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Sri Lankan Gems

Two kinds of moonstone

sunny 32 °C

This is a little out of sequence but I thought it was interesting enough to include one final post for this blog. To break up the long drives, our tour leader would often stop to show us the work of trusted local artisans, and sometimes there was a demo of the process (think lace-making, tea production, wood-carving and so on). This is how we came to visit two lapidaries. No eye-rolling; there was rarely much pressure to buy!

Anyway, the second lapidary was interesting as it had a working mine in the back yard. They were still using very traditional methods to bring up the stones, and in this particular area, they were fortunate enough to be successfully mining two kinds of moonstone - white and the much more rare blue.


The mud comes up from the shaft in a bucket, then it's taken over to a big puddle to be washed.


On this occasion, we have both white and a few blue moonstones.


And here is the day's haul, just laying around in the shed.


The stones are cut and polished, then the gems are set by hand.


Here's the lovely pink star sapphire ring that Silvia had made at the first lapidary, in Kandy.


In actual fact there are probably three kinds on moonstone, because I learned at Polonnaruwa that a moonstone is also a semi-circular, carved stone doormat!

Posted by Andrea R 18:12 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged art nature gems

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