Largest star sapphire cluster found

Web DeskWeb Editor

27th Jul, 2021. 08:38 pm

Sri Lankan authorities say the world’s largest star sapphire cluster has been found in a backyard – by accident which projected of having a worth of $100 million, agencies reported on Tuesday.

A gem trader said the stone was found by workmen digging a well in his home in the gem-rich Ratnapura area. Experts say the stone, which is pale blue in colour, has an estimated value of up to $100 million in the international market.

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

“The person who was digging the well alerted us about some rare stones. Later we stumbled upon this huge specimen,” said Gamage, the owner of the stone who did not want to give his full name or location for security reasons.

Gamage, who is a third-generation gem trader, informed authorities about the find, but it took more than a year to clean the stone of mud and other impurities before they could analyse and certify it.

During the cleaning process, Gamage said some stones fell out of the cluster and they were found to be high quality star sapphires.

Sri Lanka is a leading exporter of sapphires and other precious gems whereas Ratnapura, which means city of gems in Sinhalese, is known as the gem capital of the South Asian country.

Last year, the country earned around half a billion dollars through the export of gems, cut diamonds and jewellery.

The find comes as Sri Lanka’s gem industry has suffered losses as a result of pandemic induced lockdowns.

Those working in the industry hope the “Serendipity Stone” will now attract international buyers and experts.

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