This list of top 5 Ceylon gems are compiled including gems that are rumored to be of Sri Lankan origin, but sadly changed ownership during the reign of colonization of the British and other Empires. Despite, Sri Lanka no longer being the owner of most of these gems, nobody can deny that it it really was mined from the rich lands of Ceylon.
Gems of Ceylon
The beautiful teardrop shaped island situated in the Indian Ocean holds one of the most valuable gemstones in the world. Also known as Ceylon, Sri Lanka is mostly famous for its exquisite blue sapphires. But there are also many other gems that are very valuable, like rubies, yellow sapphires, cat’s eyes, and many more.
Famous gems of Ceylon have decorated the crowns of the Queen of England and even worn by princesses of the monarch. Ceylon gems are some of the most sought-after gems in the world. Let’s look at the top 5 Ceylon gems, some of the most famous and valuable of Sri Lankan gemstones
Top 5 Ceylon Gems
1. Giant of the Orient
The first among the top 5 Ceylon gems list, the giant blue sapphire is reported to have been found near Adam’s peak in 1902. It weighed a whopping 600 carats when found. After a local cutter cut and polished the stone, it weighed 466 carats. This is the rarest and largest faceted blue sapphire of its time. It’s an intense blue and orange-red under ultra-violet light.
In 1902, the stone was valued at $7000. The stone had been sold to an American private collector in 1907 and promptly disappeared from view. It was only a hundred years later the gem made a reappearance in 2004 in Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction catalog. The stone failed to be sold at Christie’s auction but was later sold to a British buyer and disappeared from the public eye again.
2. Logan Blue Sapphire
This could be the largest blue sapphire in the world. The Logan blue sapphire is flawless internally and weighs 423 carats. The stone was found and cut in Sri Lanka, which is testimony to the gem-cutting and mining industry that dates over two millennia. Currently, this cushion-cut sapphire is set with twenty white diamonds surrounding it, adding to the stupendous sparkle of the jewel.
The stone shows a reddish ultraviolet fluorescence under ultraviolet radiation. According to GIA’s statement, the diamond has occurred naturally and has not been heat treated. Currently, this stone resides in the Smithsonian Institution’s Natural Museum of natural history in Washington.
3. Blue Bella of Asia
The blue Bella of Asia is a 400-carat cornflower blue sapphire discovered in Ratnapura, Sri Lanka, a district that is famous for gems. It was founded in 1926. It was named ‘Belle’ after the extraordinary beauty of the sapphire. This stone was previously owned by Lord Naffeild of Britain. It reappeared at Christie’s auction in Geneva. And the stone had been recut to weigh 395.52 carats and was mounted on a diamond necklace. The stone was sold for $17.29 at an auction in 2014.
4. Star of Lanka
This gemstone is a milky blue sapphire with six distinct ray stars. This gem is believed to be of Sri Lankan origin as its land is rich in blue sapphires. There is a 60% possibility that any blue sapphire over the weight of hundred carats is of Sri Lankan origin. So the authorities of the Royal Ontario Museum have named the gem star of Lanka.
Another precious stone called the star of India is also believed to be of Sri Lankan origin, though it was named as Star of India by the Smithsonian Museum. The Star of Lanka is 193 carats and was discovered in the 20th century in Ceylon. The stone looks grayish blue in color and is opaque and milky. The stone has an oval, cabochon-cut high domed with six distinct patterns of rays extending its arms down to the base. It was owned by Allan Kaplan and was sold to the Royal Ontario Museum in 1958.
5. Pride of Sri Lanka
The Pride of Sri Lanka is an enormous blue sapphire found in the gem mines of Marapanna, near Ratnapura, in 1988. It weighs 856 carats. This stone is possibly the largest blue sapphire ever found in Sri Lanka. But according to Ms. Leelawathie Darmadasa, one of the shareholders of the stone, there were bigger and better stones mined in Ratnapura, but those were sold in the black market to avoid tax. The precious gem was displayed in a glass box at an exhibition and displayed to potential buyers separately. But since then, there has been no news about the stone’s owner or whereabouts.
There are many gems of Ceylon that are the pride of the small island, though I have mentioned only the top 5 Ceylon gems of the world. Despite its size, Sri Lanka is said to have the highest density of precious stones compared to the landmass of any other country in the world. But sadly, since many of these stones were found during the colonial era, they ended up in the crowns and jewelry of colonializing countries or were secretly sold in the black market and disappeared from view.
Read this article for a journey through the amazing moonstone mines of Sri Lanka!