How would you feel when you found a gemstone in your backyard? How would you feel when you are a gem trader at the same time? How would you feel when the stone you have found is the largest star sapphire cluster in the world? The shocking experience will make you unbelievable for sure.
Let us share the unbelievable experience of Mr Gamage with you. Mr Gamage, who is a third-generation gem trade, was digging a well in his home in the gem rich land in the Ratnapura area. He had hired some workmen for the well digging process and the person who was digging the well has alerted him about some rare stones he found. Later they found this huge specimen. After informing the relevant authorities about what they found, the cleaning process began and it has taken more than a year to clean the mud and other impurities of the stone before analysing and certifying the stone. During the cleaning process, some stones have fallen out of the cluster and later those were found to be high-quality star sapphires.
According to experts in the gem industry, the stone has an approximate value of up to 100 US dollars in the international gem market. With a weight of around 510 Kg or 2.5 million carats, the stone has been named “Serendipity Sapphire”. Moreover, it was mentioned that though the specimen has a high carat value, all the stones inside the cluster may not be high-quality.
Dr Gamini Zoysa who is a renowned gemologist said that he has never seen such a large specimen before. He comments that the cluster was probably formed around 400 million years ago. Mr Thilak Weerasinghe who is the Chairman of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka mentioned that it is a special star sapphire specimen, probably the biggest in the world. Given the size and its value, he thinks it will interest private collectors or museums to tell the story of Gems of Sri Lanka.
Ratnapura (city of gems in Sinhalese) is very well known as the hub of the gems of the island. Sri Lanka which is called Ratnadweepa (gem island in Sinhalese) has thousands of stories of valuable stones found in the past. Being the leading exporter of sapphires and other precious gemstones, the country earned around half a billion dollars through the export of gems, cut diamonds and jewellery. However, with the Covid pandemic, the gem industry has suffered losses of lockdowns and travel restrictions. Finally, the Serendipity stone has brought hope for those working in the industry and Sri Lanka has the great potential of attracting international buyers and experts.