Valuable Gemstones in Sri Lanka

From time immemorial, the Sri Lankan gem trade has a remarkable place. Therefore, Sri Lanka is also known as ‘Ratna Deepa.’ In the twelfth century, Marco Polo wrote about Ceylon in his letter:” Sri Lankan rivers and streams are containing thousands of Pearls with it. which the island is small in size but very precious.” Ptolemy stated that the Sapphire and Beryl were the mainstays of the gem industry in Ceylon in the past, and Arab and Persian traders came to Ceylon to export Pearls in the fourth and fifth centuries”.

According to the Geographical structure, Sri Lanka is an ancient island. Ninety percent of its rocks are dated back to the pre-Cambrian era (approximately 560 to 2400 million years ago). Among these rocks, the formation of gemstones due to the long term alterations in the calcium deposits, igneous rocks, and mud deposits.

Most of the gemstones are found in the rivers. Sri Lanka has the most significant probability of finding gems in terms of land area. Ratnapura (city of gems), which is in high demand for gemstones, is named after the area’s reputation for the precious gem trade.

Common gems found in Sri Lanka are Corundum (Ruby, Sapphire), Beryl (Emeralds, Aquamarine), Chrysoberyl (Cymophane, Alexandrite), Spinel, Garnet, Tourmaline, Topaz, Zircon, Quartz (Amethyst, Rose Quartz, Agate, Citrine), Feldspar (Moonstone), and more.

Ruby

Chromium Oxide (CrO) gives the identity red for Ruby

Ruby

One of the most valuable gemstones in Sri Lanka is Ruby. The chemical compound present in the Ruby is aluminum oxide. The color varies as mixed orange-red to mixed purple-red. The presence of Chromium Oxide (CrO) gives the identity red for Ruby, and the presence of Iron additional to CrO gives mixed purple-red. The better quality stones are available in Embilipiya and Udawalawe areas. 

Ruby has a smoother surface; therefore, the friction is very low than other materials. This behavior helps produce moving parts in mechanical watches. Ruby can transmit the light from one location to another with the least energy loss. Therefore it is used as a primary component in laser lights. Also, Ruby used in the jewelry industry.

Sapphire

Unique color, purity, and brilliance

Blue Sapphire

Sapphires in Sri Lanka have a unique place among the sapphires because of their unique color, purity, and brilliance. Sri Lanka provides high quality of luxury sapphire to the world market. The chemical compound present in the Sapphire is Aluminium Oxide (Al2O3). Additional to the Al2O3, trace amounts of metals such as Iron, Chromium, Titanium, Vanadium, and Magnesium are present and gives a distinct color to the Sapphire. The color varies as blue,  violet, yellow, pink, green, and orange. Bibile, Elehara, and central parts of the country are the sources of Sapphire.

The attraction of the Sapphire leads to use it as a main component in most of the jewelry, such as necklaces, bracelets, and rings. It is also an essential centerpiece gemstone in rings. Sapphire is an insulator; therefore, it is used in IR optical components, mechanical watches, thin electronic wafers, and LED bulbs.

Emerald

Most famed jewelry gemstone

Emerald

The chemical elements present in the Emerald are Beryllium, Aluminum, and Silicon. The chemical formula is Be3Al2Si6O18. The color of Emerald is varying as mixed yellowish-green to mixed blueish Green. The primary color of Emerald is green, which is caused by a trace amount of Chromium and Vanadium, and secondary colors are Yellow and blue. The Emerald can found in the Ratnapura district of Sri Lanka.

Emerald is using as one of the most famed jewelry gemstones in Sri Lanka. 

Aquamarine

All types of jewelry contain Aquamarine gemstone

Aquamarine

The chemical compounds present in the Aquamarine are Beryllium, Aluminum, and Silicon with the formula of  Be3Al2Si6O18. The color of Aquamarine varies as mixed greenish-blue to blue color. Iron is the responsible element for the blue color of Aquamarine. The intensity of the blue may change from dark blue to light blue. The value of Aquamarine is depended on the color intensity. Therefore, the price of darker blue is comparatively higher than the others. Aquamarine can found in Rathnapura, Hatton, Morawaka, Rakwana, Matara, Galle, Nawalapitiya, and Tissamaharama in Sri Lanka.

All types of jewelry contain Aquamarine gemstone, and it will give a stunning look to the jewels. Aquamarine is perfectly suiting with gold, silver, and platinum. Therefore the style of jewelry will attract the customers easily. Consequently, it’s very easy to vend Aquamarine in markets.

Cymophane

Are used to decorate jewelry and used as an ornamental

Cymophane

The common name of the Cymophane is the “cat’s eye.” The chemical elements present in the Cymophane are Beryllium, Aluminium, and Oxygen (BeAl2O4). The color varies as green, mixed green-white, mixed yellow-green, mixed green-brown, yellow, and blue. Cymophane is can found as either opaque or translucent. Cymophane gemstones are distributed in Rakwana, Rathnapura, Deniyaya, Elahera, Pelawatte, Horana, Agalawaththa, Aluthgama, Panadura, Ambalantota, and Bulathsinghala.

The Cymophane are used to decorate jewelry and used as an ornamental.

Alexandrite

Uniqueness and rarity

Alexandrite

The chemical elements present in the Cymophane are Beryllium, Aluminium, and Oxygen with the chemical formula of BeAl2O4. Chromium ion (Cr3+) or Iron (Fe3+) may content as an impurity and give the color change from green to red. The unique property of the some Alexandrite is, the color of the gemstone may vary respect to the wavelengths of light. The Sri Lankan Alexandrites are naturally showing color changing property. Alexandrites are widely distributed in Balangoda and Ratnapura (Sabaragamuwa Province) of Sri Lanka

Due to Alexandrite’s durability, uniqueness and rarity, it is used to make precious and high-quality jewelry. The gemstone is beautiful and gives a royal look in both day and night times, so the bracelets, rings, and necklaces, which are made by Alexandrite, are straightforward to sell.

Spinel

Blue Spinel

Comparatively, the gemstone found a large abundance in Sri Lanka is Spinel. The chemical elements present in Spinel are Magnesium, Aluminum, and Oxygen. (MgAl2O4). The color varies as colorless to black. Red, orange, orange, pink, mixed red-brown, mixed blue-green, purple, blue, and mixed green-black are some standard colors of Spinel. The mixture of Cobalt and Spinel will exhibit the Blue color. Ratnapura, Okkampitiya, and Embilipitiya are the areas where the Spinel can found in Sri Lanka.

Spinel is used as a gemstone, ceramic materials, refractories, and catalysts.

Garnet

Garnet

The typical chemical formula of the Garnet is X3Z2(SiO4)3. In this formula, X may Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, or Manganese, and Z may Aluminum, Iron, Chromium, or Vanadium. A trace amount of Tin also may present. Garnet shows more than twenty varieties of crystals, which are dependent on the composition of the Garnet. Almandine, Grossular, Pyrope, Spessartine are some varieties of Garnets available in Sri Lanka. Garnets can found in the Ratnapura district.

Garnet sand shows well angular forms in it; therefore, it is used in water jets to cut the steels efficiently. The size of Garnet sand is in the micrometer range; consequently, it can use as a water filtration media. Some are wearing Garnet as a lucky stone. 

Tourmaline

Tourmaline can generate electricity under high pressure

Tourmaline

The typical chemical formula of the Garnet is A(D3)G6(Si6O18)(BO3)3X3Z. In this formula A may Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Lead, or it is a large cation. D may Aluminum, Iron, Lithium, Magnesium, or Titanium. G may Aluminium, Chromium, Iron, or Vanadium. X may Oxygen, and Z may Fluorine or Oxygen. The color of the Tourmaline varies as mixed blackish-green to deep red. The Iron and Chromium ions are exhibit color changes. Tourmalines can found in Ratnapura, Lunugala, Passara, and Bibile in Sri Lanka.

It is possible to cut the Tourmaline into all styles and forms; therefore, it is widely used as a Jewelry gemstone. Tourmaline can generate electricity under high pressure (Piezoelectric nature); consequently, it is the main component in pressure gauges.

Topaz

High hardness and varieties of colors

Topaz

The chemical elements present in the Topaz are Aluminium, Silicon, Oxygen, Fluorine, and Hydrogen. The chemical formula is Al2(SiO4)(F,OH)2. Topazes are available in both colored and colorless forms. The color may vary as red, pink, mixed yellow-brown, yellow, green, blue, and white. The red and pink Topazes are more valuable varieties in the market, and they are called as Imperial Topaz. Topazes are widely found in Matale, Polwatta, Rattota, Balangoda, and Ratnapura in Sri Lanka.

The properties of high hardness and varieties of colors of Topaz lead to manufacturing the most attractive jewelry. Also, It is used to cut the other gemstones as well.

Zircon

Zircon

The chemical formula of the Zircon is Zr(SiO4). The elements present are Zirconium, Silicon, and Oxygen with a trace amount of Uranium, Lead, Hafnium, and Phosphorus. The purest form of Zircon is colorless, and the color of impurity Zircon may vary as blue, grey, yellow, green, mixed red-brown, and brown, black. The purest Zircon can found in Matara, and it is also called Matara Zircon.

Amethyst

Use in the jewelry industry

Amethyst

Amethyst is a variety of a Quartz mineral; therefore, its standard chemical formula is SiO2. The chemical elements present in the Amethyst are Silicon and Oxygen. The color range from violet to purple and the impurity Iron is exhibiting the varieties of color. Embilipitiya, Ratnapura, and Avissawella are the primary sources of Amethyst.

Amethyst is a low precious gemstone since it is used in the jewelry industry.

Rose Quartz

A semi-precious gemstone

Rose Quartz

Sri Lanka is an essential source for the excellent quality of Rose Quartz rocks. Rose Quartz is a variety of a Quartz mineral; therefore, its standard chemical formula is SiO2. The chemical elements present in the Rose Quartz are Silicon and Oxygen. The color range from light pink to dark pink. Kandy, Rakwana, and Ratnapura are the primary sources of Rose Quartz in Sri Lanka.

Rose Quartz is a semi-precious gemstone since the flat surfaces of the stone are used in the jewelry industry.

Agate

Agate

Agate is a kind of microcrystalline Quartz. The standard chemical formula is SiO2. The chemical elements present in the Agate are Silicon and Oxygen. Agate shows varieties of colors such as yellow, black, pink, grey, red, and white. The impurities such as Iron oxide, Manganese oxide, Titanium oxide, Chromium Oxide, and Nickel oxide are exhibiting a variety of colors. Ratnapura and Enbilipitya are the primary sources of Agate in Sri Lanka.

Citrine

Citrine

The standard chemical formula of the Citrine is SiO2. The chemical elements present in the Citrine are Silicon and Oxygen. Citrine shows the color range from yellow to orange. Commonly Citrine is a very rare gemstone in nature. Ratnapura is the primary source of Citrine in Sri Lanka.

Moonstone

Moonstone

Moonstones are expensive stones in the class of Feldspar minerals. Moonstone is a mixture of Potassium feldspar (KAlSi3O8), Albite (NaAlSi3O8), and Anorthite (CaAl2Si2O8). Comparatively, the quality of semi-transparent moonstones is higher than in others. Meetiyagoda, Ambakotte, and Ratnapura are the primary source of Moonstone in Sri Lanka.

Moonstone is an ancient and well known inexpensive gemstone. Therefore, commonly it is used in the jewelry industry, such as beads and pendants manufacture.

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