In both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, gemstones are given significant mention. In Exodus, the breastplate of the Jewish high priest contained 12 stones in four rows of three each to represent the 12 tribes of Israel. At the end of Bible, in Revelation, St. John describes the 12 beautiful gemstones that were laid in the foundation of the New Jerusalem.
During the first century, Flavius Josephus connected specific gemstones to the signs of the zodiac. Wearing the right stone each month would ensure access to special heading or magical powers. Those who could afford such luxury collected all 12 stones so that we're adequately empowered and protected throughout the year.
Later, Jewish gem traders in Poland or jewelers in Germany may have created the first birth stones listings, which were quickly popularized in poetry. The famous jewelry business Tiffany & Co. Published one of several Gregorian Birth Stone Poems in 1870. Specific qualities were assigned to the gems as they were matched with months of the year. A modern list was created in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers and updated in 1952.
While the truth is that a gemstone is probably little more than a lovely piece of Mother Nature's handiwork.
Gems have been first recorded in the historical traditions of the Island 500 BC. Therefore Sri Lanka's gem mining industry is one of the oldest of its kind in the world.
Sri Lanka’s gem industry has a very long and colorful history. Sri Lanka was affectionately known as Ratna-Dweepa which means Gem Island. The name is a reflection of its natural wealth. Marco Polo wrote that the island had the best sapphires, topazes, amethysts, and other gems in the world.Ptolemy, the 2nd century astronomer recorded that beryl and sapphire were the mainstay of Sri Lanka’s gem industry. Records from sailors that visited the island states that they brought back “jewels of Serendib”. Serendib was the ancient name given to the island by middle – eastern and Persian traders that crossed the Indian Ocean to trade gems from Sri Lanka to the East during the 4th and 5th century.
Sri Lanka, geologically speaking is an extremely old country. Ninety percent of the rocks of the island are of Precambrian age, 560 million to 2,400 million years ago. The gems form in sedimentary residual gem deposits, eluvial deposits, metamorphic deposits, skarn and calcium-rich rocks. Other gems are of magmatic origin.
Most of the world's celebrated colored precious gems which have become the national treasures of many a great country have been discovered in Sri Lanka.
- The largest, the second largest and the third largest Blue sapphires in the world
- The largest Star Ruby
- The world's largest Chrysoberyl cat's eye
- The fourth largest Alexandrite
- The second and the third largest Star Sapphires
Sri Lanka produces the largest variety of gemstones in the world no less than 46 of the 60 varieties. The United States possess a collection of gemstones. In this world famous collection no less than 30 out of a total of 38 are Sri Lanka Origin. This is an old time record in the history of gems.