cheaper than rubies, and the finest quality stones of medium size cost
about 1/10 of the value of similar rubies. In 1929, the sapphire
produced near Gwebin weighing 1,000 carats was purchased by Mr. A.
Ramsay for £13,000. He cut it into 9 magnificent sapphires weighing
from 66.50 to 4.33 metric carats. Star sapphires of excellent quality
and colour are also obtained.
is also renowned for its sapphires, and is one of the great gem
producing countries of the world. Ratnapura means a city of gems. The
sapphire occurs in a gravel known as the Illam resting on the surface of the decomposing country rock. Besides sapphire the Illam also
contains other semi-precious stones as amethyst, aquamarine,
chrysoberyl, garnet, moonstone, peridote, ruby, spinel, topaz,
tourmaline and zircon. The sapphires originate in quartz from
pegmatites cutting the gneissic series. The gems are found in all
deposits along the course of the present rivers or of those of ancient
times. The chief gem-mining districts are those about Balanguda,
Rakawana and Ratnapura. The annual output of gems in Ceylon is reported
to be worth 8 or 9 lakhs of rupees. Occasional discovery of large
stones cause this value to rise. The most valuable of the gems produced
in Ceylon are deep blue sapphires weighing from 200 to 7,200 carats.
Fine specimens up to 100 carats in weight are not uncommon. The
world's largest sapphire, 42 lb, in weight, came from Ceylon, and was
sent to England for cutting.
are known from Kashmir since 1881. They occur at Soomjam (Sumsam),
Padar district. The mines lie 2-1/2 miles W. 30° N. of Soomjam (the
highest village, consisting of a few houses on the south side of the
lofty hill ranges), dividing Zanskar from the Chenab drainage area. The
mines lie at a height of 14,800 to 14,950 ft. and the outcrops lie
hidden away in the higher and remoter parts of the mountains. They are