Gemstones Found in Sri Lanka

There are plenty of gemstones found in Sri Lanka including precious and semi-precious stones. Most of these stones are found in several major cities such as Ratnapura, Kuruwita, Pelmadulla, Akuressa, Matara, Deniyaya, Polonnaruwa, Eheliyagoda, Horana and Elahara. Recently extensive gem deposits have been discovered in Hasalaka Welgahawadiya which belongs to Minipe divisional secretariat of Kandy district.

Following are the major types of gemstones found in Sri Lanka (Ceylon).

Blue sapphire – National gemstone
Star Ruby, Ruby
White sapphire, Pink sapphire, Orange sapphire, Yellow sapphire
Star sapphire, Alexandrite, Padmaraga sapphire
Chrysoberyl cat’s eye, Alexandrite cat’s eye, Chrysoberyl
Amethyst, Aquamarine, Beryl, Pyrope garnet, Topaz, Hessonite garnet, Rhodolite garnet
Citrine, Almandine garnet, Spessartite garnet, Zircon, Spinel
Moonstone and Tourmaline

Out of the all gemstones mentioned above, sapphires and rubies which are also known as corundum are the most expensive minerals found in the country. Ceylon sapphires are considered as the world’s best quality sapphires. However Rubies are not very common in Sri Lanka as sapphires. Before several months ago an alexandrite mineral was discovered in a local mine and it was auctioned and sold for 34 million USD.

90% of the landmass of the country is said to be composed of gem bearing pre Cambrian rock, except for the Jaffna peninsula which is made of Miocene rock. Gems mined in the rough form sometimes found as crystals of small or very large proportions. Exported only as a finished cut and polished stones either faceted or cabochon ready for use.

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

There are some types of rare gemstones found in Sri Lanka as well.

Axinite, Ekanite, Fluorite, Phenakite, Taaffeite
Cassiterite, Apidote, Idocrase, Rutile
Danburite, Euclase, Kyanite, SApphrine
Dumortierite, Fibrolite, Monazite, Sphene
Sinhalite, Kornerupine, Andalucite, Apatite, Scapolite, Cordierite, Diopside, Anstatite

At present country’s gemstones and jewellery industry is booming and present export revenue is about 400 million USD per year. By 2016, Sri Lankan government wants the revenue to be increased to 1 billion USD. Because of that, at present Sri Lanka is also importing different types of rough minerals from other countries such as Tanzania, Madagascar, Thailand and Myanmar to produce more jewellery. Most of these imported gemstones are not naturally found in Sri Lanka such as lapis, lazuli. Sri Lanka government allows importers to import these natural minerals free of tax.

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