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World’s Largest Star Sapphire, Purchased For $10, Unveiled

February 5, 1987

PLANO, Texas (AP) _ A potato-size stone that had been purchased for $10 and turned out to be the world’s largest uncut sapphire has been cut and polished, and the owner says he has not made any decision about selling the gem.

The oval, 1,154-carat lavender gem, now the world’s largest star sapphire, was unveiled Wednesday after a cutter spent 67 hours over a 10-day period slicing more than 750 carats from the stone.

″We are not doing anything except to consider all offers and options,″ said Roy Whetstine, who purchased what is now called ″The Star Of America″ in a grab bag at a rock show. ″There’s just not another one in the world this large.″

The stone has been appraised at $2.28 million, but dealers have said it could bring as much as $6 million, said Whetstine spokesman Shelley Katz.

″The rays are very, very straight,″ said gem cutter John Robinson of Plano, who cut and polished the opaque stone that had weighed 1,905.15 carats in the rough.

″The Guiness Book of Records has already contacted us,″ said Whetstine. Even after being cut to the size of a chicken egg and polished, it is larger than any rough sapphire previously found, he said.

The stone’s weight was certified last year by the Gem Trade Laboratory Inc. of Los Angeles and is registered with the Gemological Institute of America.

The world’s second-largest star sapphire is the Star of Queensland, an opaque stone weighing more than 700 carats. Third-ranked is the transparent Star of India, 500 carats cut weight.

Whetstine said he would return the stone to Tucson, Ariz., to try to sell it, but added it would not be an ″overnight″ sale.

Whetstine said he spotted the stone at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. The stone came from an Idaho mine, said Whetstine, who never identified the person who sold it to him.

Whetstine, a 48-year-old former carpet-layer, has set up a trust fund for his children to be funded by the stone’s sale.

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