The island of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is a land blessed with rich gem deposits. Home to world’s oldest gem mines, Sri Lanka has become most well-known as one of the top producers of high quality, naturally sourced sapphires. Ceylon sapphires, as they’re often referred to, are known for their vivid color and tend to be more valuable than those found in other areas.
The origins of sapphires and other gemstones in Sri Lanka goes back millions of years. Through naturally occurring processes of heat and pressure, sapphires formed within both igneous and metamorphic rocks.
Sapphires have been mined in Sri Lanka for thousands of years. Historical accounts date Ceylon sapphire mining to the 2nd century in the modern Common Era (C.E.). International trade of Ceylon gems became evident by the 4th and 5th centuries C.E. and continues in abundance today.
Among the major gemstone mining regions in Sri Lanka is Ratnapura, known as the city of gems. Ratnapura boasts the most dense gem deposits in the country, marking the center for all gem mining and trading. Home to countless miners, craftsman and merchants, the very culture of this region is defined by the gem trade. Sapphires from Ratnapura are some of the most sought-after stones in the world. It is from here that The Stone of Great Faith emerged.