Sapphire Hunting in Sri Lanka
Sapphire means ‘blue stone’ in Greek, but the gemstone can be found in other colors, such as yellow, pink, purple, green, white, orange …
Sri Lanka has always been famous for its beautiful natural sapphires; the term ‘Sri Lankan sapphire’ has become a guarantee of quality.
As most of the Sri Lankan population is Buddhist, mining is restricted to small-scale operations where heavy machinery is forbidden. This is to ensure that no harm comes to any living beings. Mines can be as small as the one shown above.
I went to my fellow GIA gemologist friend, Aly’s sapphire mine in Ratnapura. This is the gem-mining center of Sri Lanka, located in Sabaragamuwa Province, in the south of the island.
A miner descending the mine shaft.
The miners use hand-held tools to loosen the earth in the mine galleries. A bucket is used to haul the earth up the mine shaft.
In Ratnapura, the sapphires are earth-mined which means the earth is washed to reveal the mother rocks in which the sapphires are embedded.
Marquis-cut calibrated sapphires
As a GIA gemologist, I am always looking for exquisite gems. I classify them by size, shape, color and clarity grade.
Back in my workshop in Beijing, I work closely with my artisans to craft pieces of jewelry which are unique - ready to continue their journey with one of my clients.
A sapphire’s journey from the earth to its rebirth as a unique piece of art