Sri Lanka is a one of the famous country for gems, Sri Lanka also called as “Ratna-Dweepa” in history because of gems. Sri Lanka has highest density of gems in the world and is a global sourcing destination for over 75 varieties of precious and semi-precious gemstones.
The corundum family of gemstones consist of some of the most valuable and popular gemstones including ruby and sapphire. Compact, dense, and lacking gemstone cleavage corundums are also the second hardest natural mineral after diamond. These factors make both varieties of corundum some of the most highly desired jewellery stones. Ruby is the red variety of corundum. All other colours of corundum, including colourless corundum, are called sapphires.
Colour is the most significant factor affecting a ruby’s value: Fine gems are a pure, vibrant red to slightly purplish red. Most Sri Lankan Ruby varieties are of a pinkish red and display a tint of purple, caused by the presence of iron in addition to chromium oxide, which is unique to its Sri Lankan origin.
Although blue is the colour most widely identified with sapphires, the colour of sapphire can range from blue to violet, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and intermediate hues known as fancy sapphires.
The Beryl family of gemstones include some of the most popular and expensive gemstones in the world including Emeralds and Aquamarines. While Red Beryls are some of the rarest and most expensive gemstones in the world, chemically pure beryl is colourless and the presence of trace elements causes green, blue, pink, red and yellow colours.
Found in green-blue to blue colour variations, aquamarine crystals get the blue tone due to the presence of iron within the crystal. They are comparatively large and well-formed and the depth of sea blue colour is most intense in large specimens while the colour in smaller stones is comparatively lighter.
Although the common term ‘Cat’s Eye’ is used on different mineral species, the most popular Cat’s Eye is the rare gemstones belonging to the Chrysoberyl family. Yet not all Chrysoberyls display this unique chatoyancy effect. While transparent to translucent Chrysoberyls without a chatoyancy effect is quite common in Sri Lanka.
A variety of chrysoberyls displaying chatoyancy caused by the light reflecting from inclusions of tiny parallel needles or hollow tubes, cymophane are commonly known as cat’s eye.Chrysoberyl occurs in varying degrees of transparency ranging from transparent and clear to cloudy translucent and opaque.
Fondly known as an ‘Emerald by Day and a Ruby by Night’, Alexandrite is a type of Chrysoberyl that is rare yet abundantly found in Sri Lanka. Their ability to shift colours from red to green when viewed under different light sources makes Alexandrite a highly sought after gemstone in the global market.
Sri Lanka is the second largest supplier of spinel to the global gem and jewellery market with colours ranging from ruby red, pink, orange, shades of reddish-brown, purple, blue, bluish-green, mauve, greenish-black, black to colourless. The occurrence of natural blue spinel coloured by cobalt has been found in Sri Lanka.
Gemstones belonging to the family of Garnet occur in a multitude of colours except for blue and are available in several varieties including almandine, andradite, grossular, pyrope, spessartine and uvarovite.
Available in all the colours of the rainbow, Tourmaline also has a very complex mineral composition, which is the main reason behind their rich colour composition. Gemstones from Sri Lanka belonging to the Tourmaline species differ from yellowish-green to bright green.
A versatile species of gemstones, Topazes are available in a variety of colours and colourless forms. Often identified by the hue name, such as pink or blue topaz, some of the most expensive and rare topaz have commercial names given to them.
A popular substitute for diamond around the world, Zircon is colourless in its chemically purest form. Mostly found in Matara Sri Lanka, colourless zircons are also known as Matara Zircon or Matara Diamonds. Colourless zircon found in Sri Lanka is celebrated for its brilliance and flashes of multicoloured light, called fire.
Quartz is a large family of gemstones and occurs in many colours and varieties. In its purest form quartz is colourless but are available in a range of colours and forms including
A purple variety of the mineral quartz, the finest amethyst colour is strong reddish-purple to purple with no visible colour zoning. Coloured by Iron, the shades of Amethyst occur in transparent pastel roses to deep purples. Like many other gemstones, the quality of Amethyst varies according to its source.
A delicate pink version of the mineral quartz, Rose Quartz features shades varying from very light to medium-dark pink. Always found in massive form sans the regular, flat crystal faces Rose Quartz is typically found in pegmatites, but also occurs in hydrothermal veins and owes its delicate pink colour to microscopic inclusions of aligned silicate mineral fibres.
A translucent variety of microcrystalline quartz, Agate is a semi-precious chalcedony occurring in a wide range of colours including brown, white, red, grey, pink, black, and yellow. The colours are caused by traces of oxides of iron, manganese, titanium, chromium, nickel, and other elements and occur as alternating bands within the stone.
Rare in nature, Citrine is a transparent, pale yellow to brownish orange variety of quartz. One of the most popular and frequently purchased yellow gemstones, finest citrine gemstones have the colours of saturated yellow to reddish-orange free of brownish tints.
Feldspar is a silicate mineral that makes up over 50% of Earth’s crust. Feldspar minerals are used in many industries including manufacturing of a wide variety of glass and ceramic products and as fillers in paints, plastics and rubber. Several popular gemstones including Moonstone belong to the Feldspar mineral family
Moonstones are a precious stone belonging to the Feldspar class of minerals and are celebrated for its magical glow caused by adularescence. Meetiyagoda mines in Sri Lanka is the source of the world celebrated Blue Moonstones.Classical moonstones are always cut as cabochons.However, some Moonstones feature a cat’s eye effect or a four-spoked star in addition to the typical undulating shimmer of light.