It’s hard being a farmer, until you take half a ton of sapphires out of the ground while digging a well… then being a farmer is pretty amazing.
A stone piled 2.5 million carats in star sapphire was discovered by workers digging a well on the island of Sri Lanka, a country that, like diamonds, underestimates its wealth.
The find painted light blue is called “Serendipity Sapphire” and could cost $140 million on the international market, pending inspection and certification by global experts.
“The man digging the well alerted us about some rare stones. We found this large specimen later,” Mr Gamage, the owner of the stone, told the BBC.
Gamage, who kept the information secret for obvious reasons, stated that while clearing the stone of mud and debris, some of the high-quality star sapphires had shifted, suggesting that these giant halftone stones, like the famous Bahia emerald, are not single structures, possibly hundreds of Star sapphires are related to other minerals.
City of Gems.
In a country blessed with beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife, tons of elephants, and as it is said, the mountains on which the Buddha of this time ascended to Buddhism, the gemstone trade in Sri Lanka is one of the most important in the world.
The island nation, no bigger than West Virginia, is the world’s leading exporter of sapphires and other gemstones, with half a billion sales last year as one of the top five gemstone producers.
Serendipity sapphires are mined in the Ratnapura region, a traditional gem mining area known for its production of star sapphires. The latter is considered the largest of all time, the “Star of Adam”, weighing 1,404 carets.
Ratnapura means “City of Gems” in Sinhalese, and even if a competitive sapphire market opens in Madagascar, Ratnapura remains the world capital of the gemstone trade.
“This is a special specimen of a star sapphire, perhaps the largest in the world. Given its size and value, we believe it will appeal to private collectors or museums,” Thilak Weerasinghe, chairman of Sri Lanka’s National Gem and Jewelery Authority, told the BBC.
Star sapphires contain a gemological feature known as asterism. Asterisms in gemstones occur when tiny scales or tips of other materials are left on the gemstone during its formation and create the effect when light is received from above of a shining six-pointed star. The most famous is the Star of India, which is currently housed in the American Museum of Natural History.