Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a wondrous island blessed with an immense wealth of resources like the rich biodiversity, diverse cultural values, glorious history, priceless gemstones and many more. It is this wealth that has made Sri Lanka really a wonderful paradise in the world. Since ancient times, Sri Lanka is known as the island of gems. This is owing to no other reason but the fact that Sri Lanka is endowed with a plethora of precious stones that have adorned even crowns and thrones of the British Royalty. Sri Lanka’s gem industry has a history of over 2500 years. The world’s rarest gemstones are found in this wonderful island which is most famous for its blue sapphires. Sri Lankan blue sapphires are world-renowned and are highly priced because of its pleasing tone of color, flawlessness, very high transparency, clarity etc.
Blue Sapphire –
This is Sri Lanka’s Gem Supreme and the National Gemstone. It is cornflower-blue in colour, with a fine luster. Colour varies from violet-like blue to blue with varying hues. Blue Sapphires from Sri Lanka have a unique beauty of their ‘own. Fabulous Blue colour stones are found in the Rakwana area. Sri Lanka is the world’s best producer of the giant sapphires and one of the largest source of the finest gemstones in the world.
Pink Sapphire – These Sapphires vary in colour from shades light to dark. The deep pink color sapphire, which is very close to red is called hot pink sapphire. Fine pink sapphires are the most highly prized of all fancy sapphires. Sri Lanka is an important source of pink sapphires.
Alexandrite Cat’s Eye
Alexandrite cat’s eye is a great rarity, which is green with a silver ray in day light and changes to red with a silver ray in incandescent light. Sri Lanka is one of the Major suppliers of Alexandrite and Alexandrite cat’s eye.
Orange Sapphire –
In orange sapphires the colour ranges from a yellowish orange hue to an orange —red. Vivid red – orange stone with medium dark tones are the most valued.
Star Sapphire There are few stones with an individuality of their own. And among them is the star sapphire, whose heart appears to go with light of silvery white set in a deep blue body The finest 393 carat — “Star of Lanka” is in the possession of the Sri Lanka —National Gem and Jewellery Authority.
This is ‘Pollen of flower’ in her lyrical Sinhala name. Her delicate yellow makes this description apt. The colour range is from greenish yellow to orange-yellow Sri Lankans believe the wearer of this sapphire is protected against witchcraft.
Padmaraga (Padparadscha) Sapphire
The term Padparadscha is derived from Sanskrit / Sinhalese Padmaraga. It is the colour seen in the lotus flower and in sunset. It is an extraordinary mixture of pink and orange colour and one of the most beautiful and valuable gemstones. The prices vary greatly according to the size and quality. The original locality for Padmaraga is Sri Lanka.
Star Ruby –
It is a star, like an inextinguishable fire, embedded in a bed of red stone. The red star ruby is the most prized among star stones. Star rubies come in various colours from red, violet – like red and in varying tones.
Red colour variety of sapphires also called pigeon blood red. Ruby is the king of colored gemstones and the highest valued of all coloured gemstones for its rarity. Sri Lankan rubies are of higher brilliance with a trace of violet.
Chrysoberyl Cat’s Eye –
This is one of the most valuable gemstones. The colour varies from brown, green, yellow and their mixed hues with special optical effect Chatoyancy. These are found in Sri Lanka gem gravel, some of which are top quality and in large size. “Ray of Treasure” Cat’s Eye of 103 carats is part of the gemstone collection of the Sri Lanka’s National Gem and Jewellery Authority.
Traditionally, a birthstone is associated with each month of the year. For example, the birthstone for January is a garnet, while lucky babies born in April get a diamond as their birthstone.
The origin of birthstones is believed to date back to the breastplate of Aaron which contained twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. The current list dates back to 1912 with only one addition since then — the tanzanite was added to December.
The Gems Associated with Planets
Since the beginning of civilization, gemstones have always been thought to possess metaphysical powers. All the main ancient cultures, Vedic, Egyptian, Mayan, and Greek, had used these colorful and shiny pebbles for ritualistic, sacramental and healing purposes. The idea of using gemstones as solely item of adornment and wealth was a later development; yet, even this shift of perception, had originally an occult reason behind it. There is an ancient belief that a correlation exists between each planet and its correspondent gem.