Gems & Jewellery
Sri Lanka, the pearl of the Indian Ocean, has been known to the world for centuries as a land blessed with dazzling gemstones. Sea faring traders from all over the world chose this magical land as a much sought after port of call in their voyages searching for the world’s finest gem stones. Famous historical chronicles testify that royals around the world, including the English Royal Family have adorned their crown jewels with gems and jewelry from Sri Lanka.
Throughout history, the brilliance of Sri Lankan gemstones inspired kings, traders and historians across the globe. The legacy continues, as Sri Lanka still holds the crown for producing world class gemstones. During early times, Sri Lanka was once referred to as ‘Rathna Dweepa’ which connotes the meaning ‘The Island of Gemstones’.
These gemstones occur mainly in alluvial gravels found in valley bottoms into which flow tributary hillside streams which carry gem minerals released by weathering form the bed rock sources located at hilltops or hillsides. Apart from the sedimentary formation which carry gemstones, some rocks too have been shown to contain gemstones particularly varieties of Corundum. There are also gemstones associated with pegmatite which constituted an important source.
The best known and most prolific gemstone producing area in the island is the Ratnapura district of the Sabaragamuwa province. The other major gem mining areas in the country are Avissawella, Nivithigala, Eheliyagoda, Pelmadulla and Balangoda.