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Journey Through Sri Lanka: The Heartbeat of the Gem Industry - Part 2

Updated: Jun 30

Continuing my research exploration in 2017, the journey took a deeper dive into the art and craft that define the Sri Lankan gemstone industry here. Each gemstone, from the moment it is unearthed to when it adorns a piece of  jewellery, goes through a meticulous process that showcases the exceptional skill and artistry of the local craftsmen and women.

Sri Lanka landscape | gemstone detective

The Gem Cutters

I was privileged to be taken to Gaminis outside Colombo. The workshop was filled with the rhythmic hum of machines and the careful, deliberate movements of skilled artisans. Each gem cutter, carefully shaping raw stones to enhance their natural beauty and brilliance. I was struck by the intense concentration and precision required to cut a gemstone. One wrong move, and a valuable stone could be rendered worthless. Dread the thought!

Sri Lanka gem industry | gemstone detective

Young gem cutter at Gaminis, Sri Lanka

The gem cutters use traditional techniques passed down through generations, combined with modern tools to achieve perfection. Watching them work, I gained a deep appreciation for the artistry involved. It’s a process that demands not only technical skill but also a deep understanding of the stone’s inherent qualities.

Sri Lanka gem industry cutting and polishing

A gem cutters tools in Sri Lanka

Jewellery Shops

From the cutting workshop, my journey led me to the jewellery shops where these beautiful stones find their final form. Sri Lankan jewellery shops are treasure troves of exquisite designs, where each piece tells a story. The jewellers here are not just craftsmen; they are artists who create wearable works of art.


One of the highlights was visiting a family-owned jewellery shop that had been in business for over a century. The owner, a genial gentleman with a wealth of knowledge, showed me pieces that blended traditional Sri Lankan designs with contemporary styles. I was particularly drawn to a necklace adorned with a vivid blue sapphire, surrounded by intricate gold filigree work. It was a testament to the rich cultural heritage and the innovative spirit that co-exists in Sri Lanka’s jewellery industry.


Cultural Richness and Craftsmanship

What struck me most during these research visits was the deep cultural significance attached to gemstones and jewellery in Sri Lanka. Each piece is crafted with respect for tradition and an eye for modern aesthetics. The craftsmanship is impeccable, a blend of age-old techniques and new-age creativity. Whether it's a simple ring or an elaborate necklace, each item is a reflection of the country’s rich heritage and the artisans’ passion.

Traditional gem cutting in Sri Lanka | gemstone detective

I hope you enjoyed this second part of my exploration of Sri Lanka's vibrant gem industry.

To delve even deeper into the mesmerising world of Sri Lankan gems and jewellery, I invite you to check out my book, "Gemstone Detective: Buying Gemstones & Jewellery in Sri Lanka". This comprehensive guide is packed with valuable insights, practical tips, and stunning visuals that will enrich your understanding and appreciation of this vibrant industry.

Whether you're a seasoned gem enthusiast or a curious traveller, my book will equip you with the knowledge and confidence to make informed and rewarding purchases. Explore the rich heritage, intricate craftsmanship, and captivating stories behind every gemstone and piece of jewellery Sri Lanka has to offer.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of my journey.

Kim Rix, GG GIA

Gemstone Detective

Be sure. Be smart. Buy with confidence

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