Gems: From Rocks to Riches

From Rocks to Riches

Texas Gemmologist Roy Whetstine discovered the egg-size violet-and-blue rock in a Tupperware bin at an annual gem-and-mineral bazaar in Tucson last February. The amateur who had found the stone wanted $15 for it but readily sold it to the Texan for $10. Said Whetstine: "I was used to handling rocks and saying 'Yeah, that's a keeper' or 'That's no good.' " This one was a keeper.

After months of appraisal, Whetstine last week went public with his treasure: a 1,905-carat star sapphire with an estimated uncut value of $2.28 million. Said he: "I'm astounded that this one pebble out of God's...

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