Sapphires come in every color except red. That’s because red sapphires are actually called–you guessed it–rubies! But we’re not here to discuss the technicalities of sapphires, we’re here to talk about one of the largest and finest rubies the world’s ever seen: the Rosser Reeves Star Ruby.
Weighing in at a whopping 138.72 carats, the Rosser Reeves star ruby is a beautiful testiment to the wonder and magic of nature. Star rubies are rare, and one that weighs 138 carats is even rarer! That’s why massive gemstones like the Rosser Reeves star ruby draw global attention and intrigue.
So, let’s explore the man behind the most notorious ruby in the world, and how this gorgeous gemstone rose to fame. First, a brief explanation of star rubies.
What are Star Rubies?
Star rubies are beautiful gemstones that exhibit an amazing visual effect resemblant of a star across the surface of the stone. This effect is technically called Asterism. Highly desired star rubies exhibit the following characteristics:
- A centered star
- Six sharply defined rays
- The color of the rays are cloudy white
Now it’s easy to see why the Rosser Reeves is so spectacular. Not only does it have the main characteristics of a desired star ruby, but it’s huge!
Who was Rosser Reeves?
Rosser Reeves was an ad man in the 1950s, and at the forefront of television advertising campaigns. While you might not recognize his name, you’ll certainly know his slogans. The famous M&Ms catchphrase, “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand,” was Reeves’ creation! As an ad exec, Reeves penned multiple successfull campaigns and slogans. However, as famous as his writing became, his biggest claim to fame had nothing to do with advertising. Well, not directly, at least.
Reeves became famous for owning a gemstone he attributed most of his career’s success and fortune to: a magnificent scarlet star ruby.
The Origins of the Rosser Reeves Ruby
This famous stone was mined in Sri Lanka, though the original date of when it was sourced is unclear. That said, public records indicate that a gem dealer named Robert Fisher first purchased the massive ruby in 1953 at an auction in London. In its first stages, the ruby was a cool 140 carats!
However, the stone had to be altered and cut because of surface flaws. Additionally, the star wasn’t quite centered. The result was cutting it down to 138.7 carats, which is still considered one of the largest rubies in the world! These alterations created a symmetry and balance that actually improved the look of the star ruby. So, how did Rosser Reeves obtain the ruby?
Well, it’s no secret that the discovery of massive gemstones makes headlines. So, thanks to national news and the awareness raised from esteemed publications, a wave of interest swarmed the star ruby. In the late 1950s, Fisher’s son sold the massive gemstone to ad man Rosser Reeves.
From that moment on, Reeves carried the precious tone with him everywhere, calling it his baby and good luck charm. And interestingly enough, Reeves had a hand in boosting electoral candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower to the heights of the 34th U.S. President. Did luck have anything to do with it? Perhaps not, but having the star ruby by his side certainly didn’t hurt his role in work and politics.
Why Does it Have A Star?
Stars naturally appear on certain gemstones that feature a beautiful effect called Asterism. Asterism is a natural phenomenon that occurs when light hits a gemstone and reflects in the pattern of a star. The star is generally a cloudy or milky color and most often has six rays.
In the case of the Rosser Reeves Star Ruby, the asterism occurs naturally during the gemstone’s formation. Titanium gets trapped inside the developing corundum crystal and forms into tiny needle structures called rutile. When the crystal cools down and forms, the needles split off into three directions creating a star effect.
Star gemstones are not cut in the same way other gemstones are. The proper cut to display the asterism is called cabochon. A cabochon cut is smoothed and rounded to best fascillitate the passage of light through all those titaniam needles inside the stone. What does all this mean?
Basically, thanks to this amazing phenomenon, when you look at the Rosser Reeves you see a magnifiscent star shining across the surface of the gemstone. Perhaps that’s what gave Reeves his amazing success!
Are There Any Other Large Rubies In The World?
While the Rosser Reeves is considered one of the largest star rubies in the world, there are other massive rubies out there we should take a look at. Here are two of the largest rubies in the world:
- The Neelanjali Ruby is the largest ruby in the world with a double star. This beautiful gemstone exhibites asterism on both sides, with a six-rayed star glistening across both surfaces of the stone. Double asterism is extremely rare, especially to appear on such a massive stone. The Neelanjali weighs a gargantuan 1,370 carats!
- The Rajaratna Ruby is regarded as one of the largest rubies in the world, weighing an unbelievable 2,475 carats! While this is a massive ruby, it does not feature asterism like the Rosser Reeves and the Neelanjali.
Where is The Rosser Reeves Star Ruby Now?
Does the Rosser Reeves Star Ruby sound too good to be true? Well, don’t take it from us, you can actually go see the gemstone for yourself. This stunning star ruby is so magnifiscent that Reeves and his wife donated it to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC in 1965. The Ruby has sparkled brightly in its new home all these years, and is now one of the most valued and treasured exhibits in the Institution.
As you can see, large gemstones are extremely rare to come across. The fact that the Rosser Reeves Star Ruby weighs so much, has a beautifully saturated shade of red, and exhibits perfect asterism makes it a truly one-of-a-kind gemstone!