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‘Ratnadeepa’ – Queen of Asia named largest natural corundum star sapphire cluster. Will it help to ease the present dollar crisis in Sri Lanka? – by by Dr Harold Gunatillake

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To visit Sri Lanka is to experience one of the great gem sources and trading centers in the world. This country has a rich, almost unparalleled tradition and remains vitally important to the modern gemstone market. Sri Lanka has a true mine-to-market industry, both domestically and for export.

Its evolution over the last two decades blends the best of traditional practices with modern technologies and business models

The little island named the pearl of the Indian ocean, is considered as one of the single important sources for fine gemstones. The most notable ones are the blue sapphire, pink sapphire or ruby, and yellow sapphire, alexandrite, and cat’s eye chrysoberyl, almandine and hessonite garnet among others.

These gems are found in the alluvian deposits, meaning material deposited by rivers, and composed of silt, sand, clay and gravel and other organic matter, and found mainly in the Ratnapura district, Sri Lanka.

In Ratnapura, Elahera and Balangoda districts among the green rice fields, as we call paddy fields, are enclosed small pit-mining operations, sometimes covered with V shaped roofs for protection from the sun and rain. click Website:

Alluvian deposits yield very fertile soils, as found in deltas of the Mississippi, Nile, Ganges and Brahmaputra and the yellow river in Huang, other than in Sri Lanka.

Coming back to the largest natural star sapphire cluster found in the Ratnapura-Kahawatta area, was discovered 8 months ago, according to the Chairman of the National Gem and Jewelry Authority, Mr Thilak Weerasinghe.

It was kept a hidden secret from the media due to the high value of this gem. It has been reported that this cluster is around US $ 100 million value.

However, it will take over a year to clean the mud and remove the impurities. This is considered as the world’s largest natural corundum Blue Sapphire found in Kahawatta in the Ratnapura district of Sr Lanka.

The stone was found by workmen whilst digging a well in the backyard of a house in Kahawatte, in the Ratnapura District, and Sabaragamuwa Province, in Southern, Sri Lanka.

This town is in the central mountains of Sri Lanka at an elevation of 710 meters. The town and its surrounding area is recognized for its large tea plantations and the gem industry.

The cluster weighs around 510 kilograms or 2.5 million carats and has been named the ‘Serendipity Sapphire’.

It has taken over a year to clean the cluster, and a few stones fell out of the cluster whilst cleaning and they were found to be high quality star sapphires.

Sri Lanka is the leading exporter of sapphires and other precious stones mentioned. Last year the country earned around half a billion dollars through the export of gems, cut diamond and jewellery.

“I have never seen such a large specimen before. This was probably formed around 400 million years ago,” Dr Gamini Zoysa, a renowned gemmologist told the BBC.

It was found at a time when the country has lost foreign exchange because of the pandemic induced lockdowns.

Chairman of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka Mr. Thilak Weerasinghe said that given the size and its value, it will interest private collectors or museums.

Blue sapphires appear opaque under normal circumstances, but when placed under a light it exhibits a six-pointed star.

Can this star sapphire valued at 100 million US dollars be able to take off portion of the burden of the debt trap Sri Lanka is facing today?

Ajith Nivard Cabraal -governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, explains to the CNBC International TV, how it’s planning to repay the $6.9 billion in foreign debt due this year.

Presently, the tourist influx in the country, and foreign exchange from the selling of this precious star sapphire among other items, dollar fixed deposits in a special dollar account created for expatriates by the Central Bank, will ease the situation, and it is hopeful with the blessings of the Gods and the Triple Gem the country regains its position in the planet, as number one destination, and provide good living conditions without deprivation of any
commodities for the average person again.

Hope this video presentation will ease your minds for a great future.
Stay safe and Goodbye for now.



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