A Guide to Gemstones in Sri Lanka

Ceylon Sapphires - Gemstones in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is often referred to as the Emerald Isle, so it should come as little surprise that the country is home to a number of different varieties of gemstones. These are sought-after in the global export market by corporates and individuals alike, with jewellery most prominently worn by royalty including the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

Here are some gemstones available for purchase in the island, as per the Sri Lanka Export Development Board.

1) Ruby

The presence of the material Chromium gives rubies its distinctive red. Fine gems are a pure, vibrant red to a slightly purplish red. These are considered to be the among the most valuable gemstone of the Corundum minerals. The colour of the ruby is the most significant factor which affects its value.

2) Sapphire

While blue is well associated with Sapphires, the colours can range from blue to violet, orange, purple, pink, yellow and even green. Sapphires are valuable gems as they are used for movement bearings, durable windows, wristwatch crystals and other industrial applications.

3) Aquamarine

Aquamarine gems are large and well formed and have its distinctive blue tone due to the presence of iron. The value is based on colour and these gems are usually found flawlessly in many parts of the island.

4) Chrysoberyl Cat’s Eye

This gemstone is unique as the light reflecting on the gem is similar to a cat, hence its name. The gemstone has varying levels of transparency and is widely distributed in Sri Lanka. The colours differ from semi-transparent golden-yellow to slightly greenish-yellow or brownish yellow.

5) Alexandrite

This rate gemstone has a tendency to shift colours from red to green under various light sources, thus making it a highly sought after gemstone. This is because the mineral has unusual light-absorbing properties. This is known as an ‘Emerald by Day and a Ruby by night’

6) Spinel

Spinel is easily found In the island and they are available in red, pink and blue. Sri Lanka is one the largest suppliers of Spinel to the global gem and jewellery market with a series of colours ranging from pink, ruby red, orange, reddish-brown, purple. Blue, green, mauve and black.

7) Garnet

These gemstones are available in a range of colours, except. Garnet gemstones have the same crystal structure, but varies in its chemical composition. Certain types of garnet gemstones such as Pyrope, Grossular, Almandine and Spessartine are valued for its commercial use.

8) Topaz

Topaz gemstones are available in an extensive range of colours. High valued red and pink stones are commonly referred to as Imperial Topaz and while Precious or Sherry Topaz gemstones refer to those which are rich yellow to a medium, peachy orange in colour

9) Zircon

Zircon is a popular substitute for Diamonds all over the world. In its purest form, Zircon is colourless. However, zircon is available in an array of colours from purple, blue, red, brown and sometimes green.

10) Amethyst

A purple variety of the quartz mineral, the finest amethyst gemstones are purple in nature. Amethyst shades have pastel roses to deep purple. The best varieties of Amethyst are available in Sri Lanka, Brazil, Siberia and the far East.

11) Moonstone

Moonstones belong to the Feldspar class of minerals and are celebrated for its magical glow. Sri Lanka is the ideal place to acquire reputable blue moonstones. Moonstones are usually cut as cabochons (i.e. gemstones which have been shaped and polished). However, some Moonstones feature a cat’s eye effect or a four-pointed star.

It is recommended to purchase gemstones from reputable sources to avoid being scammed. Having a basic understanding of what you wish to purchase and a budget in mind is a good start when gem shopping in Colombo. We recommend contacting the National Gem and Jewellery Authority on 0112390645 to get a list of licensed, reputable gem dealers who will provide the perfect piece to suit you.

Image Source: Luster Blue