, star rubies range from pink to purple and the presence of the rutile needed to create the star effect will naturally weaken the color of all star gemstones.

Read more about gemstones colors here

How much are Star Gemstones?

Usually gemstones are priced according to the 4 Cs - color, clarity, cut and carat weight - and the gem type. Star gemstones are no different but have a couple of extra elements that add or subtract value.

As an example, in most cases, rare star sapphires will be more expensive than relatively common star moonstones. Star Quartz and Star Garnets are both very reasonably priced gemstones.

Once you have established which gem type to choose there are a few factors to consider when pricing the gemstone:

  • Color - a vivid, even color is preferred - similar to typical gem type color.
  • Clarity - the rutile inclusions mean that Star Gemstones will be semi-transparent or translucent at best.
  • Cut - Star gemstones tend to be oval or round cabochons in order to show off the star effect.
  • Carat - All other factors being equal, the larger the carat weight the more valuable the gemstone.
  • Star - the star itself should be sharp and distinct, centered at the top of the stone, and easily visible from all angles and from a fair distance. The rays, whether 4, 6 or 12, should be straight, unbroken and the same width and length. The star should also have a good contrast against the colored background. Finally the star should have a smooth and graceful movement across the face of the gemstone as it is turned from side to side.

Are there any famous Star Gemstones?

Yes, some of the most famous and infamous gemstones in history have been Star Gemstones:

  • The Neelanjali Star Ruby - A 12 point double star weighing 1370 carats.
  • Black Star of Queensland - world's largest gem-quality star sapphire, it weighs 733 carats.
  • The Star of Asia - A famous milky blue 330 carat Burmese sapphire beauty.
  • The Midnight Star Sapphire - a 116 carat deep purple Sri Lankan sapphire.
  • The Star of India - A flawless 563 carat blue star sapphire with a star on both sides.

What jewelry are Star Gemstones suitable for?

Large single star gemstones can be ideal for pendants and radiate both alluring and mystical qualities. Slightly smaller star gemstones can make great rings with a very popular retro look.

Although many Star Gemstones have unique looks, it is possible to find some examples as pairs and in lots, so earrings, multi-stone jewelry items as well as side stones and accent stones become options.

Gemstones can vary in hardness and durability. Some Star Gemstones such as rubies and sapphires are very tough and can be used for all types of jewelry, others such as garnet and quartz are a little softer but still sturdy enough for daily use.

As a guideline gemstones of a Mohs Hardness rating of above 7 are considered durable.

For more information see our article here.

Star Gemstone History

Star Gemstones have a long and varied history full of myth and legend.

Owner of the 'face that launched a 1000 ships', renowned beauty Helen of Troy supposedly owed her desirability to the large star sapphire she wore. Dozens of princes fought for her hand before she married King Menelaus of Sparta. Then she ran away with Paris and began the ten year Trojan Wars.

Wise King Soloman had a magical ring which was described as blue sapphire with a 6 pointed star of David engraved on it that allowed him to speak to animals and banish demons. Sounds like it could have been a Star Sapphire.

In the 'jewel heist of the century', the Star of India and the Midnight Star Sapphire were among the gemstones stolen back in 1964 valued at the time at $400,000 (much more now). Luckily most of the stones were recovered.

Read more about the famous heist here.

Star Gemstone Treatments

A common way to enhance the appearance of gemstones is through heat treatment as this can improve both the color and the clarity. With Star Gemstones it can be a little tricky to improve the color with heat and not destroy the inclusions that create the star effect.

For this reason most Star Gemstones are not treated.

Some star sapphires and star rubies are fracture filled which repairs minor cracks and fissures common in these gemstones. This is a permanent and accepted treatment.

Synthetic Star Gemstones exist although GemSelect never buys or sells them. Look out for any gemstones that look 'too perfect' and purchase your stone from a reputable dealer.

Any treatments our gemstones receive will be fully and clearly disclosed.

Star Gemstone Product Uses

Star gemstones can be used in just the same way as all gemstones - for jewelry items, spiritual crystal healing, to decorate the home or office or to expand a collection.

Over 16 Years in the Gemstone Business!

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This web site is like heaven lol. I am a rock hound and I am a Christian and we represent rocks in our lives. The Diamond is has to be heated a lot and we are all jewels of God. I have a lot of rocks at home. My Husband gives the eye roll when i show him more rocks lol Uh life is good lol. ha ha

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