Though it is acclaimed as a land rich in diversity and bio-diversity, Sri Lanka is also a land that is profusely teeming with semi-precious and precious stones; in other words, gems. Like leopards, Sri Lanka is the land with the highest density of gem deposits in the world. Gem mining in Sri Lanka dates back to an era of ancient kings. A thriving industry, the gems of Sri Lanka have been displayed on the world stage further cementing yet another of its astounding splendours. In fact, Sri Lanka was known as 'Ratna Dweepa' meaning Gem Island.
Amongst the three methods of mining available namely Surfer Place Mining, Pit-Head and Tunnel Mining, and Dredging River Bed Mining, Sri Lanka commonly uses Pit-Head Mining and Tunneling. Due to the perfection of traditional mining for centuries, the country also records the least amount of mining accidents islandwide.
Home to an overwhelming array of stones sought after by the world, these are some of the gems that can be found:
• Blue, pink, yellow and golden sapphires
• Star sapphires
• Star rubies
• Cat's eyes
Out of the above, the most popular and abundant gem is the coveted Blue Sapphire also known as the Ceylon Sapphire. It can be seen in all its glory sitting atop the British crown, namely 'Blue Belle'. True to its name, it is a beast at 400 carats testimony to the jewels of Sri Lankan soil. Marco Polo is said to have documented Sri Lankan gems the best in the world.
Another noteworthy stone in the Sri Lankan gem storyline, is the ruby which is said to have been acquired by King Solomon in order to present to Queen Sheba. The stones of the island have seen many a love story spanning across the globe.
You can find commended gem stores in Sri Lanka if you are thinking of making it a holiday to remember... after all it is also an island hailed for destination weddings so why not let the story begin!