A Family Is Shocked To Learn That Their Doorstop Is Worth Millions

You've heard the saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure."

This is true. And apparently, one man's doorstop could potentially be a treasure, too. One family discovered that the rock they'd been kicking around to keep the front door from swinging closed was actually a valuable gemstone. The jeweler who bought it from them discovered it had more value than he even thought, and now it's a priceless piece of jewelry.

It all started back in the 1930's. A little Australian boy named Roy Spencer was playing in a field near Queensland and he found an unusual-looking rock. He brought it home with him and showed it to his father, Harry Spencer.

Mr. Spencer was a miner. He thought the rock was just a run-of-the-mill crystal. Little Roy lost interest and somewhere along the line, the family began using the rock as a doorstop. It remained on the floor being kicked around for over nine years.

That's when Spencer came across some new and interesting information: sapphires, known for their deep, striking blue color, are apparently not always blue. There is such a thing as black sapphires, though they're extremely rare. Spencer looked down at the rock propping his door open and wondered if it could possibly be a black sapphire.

Spencer found a jeweler named Harry Kazanjian who was interested in the mineral. Kazanjian, a jeweler from Los Angeles, California, offered to buy the rock for $18,000. It was 1947, so that was quite a tidy sum of money.

Kazanjian had an inkling that the black sapphire he bought might actually be a "star sapphire", making it rare even among the rare stones. Star sapphires have an underlying crystal structure that intersects the gem, causing a six-pointed starburst-shaped pattern when properly cut.

Kazanjian cut the gem almost in half and was excited to find he was right - there was a star pattern inside. Overnight, the sapphire went from being worth thousands to being worth over a million.

It didn't end there, though. The "Black Star of Queensland" was set in a gorgeous necklace. The 733-karat black star sapphire was surrounded by 100 karats in diamonds. The piece is worth a whopping $80 million. It's changed hands over the years and appeared in many museum exhibits around the world. It made its television debut in the 1970s when Cher wore it for the premier of the "Sonny and Cher" show.

Harry's nephew Michael Kazanjian had taken over the family business by then. He got a call from Cher's manager, who asked, "Can you put a few million dollars of jewelry on Cher?”

Cher and then-husband Sonny Bono were slated to film the first episode of their new variety show, and they wanted her to be decked out for a skit. In the skit, Sony would sing the song "Close to You" to his wife, but security guards kept jumping in the way to prevent him from getting near Cher in her expensive jewelry.

Kazanjian and a dozen police officers showed up to the film studio with the gem and nervously watched when it was placed on Cher's neck. When Cher started dancing, one report says, “Michael jumped up on stage and stopped the take, fearing the stone would drop and shatter.”

The skit did air, but that was the last time anyone got to wear the Black Star of Queensland.

Source: AWM
Photo: AWM

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