Precious stones found in Sri Lanka

Precious stones found in Sri Lanka

There are many gemstones in Sri Lanka including precious and semi-precious stones. Most of these stones are found in several major towns such as Ratnapura, Kuruwita, Pelmadulla, Akuressa, Matara, Deniyaya, Polonnaruwa, Eheliyagoda, Horana and Elahara. Extensive deposits of precious stones have recently been discovered at Hasalaka Welgahawadiya, which belongs to the Minipe separate secretariat of the Kandy district.

The following are the main types of gemstones found in Sri Lanka (Ceylon).

Blue sapphire – national precious stone

Star Ruby, Ruby

White Sapphire, Pink Sapphire, Orange Sapphire, Yellow Sapphire

Star Sapphire, Alexandrite, Padmaraga Sapphire

Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl, Cat’s Eye Alexandrite, Chrysoberyl

Amethyst, Aquamarine, Beryl, Pyrope Garnet, Topaz, Hessonite Garnet, Rhodolite Garnet

Citrine, almandine garnet, spessartite garnet, zircon, spinel

Moonstone and tourmaline

Of all the gems mentioned above, sapphires and rubies, which are also known as corundum, are the most expensive minerals found in the country. Ceylon sapphires are considered the highest quality in the world. However, rubies are not as common in Sri Lanka as sapphires. A few months ago, an alexandrite mineral was discovered in a local mine and was auctioned for US$34 million.

It is said that 90% of the country’s landmass is made up of gems bearing Precambrian rock except for the Jaffna Peninsula which is made of Miocene rock. Gemstones mined in rough form are sometimes found as crystals of small or very large proportions. Exported only as finished and polished stones, faceted or cabochons, ready for use.

Of all the gemstones found in the country today, there are few stones cut only as a cabochon, such as star rubies, star sapphires, moonstones, and all cat’s eye stones. All other varieties will be faceted in local lapidaries.

Sri Lanka also has some types of rare gems.

Axinite, ecanite, fluorite, phenakite, taaffeite

Cassiterite, apidote, idocrase, rutile

Danburite, euclase, kyanite, sapphrine

Dumortierite, fibrolite, monazite, sphene

Sinhalite, Cornerupine, Andalusite, Apatite, Scapolite, Cordierite, Diopside, Anstatite

Currently, the country’s gem and jewelry industry is booming and current export earnings are around US$400 million annually. By 2016, the Sri Lankan government wants the revenue to be increased to US$1 billion. Therefore, Sri Lanka is also currently importing various types of raw minerals from other countries such as Tanzania, Madagascar, Thailand and Myanmar to produce more jewellery. Most of these imported gemstones do not occur naturally in Sri Lanka, such as lapis, lazuli. The Sri Lankan government allows importers to import these natural minerals tax-free.

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