Sri Lankan authorities displayed perhaps the world’s largest natural corundum blue sapphire, weighing 310 kilograms, which was found in a gem pit about three months ago.
Local gemologists, who have examined the sapphire, said it was one of the rarest gems in the world as it weighed more than 300 kilograms. International organizations are yet to certify the precious stone.
The stone was found in the gem-rich Ratnapura area where local people had previously found the world’s largest star sapphire cluster in a backyard by accident.
Ratnapura is known as the gem capital of the South Asian country, which is a leading exporter of sapphires and other precious gems.
The country earned around half a billion dollars through the export of gems, diamonds and other jewellery last year, the local gems and jewellery industry body has reported.
While Sri Lanka is celebrated around the world for our vast range of gemstones, there is a special historical bond between Sri Lanka and its sapphires. Acclaimed around the world with the unique geographical indication of Ceylon Sapphires, sapphires from Sri Lanka are found in various colours and sizes.
Today, Sri Lanka is one of the largest sources of sapphire to the global market with over 300 mid-scale gemstone suppliers and lapidaries serving the growing demand for Sri Lankan gemstones.
Not only is Sri Lanka the most productive source of sapphires to the world, it also boasts of some of the oldest mines in the world, reaching as far as the Second Century AD. International trade of Ceylon Sapphires have been recorded as far as the 4th and 5th century AD.
In addition to their ornamental purposes, sapphires are also used in purely functional applications, such as infrared optical components, high-durability windows, wristwatch crystals and movement bearings, and very thin electronic wafers, which are used as the insulating substrates of special-purpose solid-state electronics such as integrated circuits and GaN-based blue LEDs.
Ceylon Blue Sapphires are mostly mined from primarily alluvial deposits located in the highland complex of Sri Lanka. Rough sapphire from the Elahera region is reputed to be the best of quality while new rich deposits were found in the Kataragama klippe in the Thammannawa, Kataragama area.