Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean, known also by the name Ceylon. The official name Sri Lanka was given in the year 1972. The country is known worldwide for its tea, spices and gems. This region is known by its early name Ratna Dweepa, which means island of gems in Sanskrit. In olden days Arabs referred to this island by the name Serandib and Persians knew it as Serendip which is the root word of Serendipity. The historical names of the country speak for the gem wealth of Sri Lanka.
Nearly 25% of landmass of Sri Lanka is gem bearing, says a study. The main gem bearing area is the Ratnapura district in Sabaragamuwa Province. Ratnapura is the gem capital of the country and the name means City of gems in Sinhalese. Other notable gem deposits are in Pelmadulla, Balangoda and Rakwana. Gem deposits are also found in Elahera in Central Province, Okkampitiya – Uva Province and Tissamaharama – Southern Province.
A wide variety of precious natural gems are found in Sri Lanka. The principal gems found in the island are Sapphire, Ruby, Moonstone, Beryl, Cat’s eye chrysoberyl, Spinel and Tourmaline. Sri Lankan blue sapphires are widely known by the name Ceylon sapphires. They are vibrant in colour and uniquely beautiful, making it world famous and no doubt blue sapphire is the national gemstone of the country.
The priceless ceylon sapphires and other Sri Lankan gemstones are treasured worldwide and they also adorned royal families and renowned celebrities. The Royal engagement ring given by Prince William to Miss Middleton is believed to be embedded with ceylon sapphire. The royal ring was first worn by Princess Diana. Giant of the Orient, Logan Blue Sapphire, BlueBella of Asia, Star of Lanka, Naleem Alexandrite, British Royal Jewel, Empress Maria’s Sapphire are notable mentions among the exceptional gemstones found from Sri Lanka.
The country is producing exquisite gemstones by employing a unique combination of traditional skills and modern technology. With the relaxation of regulations related to mining and exporting by the government bodies the gem industry is still expanding.