Star sapphires exhibit a specific example of chatoyancy (reflections of light from mineral inclusions) known as asterism. A common cause of chatoyancy is the presence of the mineral rutile, a titanium oxide. As the corundum crystal grows, it incorporates titanium atoms, which then begin to bond with oxygen atoms within the crystal to create needlelike inclusions of rutile. The rutile inclusions then orient themselves into three bands lying horizontally at 120 degrees to each other, thus creating a star effect when light reflects off of them. A major source of star sapphires is Sri Lanka.
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