"It's almost as if you're looking into space," he said of the stone. "It's like having the universe on your finger."
Last year, he was asked by an attorney in the case to identify his family heirloom.
He was ushered into a private room at a Beverly Hills bank, where attorneys, Parstabar, and Armstrong huddled around him. Before him was a tightly wrapped cardboard shipping box that had sat untouched since it arrived from Toronto. All eyes focused on him opening the box.
He sifted through bubble wrap and tissue paper until he found the velvet case holding the stone.
"It was like getting to see an old friend," he recalled.
He inspected the diamonds, and the mounting. He scanned the graining at the top of the stone. He shined a flashlight to create the six point star.
This is the Black Star of Queensland, he wrote on a piece of paper, and signed it.
The legal dispute quietly settled out of court in a confidential agreement. According to a court document, Armstrong agreed to pay $500,000 within three months to buy out Grohe.
At 5 p.m., on the last day that he could claim ownership, a personal check from Armstrong arrived at Grohe's attorney's office. The check bounced.
A few months later, a judge entered a final ruling: the stone was all hers.
The Black Star of Queensland once again sits in obscurity, with its owner in Switzerland. Grohe wants to put that period of her life behind her and would rather not talk about it, her attorney said. She hasn't decided what to do with the stone.
Armstrong, meanwhile, says it's enough for him that he once held the sapphire he fantasized about as a child. Though he lost the court battle, the gem brought him good fortune in his work and life, he said.
He wants to make a film about the stone, he says, for "every little kid who dreams." He says he is on the brink of a deal with a studio. He imagines it will be a tale of a princess trapped in an enchanted stone, and a boy who finds it by chance.
"It's a magical story," he said. "It should be told."