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Discover What Gemstones are Found in Sri Lanka – A Treasure Trove

what gemstones are found in sri lanka

Sri Lanka, known as the “Gem Island,” is home to some of the most exquisite and rare gemstones in the world. With a rich history of gemstone mining dating back centuries, the Sri Lankan gem industry is a treasure trove waiting to be explored.

From the stunning blue sapphires to fiery red rubies, Sri Lanka’s gemstones are highly sought after by jewelry enthusiasts and collectors worldwide. Not only are these gemstones breathtakingly beautiful, but they also play a significant role in the country’s economy.

In this article, we will delve into the world of Sri Lankan gemstones. We will explore the gemstone mining process, highlight the different types of gemstones found in Sri Lanka, and showcase some of the most famous gemstones originating from the island nation. Additionally, we will discuss the Sri Lankan gemstone market, including the country’s gemstone exports and the importance of certification and origins such as Ceylon gemstones.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sri Lanka is known for its valuable gem exports, making the gem industry a significant contributor to the economy.
  • A wide variety of gemstones are found in Sri Lanka, including the world-famous Ceylon blue sapphire and stunning alexandrites and tourmalines.
  • Famous gemstones, such as the legendary Sri Lankan blue sapphire, have adorned the collections of royalty and celebrities alike.
  • The Sri Lankan gemstone market plays a crucial role in the global gem trade, with factors such as gemstone cutting, polishing, certification, and origin contributing to their popularity and value.
  • Exploring Sri Lanka’s gemstones is a fascinating journey into a world of beauty and history.

Gemstone Mining in Sri Lanka

Gemstone mining in Sri Lanka is a significant industry that has been around for thousands of years. The country is famous for its beautiful and high-quality gemstones, which are in high demand across the world. Sri Lanka’s gem industry is an essential contributor to the country’s economy, with gemstone exports being a significant source of revenue.

The mining and production of gemstones in Sri Lanka follow a process that is unique to the country. The process involves a blend of traditional and modern techniques, with most of the mining done manually. The miners use simple tools to extract the gems carefully, ensuring minimum damage to the stones.

The country’s unique geology and climate make it an ideal place for gemstone mining. The island’s interior is rich in mineral deposits, including quartz, feldspar, and mica, which are essential components of gemstones. Additionally, the tropical climate provides the ideal conditions for the formation of gems, with the heat and moisture aiding the crystal growth process.

Gemstone Mining Techniques in Sri Lanka

The traditional mining methods used in Sri Lanka involve digging pits and tunnels to reach the gem-bearing gravel beds. Miners use simple tools such as picks and shovels to extract the gravel, which is then washed to separate the gemstones. The gravel is placed into a sieve, and water is poured over it to remove the lighter pieces, leaving only the heavier gemstones behind.

Modern mining techniques in Sri Lanka are more advanced and involve the use of heavy machinery to extract the gemstones. Mining companies use mechanized equipment to dig pits and tunnels, which are then manually searched for gemstones. The extracted gravel is then washed and processed using advanced equipment to extract the gems.

Impact of the Gemstone Industry in Sri Lanka

The gemstone industry is an essential contributor to the Sri Lankan economy, providing employment opportunities and generating revenue for the country. The gemstone exports from Sri Lanka are highly valued around the world, with the country being known for its high-quality gemstones.

The gemstone industry has also helped contribute to the country’s development, with the Sri Lankan government implementing policies to encourage sustainable mining practices. The country’s gemstone industry is regulated by the National Gem and Jewellery Authority, which ensures that all mining and trading activities are conducted in an ethical and sustainable manner.

“Sri Lanka has a long history of gemstone mining, dating back thousands of years.”

The gemstone industry is also vital in preserving the Sri Lankan cultural heritage. Sri Lanka’s gemstones have been an essential part of the country’s history and culture, with gems being used to adorn royal regalia and other historical artifacts.

Overall, the gemstone industry in Sri Lanka is a fascinating and essential part of the country’s culture and economy. Sri Lanka’s unique geology and climate provide the ideal conditions for producing high-quality gemstones, which are in high demand across the world. The industry’s impact on the country’s development and cultural preservation cannot be overstated.

Types of Gemstones Found in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is known for producing a wide array of precious gemstones, each with its unique characteristics. The country has a rich geological history that has blessed it with diverse gem deposits, making it a treasure trove of valuable gemstones.

Ceylon Blue Sapphire

The Ceylon Blue Sapphire is the most famous gemstone found in Sri Lanka. It is known for its vivid blue color, which makes it a popular choice for engagement rings and other jewelry. The Ceylon Blue Sapphire is also prized for its durability and hardness, making it an excellent choice for everyday wear.


Sri Lankan rubies are known for their deep red color and brilliance. They are often used in high-end jewelry pieces, particularly in engagement rings. Sri Lankan rubies are among the world’s most valuable gemstones and have been used in famous jewelry collections worldwide.


Alexandrite is a rare and highly sought after gemstone found in Sri Lanka. It is known for its remarkable color-changing ability, appearing green in natural light and red in artificial light. Sri Lankan Alexandrite is known for its high-quality, making it a favorite among collectors.


Sri Lankan Topaz is admired for its brilliant shine and various colors, including yellow, blue, and pink. It is often used as a substitute for more expensive gemstones such as yellow diamond.


Tourmaline is a versatile and durable gemstone, found in many colors, including pink, green, and blue. Sri Lankan Tourmalines are known for their vivid color and clarity, making them a popular choice for jewelry designers.


Sri Lankan Spinel comes in a variety of colors, including red, pink, and purple. It is a durable and affordable gemstone, making it an excellent choice for everyday wear. Sri Lankan Spinel is often used as an alternative to more expensive stones such as Ruby and Pink Sapphire.


Sri Lankan Garnet is known for its bright and intense red color. It is commonly used in gemstone jewelry and is a popular choice for those seeking an alternative to Ruby. Sri Lankan Garnet also comes in various shades of orange, green, and pink.

Fun Fact: Sri Lanka is one of the few countries where all four primary precious stones, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, and Diamond, can be found.

Famous Gemstones Found in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is renowned for producing some of the world’s most famous and valuable gemstones. Let’s take a closer look at the stories behind some of these treasures:

The Sri Lankan Blue Sapphire

Arguably the most famous gemstone to come out of Sri Lanka is the blue sapphire, also known as the Ceylon sapphire. This gemstone is known for its mesmerizing deep blue color, which is caused by the presence of iron and titanium in the crystal structure. Sri Lanka has been producing blue sapphires for thousands of years, and this gemstone has adorned the jewelry collections of royalty and celebrities alike. One of the most famous examples is the engagement ring given to Princess Diana by Prince Charles, which featured a 12-carat Ceylon blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds.

The Star of India

Another famous Sri Lankan gemstone is the Star of India, a massive sapphire that weighs 563 carats. This gemstone is known for its unique star pattern, which is caused by the presence of titanium and iron. The Star of India was discovered in Sri Lanka in the late 19th century and was later donated to the American Museum of Natural History, where it remains on display to this day.

The Logan Sapphire

The Logan Sapphire is another famous gemstone that has its roots in Sri Lanka. This stunning blue sapphire weighs an impressive 423 carats and is known for its exceptional clarity and deep blue color. The Logan Sapphire was discovered in Sri Lanka in the early 20th century and was later purchased by a wealthy American family. Today, it is part of the Smithsonian’s National Gem and Mineral Collection and is considered one of the finest sapphires in the world.

The Rosser Reeves Ruby

While Sri Lanka may be best known for its blue sapphires, the country is also home to some stunning rubies. One of the most famous is the Rosser Reeves Ruby, a 138-carat stone that was named after the advertising executive who owned it. This ruby was discovered in Sri Lanka in the 1950s and is known for its deep, blood-red color and exceptional clarity.

With its long history of producing high-quality gemstones, Sri Lanka has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most important sources of precious gems. The country’s gemstone industry plays a crucial role in the local economy and continues to be a major player in the global gem trade.

The Sri Lankan Gemstone Market

The gemstone market in Sri Lanka has a rich history and plays a crucial role in the global gem trade. Sri Lanka is famous for its high-quality gemstones, and the country’s gemstone industry is an integral part of its economy.

Ceylon Gemstones

Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is renowned for its production of Ceylon gemstones. These gemstones are known for their exceptional quality and are highly valued by collectors and connoisseurs. The term “Ceylon” is often used to describe gemstones that are sourced from Sri Lanka, including sapphires, rubies, and alexandrites.

The Gemstone Cutting and Polishing Industry

The cutting and polishing of gemstones are essential processes that enhance their beauty and value. Sri Lanka has a thriving gemstone cutting and polishing industry, with skilled artisans using traditional techniques to transform rough gemstones into exquisite finished products. The expertise of Sri Lankan gem cutters is highly regarded in the international market.

The Role of Certifications

The certification of gemstones is crucial in ensuring their authenticity and value. Organizations such as the Gemological Institute of America and the International Gemological Institute provide certifications for Sri Lankan gemstones, attesting to their quality and origin. These certifications play a vital role in the trade of Sri Lankan gemstones, providing assurance to buyers and protecting the integrity of the market.

Sri Lankan Gemstone Exports

Sri Lanka is a significant exporter of gemstones, with the industry accounting for a significant portion of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. Sri Lankan gemstones are highly sought after in the global market, with buyers from around the world seeking out these precious stones for their beauty and value. The country’s gemstone exports include a variety of gemstones, with sapphires and rubies being the most prominent.

The Sri Lankan gemstone market is a fascinating world of beauty, craftsmanship, and commerce. From the cutting and polishing of rough gemstones to the certification and export of finished products, the industry is a vital part of Sri Lanka’s economy and cultural heritage.


What gemstones are found in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is known for its wide range of gemstones, including the world-famous Ceylon blue sapphire, as well as rubies, alexandrites, tourmalines, and many more.

How long has gemstone mining been practiced in Sri Lanka?

Gemstone mining in Sri Lanka has a rich history dating back thousands of years.

What is the significance of the gem industry in Sri Lanka?

The gem industry is of great importance to the local economy in Sri Lanka, contributing to employment opportunities and valuable gemstone exports.

What are some famous gemstones found in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is known for producing famous gemstones such as the Sri Lankan blue sapphire, which has adorned the jewelry collections of royalty and celebrities.

How does the Sri Lankan gemstone market function?

The Sri Lankan gemstone market is dynamic and plays a crucial role in the global gem trade. It involves the cutting and polishing of gemstones, certifications, and the country’s gemstone exports.

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