Gemstones Varieties Found in Sri Lanka
Updated: Feb 18, 2021
Identifying the gemstone variety is one of the crucial steps to custom gem cutting. Although there are over 200 varieties of gemstones are found in Sri Lanka, in this article let’s discuss 5 of the most prominent varieties.
Corundum is one of the most sought-after family of gemstones in the world. It is the second hardest mineral after diamonds and include rubies and sapphires. Rubies and sapphires have the same scientific composition, with just a difference in color. While rubies are formed in red, Sapphires take many different colors. Blue Sapphires of Sri Lanka are the most popular of all, adoring the family jewels of Royal families of the world.
Emeralds, Aquamarines and Red Beryls belong to the Beryl family of gemstones and they make some of the rarest and most precious gemstones in the world. Emeralds are Beryls with a deep green color. Light green Beryls are simply called "Green Beryl.” Aquamarines, on the other hand, have a greenish-blue color. The most expensive and rarest Beryl of the entire family is the Red Beryl, found only in two localities in Utah.
When a Beryl is chemically pure, it takes a colorless, transparent form. However, the traces of other elements or impurities present in a Beryl gives it a diverse range of colours from yellow to green to red, pink and blue.
Chrysoberyl, also known as the Cat's-Eye and Alexandrite, is the third-hardest gem mineral found in the world. Most Chrysoberyl stones found in Sri Lanka are transparent to translucent without the unique chatoyancy effect. However, when shaped and polished into cabochons that best display their spectacular eyes, they make wonderful, faceted stones that are in high demand.
Natural spinel has always been a rare and beautiful gem admired by educated consumers for its natural beauty. Once mistakenly identified as a Corundum, Spinel is now rightfully classified for its unique chemical composition. Spinel, however, is found in abundance in Sri Lanka, making Sri Lanka the second largest Spinel supplier to the global gem and jewelry market. Found in a myriad of colors ranging from ruby red, pink, orange, shades of reddish-brown, purple, blue, bluish-green, mauve, greenish-black, black and colorless, Spinel is used as a great simulant for other gems in class rings and birthstone jewelry.
The garnet family consists of several species and varieties of precious stones, making it one of the highly complex gems in the world. They don’t have a pure state like other minerals. Instead they are mixed with other garnet species, giving them the names solid-state series or a blend. Red garnets are very popular in jewelry making but garnets can be found in just about any color except blue. Commercially important varieties of garnets found in Sri Lanka include Almandine, Grossular, Pyrope and Spessartine.