Sri Lankan Sapphires

Sri Lankan sapphires hold a special place in gemstone history. Also known historically as Ceylon sapphires, these vibrant gems have captured the hearts of civilisations across the globe for millennia.


Introducing Sri Lankan Sapphires

Sri Lanka is the oldest source of sapphires in the world with Veddas, Sri Lanka’s indigenous people, first discovering the coloured pebbles in streams. Blue sapphires from Sri Lanka are famed for being a lighter shade of blue than sapphires from other historic mines, typically a cornflower blue and often exhibiting violet tones. Yet, the rarest and most sought-after sapphire of all, known as Padparadscha, is an extraordinarily rare orange-pink colour. The name is derived from the Sanskrit for ‘Lotus colour’, celebrating its vibrant coral tones.

Island of Sapphires

Some of the largest and most exceptional sapphires in the world have been found in Sri Lanka. Located in Southeast Asia, this relatively small country is famous for providing the highest density of gemstones in relation to its landmass. In fact, it is estimated 90% of the island is composed of gem-bearing Pre-Cambrian rock. Blessed with a natural profusion of gemstones, sapphire, a variety of the mineral Corundum, is by far the most acclaimed.


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Finding the best Sapphires

To this day mining continues in Sri Lanka, though as with most historic mines, the best material was concentrated near to the surface, so the finest gemstones have mostly already been discovered. The most exceptional pieces usually appear in antique jewellery. At Pragnell, we source these exquisite sapphires in antique pieces and if needed, we re-polish stones and bring them back to life. Sri Lanka is now known as having the most eminent coloured stone cutters in the world and in 2003 blue sapphire was declared the national gemstone of Sri Lanka to honour the great part this stone has played in the island’s history.

Adored by Royalty

One legend is that King Solomon wooed the Queen of Sheba with jewellery set with Ceylon gemstones in the 10th century BC, these timeless treasures have adorned royalty and world leaders since the beginning of recorded history and have long been considered a symbol of love, power and wisdom. A Ceylon blue sapphire brooch was gifted by Prince Albert to Queen Victoria on the eve of their wedding, with the brooch later being worn by Queen Elizabeth II.

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