Famous Gems

Q & A

What are some Famous Blue Sapphires?
-The Smithsonian Institute has the 423 carat, blue Logan Sapphire from Sri Lanka.
-Elizabeth Taylor owns a 20 carat sapphire engagement ring.
-One of the most famous blue sapphires of modern times is the gem that Prince Charles gave to Lady Diana for their engagement.

What are some recent large sapphires?
In March 1998, a 170 carat sapphire and diamond necklace sold for US$2.2 million during a fundraising auction held in Beverly Hills in honor of Princess Diana. The pear-shaped sapphire, described as a "marine blue gem", was set in platinum and surrounded by 36 carats of diamonds. The piece was modeled after the necklace "Le Coeur de la Mer" or "Heart of the Ocean" as seen in the movie Titanic.
Another exceptional large sapphire to reach the market in recent years was a 150.467 carat octagonal cut gem of deep blue color and exceptional clarity. It was set surrounded by diamonds and sold at auction in Geneva in November, 1995 for US$3 million.

What are some historic large sapphires?
There are many references to fine quality large sapphires going back several centuries. The Stuart Sapphire (104 carats) dates back to 1214. This fine blue, but flawed, gem passed through the hands of several kings and cardinals before being mounted in Queen Victoria's State Crown. Eventually replaced by the Star of Africa Diamond, the Stuart Sapphire now rests on the back side of the British Imperial State Crown. It is currently on public display as part of the British Crown Jewels collection at the Tower of London.
In the London Great Exhibition of 1862, a sapphire weighing 260.37 carats was purchased by the Russian Emperor Alexander II and presented to his wife Empress Maria Alexandrovna. This rare treasure was described as "unique... for its combination of size, color, clarity and extraordinary cut". Today, this magnificent piece of history is owned by the State Diamond Fund of the Russian Federation, where it is proudly shown at their museum in Gokhran, Russia.
Other historic sapphires over the 100 carat mark include:
-Catherine the Great's Sapphire weighing an impressive 337.10 carats;
-Ruspoliz's Sapphire, also known as the Wooden Spoon Seller's Sapphire or Great Sapphire of Louis XIV, 135.8 carats;
-and Three gems in the J.P. Morgan collection that weigh 188, 158 and 153 carats.
Several of the world's famous museums own fine quality sapphires over the 100 carat mark, but many of them are cabochon cut star sapphires as opposed to faceted gems. Between the Smithsonian Institute and New York's American Museum of Natural History, there are five giant star sapphires ranging from 116 carats up to the 563 carat Star of India, which is thought to originate from Sri Lanka.

Great Sapphire of the Karlsruhe Museum
24mm dia; engraved with the head of Zeus
Source Unknown
3rd Century AD
Kalsruhe Museum, Germany Duchamp, 1994
The Link
53,085.375 ct carving (23 lb. 6.5 oz)
Unknown United States Guinness World Records Ltd., 2000
Ring of St Louis 15th Century Karlsruhe, Germany Duchamp, 1994
Hercules Unknown Karlsruhe, Germany Duchamp, 1994
Le Sceau de France Unknown Karlsruhe, Germany Duchamp, 1994
Crucifixion Sapphire
20 x 16 mm ; cameo
Unknown Kunsthistoriches Museum Duchamp, 1994
Seal of Alaric Sapphire
20.6 x 16.7 mm; engraved (Alaricus Rex Gothorium)
Unknown Vienna Museum Austria Duchamp, 1994
Sapphire Ring of the Vienna Museum
Ring carved from a single piece of sapphire; externalk diameter = 24 mm (internal = 13mm)
Unknown Vienna Museum Austria Duchamp, 1994
Pertinax Sapphire
Octagonal intaglio of the Roman emporer Pertinax (126-193AD) measures 5.5 x 7 x 5.5 mm
16th century? National Library Paris France Duchamp, 1994
Sapphire intaglio; engraved with the face of Helios; from the Baron Roger de Sivry collection
18th century? Unknown Duchamp, 1994
15ct; perfect blue; carved; one side shows leaves radiating from a central stem; thought to have come from India
Unknown Unknown Duchamp, 1994
Image of Buddha carved in blue sapphire; mounted on a gold pin
Unknown British Museum of Natural History Aziz, 1942
Engraved sapphire showing woman dressed in a drapery; the gems color zoning was used to great effect; with one color used for the head, the other for the drapery
Unknown Formerly in the Russian Crown Jewels, current location Unknown Anonymous, 1952a
Head of the Roman Emporer Caracalla (188-217AD)
Engraved Sapphire
Unknown Unknown Anonymous, 1952a
Seal of Constantine II
50ct engraved sapphire
Unknown Unknown Anonymous, 1952a
Portrait of Empress Marie-Theresa
Engraved sapphire; fine quality; by Carlos Costanzi
Engraving done in 1705 Unknown Anonymous, 1952a
Sapphire Intaglio
Made by Jaques Gay upon the discovery of the Dauphin in 1752
1752 Unknown Anonymous, 1952a
Royal Sapphire of Burma
375ct; carved blue sapphire; elongated oval; engraved on one side with petals suggesting a lotus bud, on the other with three concentric circles of lotus, suggestive of a Buddist emblem; drilled with three tiny holes (probably for suspensions as an amulet); sold at Christies in Geneva, 19th Nov 1970 (Lot 314) for SF310,000; formerly in Nizam of Hyderabad collection
Date Unknown
Unknown Christie et al, 1979
Kazanjian Sapphire Carvings
- Abraham Lincoln; 2302ct rough; 1318ct carved
- George Washington; 1997ct rough; 1056ct carved
- Thomas Jefferson; 1743ct rough; 1381ct carved
- Dwight Eisenhower; 2097ct rough; 1444ct carved
- Martin Luther King Jr; 4180ct rough; 3294ct carved
- Madonna of the Star; 1100ct rough; 545ct carved
Reward Claim
Anakie, Australia
Commissioned by the Kazanijians
Kazanijian Foundation of California Anonymous, 1952a
Norwood, 1968
Monteagle, 1979


The Logan Sapphire