and muscovite, with spodumene, lepidolite, and tourmaline in smaller
quantities. A soft, unctuous-feeling, pink clay, called halloysite,
apparently derived from rubellite, occurs in many of the pockets.
Rincon gem minerals are found in pegmatites of similar structure to
those of Pala, though inclosed in badly decomposed granite. The hard
pegmatite contains black tourmaline, massive almandine garnet, large
beryl, and greenish muscovite; and the pockets contain crystals of
quartz, orthoclase, and beryl of gem quality (tourmaline and kunzite
have since been found in the pockets also, according to Sickler). The
crystals of the pockets have been corroded and partly dissolved by
alkaline waters, leaving the faces rough and scarred.
GEMS OF CEYLON.
interesting article, by Mr. Ralph Stokes," appeared in 1906 on the gems
of Ceylon. It seems to be very difficult to obtain reliable information
about the gem industry from the natives or elsewhere. The output is
handled almost exclusively by a small ring of Mohammedans in Colombo.
The merchants obtain their supplies through Moorman dealers from the
smaller villages nearest the gemming districts, to which the miners
bring their stones for disposal. The Moorman dealers are generally
lapidaries and take all the risk incident to the loss of material in
cutting. The methods of cutting employed by the lapidaries arc
primitive, and the tendency is to sacrifice everything for size. The
quality of the cutting is otherwise often excellent.
more common gem stones of Ceylon are sapphire, ruby, star sapphire,
chrysoberyl, cat's-eye, and moonstone, with some green, blue, and red
spinel, topaz and oriental topaz, green, yellow, and colorless zircon,
garnet cinnamon stone, aquamarine, and tourmaline. These stones are
obtained almost entirely from alluvial deposits derived from the
denudation of crystalline rocks.
to Dr. A. K. Coomeraswamy,* the natives of Ceylon appear to have
located nearly all of the deposits valuable for gems. In the gem
districts themselves the richer places are pretty well known and
generally partly worked out. In some cases only the deeper "illam" or
gravels remain. Gem mining probably can never be profitably undertaken
by Europeans. Even for the Ceylonese it is usually a lottery. Several
unsuccessful attempts have already been made by gemming companies and
it is not likely others will succeed, since the gem lands are owned by
scattered landowners, who apparently claim all the beds except in the
larger rivers, and all operations would require careful supervision.
The gemmers fall into three classes: Illicit gemmers; fairly prosperous
men who work their own lands, occasionally employing help; and rich men
who have their pits worked for them or rent out the land. In the latter
case the lessees dig a pit down to the "illam," when the owner or other
responsible man attends the work to see that nothing is stolen. The
gems are divided, three-fourths to the owner or lessee and one-fourth
among the men along with their food, but with no wages.
In the gemming region of Sabaragamuwa the Cingalese employ a crude system of dredging to obtain gems and sometimes gold. A
oMin. World, April 28, 1906, pp. S23-524.
& Administration Repts., Ceylon Min. Survey, pt. 4, 1905 p. E 11.