Star of India (gem)

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The article is about the gem known as "Star of India". For other items of the same name, please see disambiguation at Star of India.

The Star of India is a 563.35 carat (112.67 g) star sapphire, probably the largest such gem in the world. It is almost flawless and unusual in that it has stars on both sides of the stone. The gem was mined in Sri Lanka, is a greyish blue, and currently resides in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

In 1900, wealthy financier J.P. Morgan donated Star of India to the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West in Manhattan. On October 29, 1964, the famous golf-ball-sized stone was stolen, along with several other stones including the Eagle Diamond and the de Long Ruby. The thieves unlocked a bathroom window during museum open hours, climbed in that night, found that the sapphire was the only gem in the collection protected by an alarm -- and the battery for that was dead. So they raked up the stones, and fled the same way they came in. The stones were valued at more than $400,000. Within two days, the notorious cat burglar, smuggler, and one-time surfing champion Jack "Murph the Surf" Murphy was arrested along with two accomplices, later receiving a three-year sentence. The uninsured Star of India was recovered in a locker in a Miami bus station. While most of the other gems were also found, the Eagle Diamond was never seen again.

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