Though there are nearly 75 varieties of coloured and colourless minerals to be found in the soil, there are about ten main species of gems that are quite prominent in the trade.
The corundum is the most important gem mineral found in Sri Lanka. Most of the sapphires belong to this family. Blue, white, orange, brown, green, and pink sapphires, and deep red or pinkish-red corundum (or rubies) are quite common in Sri Lanka.
The padparadscha sapphire is the rarest sapphire found in Sri Lanka. The name padparadscha means ‘lotus blossom’ in Sinhalese and is so called due to its unique colour that ranges from a dainty salmon pink to an orange hue that is said to resemble a lotus in the sunset.
The next most important gem species found in Sri Lanka is the chrysoberyl. This variety comes in brown, brownish-green, or yellowish-green colours. Some stones in this variety known as cat’s eye, have a single ray of light across them (our vendors have a wide range of cat’s eye gems from 3 ct to 50 ct and 60 ct, or even larger). Alexandrite is one of the most valuable gemstone found in Sri Lanka under the chrysoberyl family and has been discovered as rolled pebbles in the gem gravels of Sri Lanka.
The spinel variety consists of blue, violet, and several red stones. It is a beautiful stone that comes across as a ruby imitation due to its high luster and color and is closer to the Corundum’s hardness.
If you are a gem enthusiast, please try out our tour package – 8 days Sri Lanka Gem Tour