History

The World's Largest Sapphire

In 1995, the Millennium Sapphire was discovered in Madagascar, an island nation located off the southeastern coast of Africa. Designated a national treasure, the initial value reported in the local press was between US$90 and US$500 million. The sapphire was the subject of considerable controversy and caused political turmoil that eventually led to the impeachment of the President of Madagascar.

After leaving Madagascar, the sapphire was examined by the Asia Institute of Gemological Sciences (AIGS) in Bangkok, Thailand and was given its certificate of identification. The AIGS staff had some of the first glimpses of the enormous gemstone.

One staff member’s reaction was a stunned look, a pointed finger at the large blue mass, followed by, "Is that sapphire?"

The Gemological Institute of America, as well as prominent international laboratories and gemologists, also certified the Millennium Sapphire as natural sapphire. In August 2001, Guinness World's Records issued a certificate designating the sapphire as the World's largest carved sapphire.

The Original Millennium Sapphire was owned by a consortium lead by Daniel Mckinney. Rather than break the large stone into smaller pieces, McKinney initiated the Millennium Sapphire project, hiring world-renowned artist, Alessio Boschi to design the carving. Months of research and design were poured into the project to bring art, historical accuracy and technical excellence into the finished carving.

 

KEY DATES

1995 – The year that the rough sapphire that became the Millennium Sapphire was discovered

2001 – Guinness World Records proclaims the Millennium Sapphire as the World's largest carved sapphire.

2002 – The Millennium Sapphire at the Oscars

2004 – The Millennium Sapphire at the launching of the Sapphire Princess in Seattle