Famous Gems: The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby

Famous Gems and Beaded Jewelry: The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby
The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby
Image: Smithsonian
The Rosser Reeves Ruby is one of the world's largest star rubies at a whopping 138.7-carats! This famous ruby originated in Sri Lanka and was actually 140-carats when it first reached London and remained with an anonymous buyer until the early 1950s.

It wasn't until 1953 when Robert Fisher of New York purchased the heavily scratched star ruby. Fisher had the stone restored to its original beauty, however, a few carats were sacrificed in the cutting/repolishing process.

But, even at 138.7-carats the Rosser Reeves Ruby still places amongst the largest star rubies in the world. The next largest red star ruby is the 100.32-carat DeLong Star Ruby.

Rosser Reeves purchased the star ruby in the late 1950s, but did not have the ruby set in beaded jewelry. Rather, he liked the stone so much he carried it around with him everywhere under the belief that it was a lucky stone and even referred to it as his 'baby'. Typically, it is believed your birthstone is a lucky stone for you, so it was interesting that Reeves, born in September, carried this July birthstone around instead.

The Rosser Reeves Ruby is renowned for its excellent color and well defined, six-rayed asterism (star pattern). The star forms naturally when titanium atoms are trapped within the growing corundum crystal. As the crystal cools, the titanium forms minute needle-like crystals of rutile mineral, which position themselves in three directions within the stone.

As is the case with the Rosser Reeves Ruby, the stone was properly cut (or rather, re-cut), as to have the star centered. When the star is centered properly in these rare stones, the light enters and reflects off the three sets of needles to produce the six-ray star pattern (as seen in the image above).

The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby was never placed in a beaded jewelry setting and fifteen years later in 1965, Reeves donated the stone to the Smithsonian Institute, where it resides today.

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