Buying gems in Sri Lanka

Although Sri Lanka is a small island, it has the greatest concentration of gems on earth and is ranked among the top five gem-bearing nations. “Rathnadeepa” literally means the “island of gems”, is one of the ancient names of the island of Sri Lanka. Buying gems in Sri Lanka is very popular among precious stones lovers around the world because Sri Lanka is a well-known country in the world for precious and semi-precious stones.

History of Sri Lankan Gem industry

The rich history of the Sri Lankan gem industry is confirmed by the records of the travellers such as Ptolemy and Marco Polo. According to their records, Sri Lanka has the best sapphires in the world. The sapphires of Sri Lanka can be found in many colours such as Green, yellow, pink, violet and blue. Sri Lankan blue sapphires are the finest of their kind found anywhere else in the world. Pale, bright blue colour which is known as “corn blue” is the identical colour of Sri Lankan blue sapphires. This colour is inherited only by the stones of Sri Lanka blue sapphires.

Importance of gem and jewellry industry to Sri Lanka

As a leading gem exporting country in the world, Sri Lanka attracts gem buyers from all around the world. The island earned around half a billion dollars through the export of gems, cut diamonds and jewellers every year. Sapphire such as blue sapphire, star sapphire is one of the most popular stone varieties found on the island.  

Sri Lanka is the home to the world’s largest star sapphire cluster

The star sapphire cluster found in the city of Rathnapura in 2021, which weighs around 510 kilograms or 2.5 million carats and has been named the “Serendipity Sapphire”. According to the gem experts, it has a pale blue colour, has an estimated value of up to $100 million in the international market. According to the geologists it is believed to be originated around 400 million years ago

Biggest blue sapphire in the world

The biggest natural corundum blue sapphire in the world was put on display in December in Sri Lanka. The stone weighing 310 kilograms (683 pounds), which was discovered in a gem pit about three months ago. According to the gems and jewellery authority of Sri Lanka, it is one of the rarest gemstones in the world. The stone was discovered in Rathnapura (gem city), which is located at the foothills of the central mountain range.

Gem testing in Sri Lanka

All gemstones should be tested and receive a certificate from the state gems and jewellery authority before the export. Usually, the leading gem exporters and jewellery manufacturers adhere to this rule. However, there are few other gems shops and sellers that are selling gemstones without any certificate and proof about their value and authenticity. The value of gemstone depends on many factors such as clarity, colour, weight, cleanliness etc. The state gems and jewellery authority has a modern laboratory, where they calculate the value of stones correctly. Anyone can test their gemstone here at a very low cost.

Variety of gemstones found on the island

Sri Lankan blue sapphires are only second to the diamond in hardness. Sri Lankan blue sapphires are well known around the world due to their superior clarity, colour and brilliant shine compared to the blue sapphire found in the rest of the world. Sri Lanka boasts to have an array of other valuable gems including ruby, amethyst, cat’s eye, alexandrite, moonstones and topaz. All of these gemstones are highly demanded in the international market and help the island to earn foreign exchange.

What are the best places to buy gems in Sri Lanka?

If you are looking for the best place to buy gems in Sri Lanka, I would like to name below mentioned 3 places. All 3 places are popular in the gem and jewellery industry.

  • Rathnapura
  • Colombo
  • Kandy – Lak gem
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