Mary Pickford and the Star Sapphire

While at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum recently, I visited the gems and minerals hall to see the Hope diamond. I was surprised to see the nearby exhibit of the Star of Bombay, an enormous blue star sapphire that was given to Mary Pickford by her husband, Douglas Fairbanks. Mary donated it to the Smithsonian in 1981. (She died in 1979 at the age of 87.) The gem was discovered in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), so why isn’t it called the Star of Ceylon?

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