Sapphire is a precious gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum, consisting of aluminum oxide with trace amounts of elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, copper, or magnesium.
Sapphire deposits are found in Eastern Australia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam, Madagascar, Greenland, East Africa, and in North America in mostly in Montana. Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and Kashmir produce large quantities of fine quality Sapphires for the world market. Sapphires are mined from alluvial deposits or from primary underground workings.
Gemstone mining in Sri Lanka is mostly from secondary deposits. The gravels yield sapphire, ruby, cat’s-eye, chrysoberyls, spinel, garnet, beryl, tourmaline, topaz, quartz, and many other gemstones.
Besides the well-known Pangaea, which existed about 300 million years ago, there were several other supercontinents in Earth’s early history. Their assembly and breakup cycles helped form most of the world’s gem deposits. Some of these cycles are directly related to gem formation in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s long history and culture in gem mining and faceting have long given life to an artisan culture, which still sustains the skills required to maintain a winning industry. Sri Lanka has been well known as a high-quality cutting and polishing destination with competitive pricing and still maintains a reputation as one of the best cutting centres for service cutting in the world. A skilled cutter can make slight angle adjustments to the table to achieve a fine color with a higher weight yield.
Sri Lankan lapidarists are not only specialised for free size and precision cutting but has capability in producing stones as small as 1mm, 2mm, 3mm of a millimetre with zero or very low tolerance according to technical drawings supplied by the customers. At present, Sri Lankan lapidaries are catering to a highly prestigious clientele in the watch and jewellery industry including Rolex, Mont Blanc, Bvlgari, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., etc.