Star sapphire cluster worth up to $100MILLION is discovered in Sri Lankan man’s backyard by workmen digging a well
- The star sapphire cluster was found in a backyard in Ratnapura, South Sri Lanka
- Light blue stone, called ‘Serendipity Sapphire’ weighs 510 kg or 2.5 million carats
- The cluster has an estimated value of $100 million in the international market
Workmen digging a well have discovered a star sapphire cluster worth up to $100 million in a Sri Lankan man’s backyard.
The light blue stone was found in the garden of gem merchant Mr Gamage in Ratnapura, South Sri Lanka.
It weighs 510 kg, a total of 2.5 million carats, and was called the ‘Serendipity Sapphire’, the BBC reported.
Mr Gamage, who only gave his first name for security reasons, said he “came across this huge specimen” after workmen told him they had discovered rare stones.
The find turned out to be a sapphire cluster, a group of rocks connected by mud or clay.
A sapphire cluster worth up to $100 million has been discovered in a Sri Lankan man’s backyard by workmen digging a well
Authorities took more than a year to certify the gem after months of clearing the stone of mud and other impurities.
Several high quality sapphires fell from the cluster while it was being cleaned. Experts have not yet determined how many gems in the cluster are of high quality.
Blue sapphires are known for having a star in the center because of a light reflection phenomenon called asterism.
The Ratnapura region is known for producing high quality gemstones and several other valuable stones have been discovered in the area.
The country’s gem industry, a world leader, has suffered from the Covid-19 pandemic, but experts hope the newly found stone will provide a much-needed boost.
“Given its size and value, we think it will be of interest to private collectors or museums,” said Thilak Weerasinghe, chairman of the National Gem and Jewelery Authority of Sri Lanka.
He added that the cluster was “probably the largest in the world.”
Britain’s Princess Diana wore an engagement ring made of a blue oval sapphire from Sri Lanka encircled with diamonds, while Kate Middleton, Prince William’s bride, wore a similar sapphire and diamond cluster, also featuring a Sri Lankan stone.
Sri Lanka exported $500 million worth of gemstones and jewelry in 2020, government figures show.
It is known for gemstones, especially sapphires, which come in shades of blue, pink, yellow, violet, white, green, and orange.
Kate Middleton, Prince William’s bride, wore a similar sapphire and diamond cluster, also featuring a Sri Lankan stone