City of gems

Unusual bracelet with pink star sapphires and diamonds, Sri Lanka circa 1940

The island of Ceylon, which was only renamed Sri Lanka in 1972, is home to some of the most famous and productive gemstone sites on the planet. The island is located southeast of the Indian subcontinent in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Ceylon is considered to be the oldest mining area for these precious gems, and contemporary reports indicate that Ceylon's sapphires were set into jewelry by Greeks and Romans as far back as classical antiquity. Even King Solomon is said to have wooed the legendary Queen of Sheba with sapphires from the area around Rathnapura, which means "City of Gems" in Sinhalese. The present bracelet comes from this legendary island. Handcrafted in the years around 1940, this intricate piece of jewelry presents 21 cabochon-cut pink star sapphires. The coloured stones are accompanied by a total of 30 old-cut diamonds weighing more than 3.80 ct in total. It should be emphasized that the star sapphires are natural, untreated stones whose color and structure have not been improved by firing. The stones show a gentle, natural asterism, i.e. a star that wanders across the surfaces of the stones when the light falls on them (See: Learn more!). The bracelet is made of a site-specific low gold alloy and silver, decorated with fine engravings on the sides. The bracelet wraps around the wrist like a hoop, where it delights with its unusual play of color. A detailed appraisal has confirmed the quality of the materials.

Asterism (from Greek ἀστήρ (aster) = "star"), also called light star or star shine, is understood in mineralogy and gemmology to be star-shaped light reflections in crystals. The special light reflections are produced by fine crystal fibers or needles, which are embedded in the respective host crystal and meet in an ideal distribution in one point. The more evenly the needles are arranged, the more harmonious and beautiful the light star appears. Depending on the crystal system and class of the mineral in question, 4-, 6-, 12- and 24-rayed stars occur. In the case of rose quartz, circular asterism can also occur. Asterism is preferentially seen in sapphire and ruby, the varieties "star sapphire" and "star ruby" have therefore also been named after this effect. The asterism is particularly emphasized by the corresponding cut (cabochon cut).

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You can rely on our years of experience in the trade and our expertise as a professional art historians for reviews of the antique jewellery. As a member of various trader organisations and the British Society of Jewellery Historians, we remain committed to the highest possible degree of accuracy. In our descriptions, we always also indicate any signs of age and defects and never hide them in our photos – this saves you from any unpleasant surprises when your package arrives.

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We want you to be 100% satisfied! That’s why we examine, describe and photograph all our jewellery with the utmost care.

If for any reason you are still not satisfied, contact us and we will find a mutual solution immediately. Regardless, you can return any item within 30 days and we will refund you the full purchase price.

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