Police and special forces in Sri Lanka are reportedly being dispatched to an area about 220 kilometers southeast of Colombo to secure a massive deposit of blue sapphires that reportedly has been discovered. The area is located near the ancient town of Kataragama, which is better known a pilgrimage site that draws Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and indigenous Vedda people from across Sri Lanka and South India.
According to a local weekly, The Sunday Leader, the blue sapphire discovery was made along the Kataragama-Lunugamvehera road on February 15. The chairman of the National Gem and Jewelry Authority (NGJA), Prasad Galhena, said that it could be worth as much as $330 million, making it, in the words of the newspaper, "the largest ever gem pit found in one place in the entire world."
"We believe that the blue sapphires that were found here are of more worth than the famous Burmese blue sapphires and the Kashmir blue sapphires. We want these sapphires to be named Kataragama blue sapphires and for them to be recognized internationally," Galhena said.
Galhena said that team of experts the Gemological Institute of America are already in Sri Lanka at the invitation of NGJA to research the newly discovered blue sapphires and were expected to stay in the country for a period of three weeks. They would help provide a preliminary report on the chemical composition of the soil in which the gems are located and also provide a gemological profile of the sapphires.
"They will take some of these gems to the USA for further research as we do not have a sophisticated research institute in Sri Lanka," Galhena told the newspaper.
Reportedly a second gem pit was discovered in the Kataragama area about 10 days after the first find. Residents in the area identified the stones as topaz, and said that police had cordoned off the area.
Comments from our associate who helped the owner of All That Glitters during his November 2011 visit, had the following to say in an email earlier this year:
"The blue sapphire clear crystals which are supposed to be the best found in Sri lanka so far was detected in a mine down south of Colombo. There was so much of people trying to mine this area illegally and finally the government took it over immediately and auctioned 49 plots of the land for a record of US$2.25 Million." Another one of our important associates and negotiators did indeed purchase a plot and we are awaiting the results. Hopefully, All That Glitters will be able to obtain some fine Blue Sapphire in the future from this very new important strike!