The world’s largest blue star sapphire cluster in a backyard of a residence by accident in Pelmadulla Ratnapura is now set to be sold at a China auction with the consent of its owner State minister of Gema and Gem based industries Lohan Ratwatte revealed.
He said that this Gem auction will be held in China in November this year and 10 percent of its value will be credited to the government’s consolidated fund.
The valuable blue star sapphire cluster has been taken to Bank of Ceylon Colombo with special police security and the Gems and Jewellery Authority has already commenced the assessing of the value of the Gem weighing 510 Kilograms, he added.
However several leading local gem traders expressed their dismay in the handling of this world’s largest blue star sapphire cluster and the decision to sell it at a Chinese Gem auction without giving reasons.
Sri Lankan authorities said the world’s largest star sapphire cluster has been found in a backyard - by accident.in Pelmadulla area Ratnapura.
A gem trader said the stone was found by workmen digging a well in his home in the gem-rich Ratnapura area.
Experts say the stone, which is pale blue in colour, has an estimated value of up to $100 million in the international market.
The cluster weighs around 510 kilograms or 2.5 million carats and has been named the “Serendipity Sapphire”.
“The person who was digging the well alerted us about some rare stones. Later we stumbled upon this huge specimen,” Mr Gamage, the owner of the stone said. He did not want to give his full name or location for security reasons.
Mr Gamage, who is a third-generation gem trader, informed authorities about the find, but it took more than a year to clean the stone of mud and other impurities before they could analyse and certify it.
During the cleaning process, Mr Gamage said some stones fell out of the cluster and they were found to be high quality star sapphires.
Ratnapura, which means city of gems in Sinhalese, is known as the gem capital of the South Asian country. Other valuable stones have been found there in the past.Sri Lanka is a leading exporter of sapphires and other precious gems.
Last year, the country earned around half a billion dollars through the export of gems, cut diamonds and jewellery.
Dr Gamini Zoysa, a renowned gemologist said that he has never seen such a large specimen before. This was probably formed around 400 million years ago.