A visit to Sri Lanka wouldn’t be complete without learning about their natural gems. And what an excellent excuse to treat oneself to a little gift to remember the trip!
As Sri Lanka is known for its precious and semi-precious stones, our tour group visited two gem stores near Kandy (one with an active mine) to learn more about these beauties and of course, shop for trinkets to take home.
The gem mines are deep vertical pits and with some nimble climbing and a rope and pulley system, the miners haul up bags of soil and sediment each day to sift in the water with a cane basket.
The blue sapphire is the most popular of the Sri Lankan gems, they also have a beautiful star sapphire which is so named because it displays a shimmery six-pointed star in its centre when held under light.
At these stores you can select and buy natural or treated gems, and even have jewellery made to your own specifications. At the first shop I picked out a star sapphire and had it set into a silver ring. At the next shop I bought a ring with a large blue moonstone, a gem that’s native to the area. You can check out my pretty gems here.
It was great to watch the jewellery maker delicately resize my ring by hand and gently polish the stone on a buffing machine. And now I have two beautiful rings that make me think of Sri Lanka whenever I wear them.
Do you like to buy keepsakes when you travel? I’d love to hear about your favourite holiday buys.
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