CEYLON ALEXANDRITE; RUBY MINING. 409
(From the " Ceylon Observer," January lltft, 1887.) Discovery or a Large Alexandrite.—Galle,
ioth January.—From Weligama comes the news that a Moorish priest
(Mowlana) has found an Alexandrite weighing 1,876 carats, for which he
has declined an offer of RlO.OOO. It is his intention to cut the stone
into suitable sizes.
THE CEYLON ALEXANDRITE. (From the " Ceylon Observer" January 11th, 1888.)
large alexandrite you refer to was sold for Rlo,250, the purchasers
being three Moorish gem merchants of Galle. When Sir Arthur Gordon was
last here, he expressed a wish to see the Stone; but it had then been
cut into three pieces. Mr. A. L. M. Wil Cassim, the Shroff Mudaliyar of
the Kachcheri, accompanied by one of the shareholders, waited on His
Excellency at Plaisance (the Government Agent's residence) and
exhibited the gem. The Alexandrite, however, failed to attract the
attention which its owners expected it would do, as the cutting and
polishing processes, which contribute in a great measure to display the
remarkable properties of the gem, had not been completed. Subsequently
the stone was cut in pieces to suit the requirements of customers and
exported to Europe for sale.
is about 15 years ago since the Ceylon alexandrite first attracted
notice in London and created a demand for it, which the Moorish gem
merchants of Galle did not fail to take advantage of. Previous to that,
the dealers were quite ignorant of the value of the stone or of its
peculiar properties (dark green, which is changed to a ruby color when
exposed to artificial light), and it was no uncommon circumstance for
them to burn the stone and try to palm it off on passengers by the
steamers. It was always considered a very superior specimen of
tourmaline, until one of the native merchants, more enterprising than
the rest, consigned a parcel to London, invoicing the contents as "
green sapphires." The sale of this lot at £2 10s a carat opened
the eyes of the 'cute dealers down south, as somehow the secret leaked
out and there was quite a rush for the article. Subsequently much
higher prices were realized as the demand for alexandrites steadily
increased. Hitherto, the largest find has been in the Weligama
district, the Moorish priest (or Mowlana) owning the richest pits.
A SINHALESE, MR. DE SILVA, AND SOUTH AUSTRALIAN RUBY MINES.
To the Editor " Ceylon Observer,,"
Gawler Place, Adelaide, 16th Dec. 1887.
this mail I send you an Adelaide paper in which you will notice we have
a Sinhalese named De Silva here, taking an active part in connection
with the ruby mines lately discovered at Mount Pleasant.
appears he came from Port Darwin only a few months since to push the
sale of Ceylon and Indian fancy goods, but not succeeding so well as he
expected, ha turned his attention to mining and has invested in a
considerable number of shares. He is also supplying Sinhalese for the
working of mines, but it remains to be seen how the Sinhalese will get
on with European labourers.—Yours faithfully,
A. M. DRUMMOND.
[We append the extract referred to, and some others.—Compilers.]
Thursday, December 10th, a party of seven gentlemen from Adelaide,
including Mr. W. H. Stevenson (of Messrs. Stevenson Bros.), the
secretary of the company (Mr. A. J. Barnes), and Mr. M. V. De Silva
(from Ceylon, precious stone