A star sapphire cluster worth up to $100million has been discovered in a Sri Lankan man’s backyard by workmen who were digging a well.
The pale blue stone was found in the garden of gem trader Mr Gamage in Ratnapura, south Sri Lanka.
It weighs 510kg, a total of 2.5million carats, and was named the ‘Serendipity Sapphire’, the BBC reported.
Mr Gamage said he ‘stumbled upon this huge specimen’ after workmen told him they had uncovered some rare stones.
The find turned out to be a sapphire cluster, a group of stones bound together by mud or clay.
A star sapphire cluster worth up to $100million has been discovered in a Sri Lankan man’s backyard by workmen who were digging a well
Authorities took more than a year to certify the gem after spending months clearing the stone of mud and other impurities.
Several high quality star sapphires fell out of the cluster while it was cleaned. Experts have not yet determined how many gems in the cluster are high quality.
Blue star sapphires are known for having a star in the middle due to a light reflection phenomenon called asterism.
The Ratnapura region is known for producing high quality gems and several other valuable stones have been discovered in the area.
The country’s gem industry, a world leader, has suffered as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but experts hope the newly found stone will bring a much needed boost.
‘Given the size and its value, we think it will interest private collectors or museums’, Thilak Weerasinghe, Chairman of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka, said.
He added the cluster was ‘probably the biggest in the world’.
Britain’s Princess Diana wore an engagement ring made from a blue oval sapphire from Sri Lanka encircled with diamonds, while Prince William’s bride Kate Middleton wore a similar sapphire and diamond cluster, also using a Sri Lankan stone.
Sri Lanka exported $500million worth of gems and jewelry in 2020, government figures show.
It is famous for precious stones, especially sapphires, which come in shades of blue, pink, yellow, violet, white, green and orange.
Prince William’s bride Kate Middleton wore a similar sapphire and diamond cluster, also using a Sri Lankan stone