ri Lanka has a glittering history for its gems, hence this enchanted island was better known as the “Rathna Deepa” or Gem Island in the ancient history. According to the Buddhist history the Lord Buddha has visited Sri Lanka to solve a probable was between two kings “Cchulodhara” “Mhodhara” over a gem studded plate. King “Soloman” has sent his agents to this island to purchase priceless gem stones when he wanted to win the heart of queen “sheeba”. Famous travelers such as Iban Batuata, Pahiyan and Marco Polo have mentioned about this natural wealth of sri Lanka in their personal notes. Marco Polo wrote of his visit in 1292: “I want you to understand that the island of Ceylon is, for its size, the finest island in the world, and from its streams comes rubies, sapphires, topazes, amethyst,and garnet.”
Highlights of Gems
Sri Lanka has been known for its fabulous blue sapphires,all over the world.although African countries like Tanzania, Mozambic and Madagascar also famous for blue apphires, the largest stones can only be found in Sri Lanka. Every possible shade of blue is represented among sapphires of Sri Lanka, the various shades ranging from the palest to the darkest. High quality blue sapphires from Sri Lanka are reputed for having pleasing tone of colour of whatever the shades are of remarkable transparency. In superior quality material the Degree of transparency of very high and its clarity is excellent. The most desired coloured and stones for a shapphire has been describe as an instance corn flower blue with a “Velvety” luster. The combination such features those rare, is the pride of Sri Lanka.
When Prince William choose a Sri Lankan Blue sapphire as the engagement ring for his royal bride Kate Middleton, Sri Lankan sales of the gem took an immediate boost. And he didn’t even buy a new one, since the dutches now wears the ring Prince William’s mother, Princess Diana, wore.
Corundum of a red colour are identified as Rubies. Most Sri Lankan varieties are of a pinkish red and display a tint of purple which factor perhaps is sufficient to betray to the experienced person that the stones are of Sri Lankan origin. These purplish tints are attributed to the presence of iron in addition to chromium oxide in the composition. Such stones when subject to instance heat would either lose or diminish the purplish tint thereby highlighting the principle colour, red. This colour is referred to as “Pigeon Blood Red” in gem circles.
As a rule, Ruby deposits as such have not been specifically localized in Sri Lanka and are found in association with other members of Corundum family. However, as indicated earlier the stones of better quality have been more often than not found within the Embilipitiya – Udawalawe environs.
The term Padparadscha is a Sinhalese term applied to a very special colour variety of Corundum, so named after the lotus flower as its colour is sometimes akin to a variety of this flower. The Padparadscha has an exceptional colour combination which is very attractive and rare. The colour combination produces the beautiful colour of a sunset at its best as seen across a tropical sky. The colour of Padparadscha is apparently a combination of pink and orange.
Star stones of the corundum family are either star sapphires or rubies. When light falls on these stones, a star effect is visible (known as asterism).
Sri Lanka is the best known source for star sapphires and star rubies. Star sapphires range in colour from grey to bluish-grey and from medium blue to medium dark blue. The very slightly purplish medium dark blue is the best colour grade for star sapphires. Star rubies range from light pink-red to purple-red through deep purple-red. The intense red star rubies are extremely rare. A good quality star stone should have a high degree of transparency and a well defined star with no weak or missing rays. It should be reasonably clean and in the face-up position, no distracting inclusions or cracks should be seen. There should be no excess weight at the bottom of the stone.
The special optical phenomenon of a well-defined six-ray star is a fascinating sight. The wearable qualities of the star stones make them suitable for men’s rings.
Cat’s eye has been observed as a preserver of good fortune. British royalty frequently use it as an engagement stone. The ideal colours of the chrysoberyl cat’s-eye are yellowish-brown, which is called the honey colour, and the yellow-green, which is called the apple green colour. There are two varieties of cat’s eye. The alexandrite cat’s-eye and the chrysoberyl cat’s-eye. Cat’s eye stone is highly suggested for those who do business. It guards the wearers against losses in business and guarantees financial steadiness.
Alexandrite is a variety of chrysoberyl is perhaps rarest and Sri Lanka is famous for producing larger stones with fair colour change. The primary beauty of this gem is due to its colour change. At best Sri Lankan stones can be grass green in daylight and violet red to raspberry red in incandescent or artificial light. The gem is priced according the percentage of colour change found in the stone. Although most alexandrite can be faceted, occasionally there is unusual colour changing alexandrite cat’s eye too.
The emerald is the hallowed stone of the goddess Venus. The emerald has long been the symbol of hope and love. Ancient records explain that the stone was traded in Babylonian markets as early as 4,000 BC. Because of their green color, emeralds are linked with reincarnation and spring as well as are said to enhance ingenuity. They moreover unlock the door to new possibilities.
Zircon is a zirconium silicate, occurring in colourless, light blue, brownish-orange, yellow, yellowish-green, brownish-green, dark red or light red-violet. Blue is the most valuable. This stone is usually heat-treated.
The moonstone is associated with the moon and was the stone of the goddess Diana. The most powerful time to use the moonstone is in a full moon.It has been worn as an amulet to bring good emotions to the wearer, while protecting those of a sensitive nature. It can reunite lovers who have quarreled. Moonstone is also considered a good luck stone. The most precious of the feldspar gems. Moonstones are typically colourless to white, semi-transparent to translucent, and characterized by a glowing light effect known as adularescence, the visibility of which is limited to a restricted angle of view.