By Vladyslav Y. Yavorskyy


Known as the “Island of Gems,” Sri Lanka (Ceylon) has been a rich source of precious stones for more than 2,500 years. Indeed, for many fine gems, Sri Lanka may have been the original source.
Historical evidence suggests gemstones were an important item of commerce in Sri Lanka from early times. The Mahavamsa mentions a gem-encrusted throne owned by the Naga king before the Aryans conquered the island in 543 bc. Indeed, Buddha himself is said to have had to intercede when two kings fought over this throne. And legend has it that King Solomon, the epitome of biblical wisdom, had precious stones brought from Cey­lon to woo the beautiful Queen Sheba.
Included among the Island’s gem wealth is spinel, which is found across the southern half of the country. Sri Lanka’s spinels occur in a variety of hues, including rich plum colors, pinks and, rarely, in stunning cobalt blues.
Also found are phenomenal spinels, including star and cat’s eye stones. -

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