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Gem locations in Sri Lanka

Gem locations in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is popular for gem industry. Therefore, it has many gem fields in particular locations. However, gem deposits are not found everywhere in the island. The gem locations in Sri Lanka are primarily located in the Sabragamuwa province, and especially in Ratnapura district. Ratnapura is widely considered the most famous location for gemstones in the country. It is known as the “city of gems”, and it is famous for variety of precious and semi-precious gemstones.

Gem mining areas

The gem mines in Sri Lanka are often located in remote and rugged areas, such as in the mountainous regions of Ratnapura. Sri Lanka has several geographical complexes, and Highland complex (HC), Vijayan complex (VC), Wanni complex (WC), Kadugannawa complex (KC) and mesozoic-cenozoic coverare litho-tectonic units or geological regions. They are distinguished by their rock types and structures.

Geological Regions (Sri Lanka)

Highland complex is situated in the northeast, central and southwest of Sri Lanka. It includes high-grade metamorphic rocks. This part is most importance place for gemstones. Many larger and small gem mine fields are located in this Highland complex. Kadugannawa complex is located in the central part of Sri Lanka and includes a mix of metamorphic and igneous rocks. Vijayan complex is located in the southeastern and southern parts of Sri Lanka and they consist of younger metamorphic rocks. Wanni complex is located in the northern and west parts of Sri Lanka and includes sedimentary rocks. North and northwest parts in Sri Lanka has mesozoic-cenozoic cover. These litho-tectonic units are important for understanding the geological of Sri Lanka and exploring its mineral and gemstone resources.

The island has several litho-tectonic units or geological regions, and they were main factors to the formation of Sri Lanka’s gem deposits. One of the most important litho-tectonic units in Sri Lanka is the Highland complex. It consists of high-grade metamorphic rocks such as gneiss, schist, and migmatite.

Gem deposits

Sri Lanka is known for its wider gem deposits and Ratnapura, Pelmadulla, Balangoda, Eheliyagoda and Rakwana are traditional places where gems are found in the country since ancient time. Some locations such as Elahera, Bakamuna, Passara, Okkampitiya, Bibile, Kanthale and Horana are newly extended gem deposits.

Sri Lanka gem locations

In addition, areas such as Elapitiwala, Embilipitiya, Kahawatte, Koslanda, Meetiyagoda, Nivitigala, Udawalawe, Warakapola and Wellawaya have significant number of gem mines. Hikkaduwa, Kataragama, Warakapola and Mawanella also produces some gems and valuable stones. In Matale districts, there are some mine fields, and notability in Laggala, Hatamunagala, Ankanda, Ibulandanda, Walpolawatta and Dunkalawatta.

These gem locations in Sri Lanka are known for producing precious and semi-precious gemstones such as sapphires, rubies, aquamarine, chrysoberyls (alexandrite, cat’s eye), topazes, garnets, tourmalines, moonstones, amethysts, topazes, zircons and many more gems.

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