Logan Blue Sapphire

The 422.99-carat Logan Blue Sapphire in its special brooch setting donated in 1960 to the National Museum of Natural history of the Smithsonian Institution by Mrs John A. Logan, is the heaviest mounted gem in the National Gem Collection, and undoubtedly one of the most popular exhibits in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems Minerals of the NMNH of the Smithsonian Institution. A dedicated webpage on the Logan Blue Sapphire in the jewelry blog of internetstones.com published on March 10, 2008, is one of the most visited webpages of our extensive website, providing information on diamonds, pearls, colored stones, and minerals. The last paragraph of this webpage with the sub-title “Mrs John A. Logan” reads as follows :-The above account of the “Logan Blue Sapphire” is not complete without a brief biography of Mrs. John A. Logan, who donated the renowned sapphire to the Smithsonian Institution. Attempts to find more details of Mrs. Logan had proved somewhat difficult. Readers who may have information about Mrs. Logan and her family are kindly requested to update this page with the required information.Our request had three responses from three gracious ladies, two of whom were related to Mrs. John A. Logan and the third who was her personal accountant. Their valuable contribution served to enrich and update our webpage on the "Logan Blue Sapphire"The following is the first contribution by Mrs. Jennifer Page, a granddaughter to Mrs John A. Logan, dated October 14, 2009 :-

Jennifer PageOctober 14, 2009 at 6:43 pm My mother, Beverly Pollard Page, is Mrs. Logan’s niece. As a child we visited “Aunt Polly” (Rebecca Pollard Guggenheim Logan) in Washington DC and her donated sapphire at the museum.


The second contribution to our webpage was by Mrs. Alice Payne, who had the privilege of working for Mrs. John A. Logan as her personal accountant from 1981 to 1982’ Her contribution reads as follows :-

The third and most important contribution was made by Mrs. Beverly Pollard Page, mother of Jennifer Page, and niece to Mrs. John A. Logan.

I have read with great interest your thread on the Logan Blue Sapphire, and the original webpage on the Logan Blue sapphire in the jewelry blog of internetstones.com. I too did my own search to find more about the life of Mrs. John A. Logan. Eureka !!! I think, I have gathered enough information on the life of Mrs. John A. Logan, from a vote of condolence moved by Senator Thurmond in the U.S.Senate, on March 24, 1994, after her death in Washington at the age of 90 on March 15, 1994. Moving the vote of condolence, Senator Thurmond referred to Mrs. John A. Logan as a prominent Washingtonian and an internationally recognized philanthropist whose efforts greatly benefited humanity, and who was admired and respected by many, who were deeply saddened by her death. After making his condolence speech, Senator Thurmond requested the unanimous consent of the house, for a copy of Mrs. Logan’s obituary from the “Washington Post” to be inserted into the Congressional Records, following his own remarks, which was unanimously granted without any objection. Senator Thurmond’s condolence speech and the Washington Post obituary, extracted from the Congressional Records Vol.140, No.35, dated Thursday, March 24, 1994, gives an insight into the life and work of this great American lady Mrs. Rebecca “Polly” Guggenheim Logan. I am reproducing below, first Senator Thurmond’s condolence speech followed by the “Washington Post” obituary, extracted from the Congressional Records.

Congressional Records : March 24, 1994

Thanks John for your update on the different facets of the life of Mrs. John A. Logan, a remarkable lady, whose efforts touched the lives of many Americans in particular and humanity in general. We very much appreciate your contributions to this forum. Please keep it up !!!

Another obituary that appeared in the New York Times of March 16, 1994, essentially gives the same details as in the Washington Post obituary, but gives the names of two other survivors apart from a son from her first marriage, Richard Van Lennep of Washington. They are a nephew Randolph M. Pollard of Las Vegas, Nev., and a niece, Beverley Page of Bow, New Hampshire. I was indeed pleased to read the comments made by Mrs. Beverley Pollard Page on her aunt Polly Logan.I am reproducing the New York Times obituary below for the benefit of other visitors to this forum.

The New York Times - Obituaries
Rebecca P. Logan, 90, Art Patron and Hostess
Rebecca Pollard Van Lennep Guggenheim Logan, a philanthropist and patron of the arts who was for a generation one of the best-known social hostesses in Washington, died on Friday at her home in Washington. She was 90.The cause was heart failure, said Leonard L. Silverstein, her lawyer.For 21 years she was married to Col. M. Robert Guggenheim, an heir to a copper fortune, who died in 1959. Their 55-room residence, Firenze House, is one of Washington’s great estates, set on 22 acres in the northwestern section of the city.From the 1940’s to the 1970’s Firenze House was the setting for social functions attended by Presidents, Government officials, diplomats and business executives. It was also used for charity fund-raising events.Mrs. Logan was active in committees aiding the National Society of Arts and Letters, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Symphony and the Opera Society of Washington.She studied art in New York and graduated from the school at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. While there, she met and in 1926 married a Harvard student, Dr. William B. Van Lennep Jr. They divorced in 1937.The next year she married Colonel Guggenheim , who was United States Ambassador to Portugal in 1953 and 1954, aboard his 175-foot yacht.After Colonel Guggenheim died, she married John A. Logan in 1962. Mr. Logan, a management consultant in Washington, died in 1986.She is survived by a son, Richard Van Lennep of Washington; a nephew, Randolph M. Pollard of Las Vegas, Nevada, and a niece, Beverly Page of Bow, N.H.

Having followed the discussion on the Logan Blue Sapphire so far, I thought it would be appropriate and useful for the ongoing discussion, if I upload here a rare photograph of the Logan Blue Sapphire in its unmounted state, after being removed from its silver and gold setting. The photograph was taken from the National Museum of Natural History’s webpage on the Logan Sapphire at the following URL :- http://geogallery.si.edu/index.php/en/1001402/logan-sapphire The photograph of the Logan Blue Sapphire in its usual silver and gold brooch setting, surrounded by 20 round brilliant-cut diamonds is also included for the sake of comparison. Both photos are by Chip Clark.

Sri Lankan Sapphires are lighter and brighter than the Kashmir and Burmese Sapphires. These sapphires are generally a saturated medium blue in color and do not normally need color enhancement by heating, and are popularly referred to as “Ceylon Sapphires.” The Logan Blue Sapphire with its beautiful, medium, soft, violetish-blue color is indeed a typical example of a “Ceylon Blue Sapphire.” However, the exceptional clarity of the stone combined with its enormous size, makes the Logan Blue Sapphire an extremely rare gemstone indeed !!!

The NMNH’s webpage in its Gem Gallery on the Logan Sapphire (Catalog No. G3703), reveals a very significant fact about the “Logan Blue Sapphire” not included in our blog webpage on the “Logan Blue Sapphire.” This is concerning the examination of the sapphire by the Gemological Institute of America in 1997 after it was dismantled from its silver and gold brooch setting. The GIA found the “Logan Blue Sapphire” to be a natural sapphire of natural color, with no evidence of any heat treatment. Hence afrojack’s characterization of Sri Lankan blue sapphires as having a saturated medium blue color that does not normally need color enhancement by heating also holds good for the Logan Blue Sapphire, even though the gemstone was discovered in the 19th-century.

The following comments on various aspects of Polly Guggenheim Logan’s life by a friend of the Logan family, Mr. Donald Dewey was received by me via e-mail. The e-mail is published in full below for the benefit of our readers :-

Mr. Donald Dewey’s contribution has indeed served to further enrich the wealth of information already put together on the life and deeds of a great American lady Mrs. Rebecca “Polly” Guggenheim Logan, in this thread on the “Logan Blue Sapphire.”