Uncovering the Vibrant Gem Industry in Sri Lanka


The beautiful island “Rathna-Deepa” which translates to Gem Island is a major hub for most precious gems in the world. Sri Lanka is one of the world’s biggest gem producers and has been admired for its gems for several centuries.The Gem industry in Sri Lanka has been in existence for more than 2,500 years.

A Sri Lanka gem tour will offer you a comprehensive overview of the gems in this country.

Types of Gemstones

Sri Lanka is being top gem bearing countries in the world, with the highest density of over 75 types of gemstones, precious and semi-precious gemstones.

  • Ruby
  • Sapphire
  • Aquamarine
  • Cymophane
  • Alexandrite
  • Spinel
  • Garnet
  • Tourmaline
  • Topaz
  • Zircon
  • Amethyst
  • Rose Quartz
  • Agate
  • Citrine
  • Moonstone

The overwhelming majority of gem deposits contained in Sri Lanka are sedimentary in nature. And over 90% of the island is made up of Precambrian metamorphic rocks and can be split into four main segments:

  • Highland Group
  • Western Vijayan Complex
  • Southwest Group
  • Eastern Vijayan Complex



Rubies are the most valuable gemstone variety in the Corundum mineral species. It is also called “Ratna Raja” meaning the king of Gem.  A ruby is a pink to blood-red coloured gemstone. Ruby’s distinctive red color is caused by chromium presence. It is believed that red colour of the rubies describes love, passion, energy, protection, prosperity strength and power to the wearer making the most critical stones in the crowns of many kingdoms. Because of that ruby takes the place in royal families especially in the Royal Collection of England.  A gold ring set with a pale but nearly flawless ruby into which a portrait of Louis XII of France is carved can be seen.

Blue Sapphire


Ceylon blue sapphires are popular across the world due to its natural characteristics such as bright colour, purity, glowing and density which other countries cannot replicate. World largest blue sapphires are all from Sri Lanka. Sapphires belong to the family of the mineral corundum. This type is widely used in engagement rings and other fine jewelry. With a hardness of 9.0, Sapphire is the second hardest natural mineral. Blue is by far the most popular color for sapphires, but they can be almost any color, including yellow, green, white, pink, orange, brown, and purple. The rarest of all is known as Padmaraga, a rare orange-pink variety of sapphire and has a higher value than blue sapphires.

Pricing of blue sapphire differs from various factors including origin, colour, size, cut, translucent, purity, and treatment (heat treated or natural). Sri Lanka blue sapphires cherished globally taking places in the engagement ring of Princess Diana.

Yellow Sapphire


Yellow sapphire, locally known as ‘Pushparaga’ are the second most rarely found sapphires in Sri Lanka.The term pushpa means flower; as raga is color and also means pollen, hence Pushparaga is the ‘color of pollen’. Yellow sapphires are intense, bright stones varying from pale yellow to saffron yellow. According to Vedic astrology, this type of sapphires made into engagement rings, other rings and Jewels worn by Indian young women in expecting perfect partners during their lifetime. It has been linked as a symbol of success, marital bliss, improved will power and healthy progeny.



Alexandrite is a variety of Chrysoberyl is one of the rare and precious of coloured stone among the others in the collection. Alexandrite is green or bluish-green in daylight, changing to raspberry red or violet red in glowing light. Sri Lanka is one of the best producers of this astonishing stone along with Russia, Tanzania, Brazil, India, and Zambia.

This colour change is primarily due to the how chromium iron absorbs and reflects the lights in three different directions. Human eye sight is commonly sensitive to green as a result of that most alexandrite will favor the colour of green.

Star Stones


Start sapphires or rubies are originates from the corundum family). Star sapphires range in color from grey to bluish-grey and from medium blue to medium dark blue. When light falls on these stones, a star effect is visible (known as asterism). Star Sapphires naturally occur in a hexagon, six sided crystal.

Star Sapphires have a major influence on its price based on the factors like overall colour and clarity. The best star Sapphires will have a blue transparent body with a nice deep blue colour and a sharp and vibrant star.

Buying Gems in Sri Lanka

Rathnapura is the central city of gem business in Sri Lanka. Jewellery development in Sri Lanka has grown up to the international standards. Some of the most popular gemstones found in the country are chrysoberyl, zircon, tourmaline, beryl, spinel, topaz, granite, sapphire, and, of course, ruby. Sri Lankan gems are the most famous products among tourists. Many travelers visit Sri Lanka ready to purchase gems.