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Sri Lanka as a gemstone nation

by Arvid Jansson |

Sri Lanka´s history as a gemstone nation is said to reach back approximately 3 000 years. Early explorers from Europe, Arab cultures of the time and Asian societies, documented the country´s availability of beautiful stones. According to legend, King Solomon courted the Queen of Sheba with gems from Sri Lanka, long before the birth of Christ. During the 13th century, the now famous explorer Marco Polo travelled to Sri Lanka. Shortly thereafter, he noted that the island had the best Sapphires, Topazes and Amethysts he had ever seen in any of his journeys.

Later, stones from Sri Lanka and mainly sapphires, have been worn by royalties and celebrities around the world. When the woman who unintentionally started the paparazzi phenomenon, Diana Spencer, married Prince Charles in 1981, it was a 12 carat Sapphire ring surrounded with 14 diamonds that covered her finger.

Of a known total of approximately 200 minerals classified as gemstone material, around a third of these occur in Sri Lanka. Due to availability, the country claims a top-spot for harvesting gemstones. The island is particularly recognized not only for for its spectacular blue Sapphires but also for quality Ruby, Topaz, Amethyst, Garnet, Tourmaline, Quartz, Moonstone, Spinel, Zircon, Alexandrite, Aquamarine and Cat-eye. 

Sri Lanka is a small, intimate country much like a gemstone. Approximately a tenth the size of France, gems are harvested in over 70% of its land surface and several hundred thousands of the country´s, just 20 million plus inhabitants are working within mining, manufacturing or trade  related to gemstones. The mining areas are mainly concentrated to the southern inland as well as the middle part of the island. The gemstone sector remains an important component of Sri Lanka's economy and before the country got its current name, it was formerly known as Ratnadvipa, or “Gemstone Island”. 

Aina Gustafsson cooperates with a family run business in Sri Lanka and provides timeless, qualitative jewelry to fair prices. Our stones are cut and polished in the southern part of the country.