The world’s largest sapphire cluster worth £72million has been unearthed in a man’s non-public back garden when workmen began digging a well. The stone is pale blue in colour. Sri Lanka is known as the “Sapphire capital of the world”, a leading exporter of sapphires and other precious gems , and the blue sapphire is unique to it. The Star Sapphire is 100cm long, 72cm wide, and 50cm high. It is a special star sapphire specimen, probably the biggest in the world. “This was probably formed around 400 million years ago,” said gemmologist Dr Gamini Zoysa. Experts say the stone, which is pale blue in colour, has an estimated value of up to $100 million in the international market. The find comes as Sri Lanka’s gem industry has suffered losses as a result of pandemic induced lockdowns. It took more than a year to clean the stone of mud and other impurities.
The 510kg stone (or 2.5 million carats) has been moved to a bank safe in Colombo under armed guard. Mr Gamage, the sapphire’s lucky owner and also a gem trader, refused to reveal his first name. Sri Lanka’s National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) said that those bidding for a piece of the mammoth stone include royal representatives. Sri Lanka exported $500million worth of gems and jewelry in 2020. Blue star sapphires are known for having a star in the middle due to a light reflection phenomenon called asterism.