More than 90% of Sri lanka’s island is made out of precambrian era metamorphic rocks, metamorphism is a process that involves the transition of existing rock into new types of rock. Temperatures of more than 150 to 200 °C, as well as tremendous pressure is applied to the original rock, generating significant physical and chemical changes.
The island of Sri Lanka, famously known as Ceylon, has a well seasoned 2000 year old history in the gem industry. Sri Lanka is a tropical island off the southern tip of India in the Indian Ocean, one of the best tropical travel destinations in the world, With its plethora of corundum ( Sapphire & Ruby ) gems, chrysoberyl and alexandrite, garnet, moonstone, peridot, and spinel, Sri Lanka has acquired the nickname "Gem Island" or "Island of Gems"]
In Sri Lanka, gem mining is predominantly based on alluvial secondary deposits discovered in gem-bearing river gravels, old flood plains and streams that are now covered with fertile farmland and terraced rice fields. Alluvial is material deposited by rivers. It consists of silt, sand, clay, and gravel, as well as much organic matter.
The name ‘Ratnapura’, is a Sanskrit word meaning “city of gems “, from the Sanskrit words ” pura” (town) and “ ratna” (gemstone). Ratnapura district is the heart & soul of the gem industry of Sri Lanka, the city is the very first region to mine Sapphire gems. Also key mining sites such as Bibile sapphire mines , Elahera Gem Fields , Metiyagoda moonstone mines, Morawaka , Nuwara Eliya mines , and Pelmadulla sapphire mines are located across the island strengthening gem exports of Sri Lanka.
Hussain & Sons’s gem mining operations are primarily focused in mining corundum gems such as Blue Sapphire, Padparadscha Sapphire (a.k,a King Sapphire / Salmon Sapphire) & Pink Sapphire. The sheer amount of work that the workers go through to mine these gemstones are truly remarkable. The sight of workers working in perfect harmony is absolutely awe-inspiring, however it`s not as glamorous for these workers who work at the mining site. The nature of the job requires immense physical strength and stamina, they also have to be able to tolerate claustrophobic and other harsh environments. Teams of strong men hand dig deep mining trenches that sometimes can be almost as deep as 50 feet while pumping out most of the water that seeps underneath the ground, after that it’s game time..! The slurry is then carefully scanned for gemstones while sluicing with cone shaped baskets. The basket is moved around until the heavier stones sink to the bottom.
Sri Lankan trade and statutory framework is opposed to large-scale gemstone mining. They believe that conventional small-scale miners are less damaging to the environment and provide a more consistent source of work for more people. The landowner, the holder of the mining rights, the person who supplies the water pump to remove water from the pit, and the miners are generally all actively engaged in the industry. They are all paid a portion of the revenue from the selling of the gemstones.
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