Ceylon Sapphires, Alexandrites and Rubies : With Peerless Glitter & Priceless Value
Sri Lanka has been called 'Rathnadvipa' or 'the land of gems' from time immemorial. The allusion is telling given the widely held belief that nearly 70% of the landmass potentially hoards some of the world's most precious stones. The abundance of gemstones on Sri Lankan soil is such that out of some 200 minerals that are classified as gemstones, about 75 varieties are found in Sri Lanka.
For centuries, Sri Lanka has earned great global renown for its blue sapphires, star sapphires, star rubies and pathmaraga sapphires. Boasting an unusually fine quality, Sri Lankan sapphires come in a wide range of enchanting hues, from deep blues to legendary delicate pinks. The Ceylon blue sapphire is also one of the few sapphires in the world that can be sold as a perfectly natural stone sans heat treatment. All these highly merchantable qualities of Ceylon sapphire help it claim great recognition worldwide - a brand created more by the sellers and consumers than by the producers of the stone.
The most celebrated star sapphire from Sri Lanka is showcased in the Museum of Natural History in New York. Star sapphires or star rubies show a star-like marking and this effect, termed as asterism, happens when light is thrown on the cut stone, cut in the cabochon form, and three rays appear crafting a six-point star. Stones with six rays are also known to have been found.
Alexandrite, known as one of the rarest and priciest gemstones in the world, is found in Sri Lanka. It's a variety of chrysoberyl, which ideally produces a distinct colour change from green in fluorescent light or daylight to red in incandescent light.
Ruby is an aluminum oxide, a variety of corundum; it occurs in medium to dark tones of red and violetish-red to brownish-red. Some of the world's finest rubies have come from Sri Lanka's gem gravels. Similar to Sri Lanka sapphires, in rubies, color accumulates in large stones and so they can be quite splendid in sizes of five ct or more. Due to the bipyramidal shape of the rough, many stones are cut with overly deep pavilions. This material is highly fluorescent and stars are common.
The total value of the gem exports in year 2014 was around US $165.3 million recording a YoY growth of 34.83%. The invaluable riches beneath the Sri Lankan soils never cease to amaze & enrich us.