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To a Texas Gemstone Broker, $5 + $5 = $2.28 Million

November 13, 1986|ANN HEROLD

--To the rock hound who found it, the dirty, potato-sized stone wasn't very attractive so it was offhandedly included in a grab bag of items for sale at a Tucson gem and mineral show. But to Texas gemstone broker Roy Whetstine, the lavender-colored rock was a diamond in the rough. Borrowing $5 from his son, Johnathan, and $5 from his other son, Stephen, Whetstine hurriedly purchased the 1,905-carat stone. An appraisal confirmed his remarkable find of a star sapphire worth $2.28 million, the largest star sapphire ever found. Whetstine is bidding for land in Idaho, where the stone was found, and is surprised that such discoveries aren't more common. The mineral corundum, the source of sapphires and rubies, is widespread in the United States. "The only reason more gems aren't found in this country is that no one is looking for them," Whetstine said. "A lot of people don't realize that every day they step over a meal."

--The twin children of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher are keeping the press twice as busy. Thatcher's son, Mark, 33, reportedly is to marry a Texas millionaire's daughter while his sister, Carol, may be facing dismissal from her job. An announcement is expected today that Mark Thatcher will marry Diane Bergdorf, daughter of a Dallas car dealer and land developer, who was described by Britain's national news agency as a living example of TV's "Dallas" look--"fashionably dressed, immaculately groomed and brimming in self-confidence." Meanwhile, Carol Thatcher, a feature writer for the Daily Telegraph in London, was reprimanded for writing an article for a women's magazine without the newspaper's permission.

--The town of Douglas, Wyo., is voting on a ballot that will decide the fate of an Old West-style gallows that some residents say is giving the town a bad name. Fighting to hang onto the instrument of frontier justice is a group of businessmen and ranchers called The Wild Bunch, after the gang of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Wild Bunch members earlier blocked demolition attempts in a showdown at the gallows site in the center of town. "We had 'em outnumbered," said Peter Mike Curtin, a businessman and member of the group, which acts as a modern-day posse. "Drawing cards like the . . . gallows . . . put a community on a map and brings people to town," he said. The gallows was constructed in June to honor the town's centennial.

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