Sri Lanka (Ceylon), a tropical island situated in the Indian Ocean, gained its popularity to be named as the “Gem Island”. The country owned its name with abundance of treasure of precious gems, and is one of the major hubs of gem mining in the world.
The traditional mining areas are located in the Ratnapura district, about 100 kilometers south-east of the capital of Colombo. Gem mining in Sri Lanka is primarily from alluvial secondary deposits found in gem-bearing river gravels, in ancient flood plains and streams that are now covered with productive farm land and terraced rice paddies. To access the gem-bearing gravel, 5 to 50 foot deep mining pits are dug by the workers, pumping out any ground-water as it enters the hole from below. When the pit is dug to the correct depth, tunnels are dug horizontally in several directions to minimize surface degradation.
A conical-shaped baskets is used to extract the gems from the clay, gravel and sand slurry. The basket is swirled around until the heavier stones settle to the bottom of the basket.
"Sharing is caring", by Ivy Teong, Chief Designer, Juwelen Design. She is also the author for juwelendesign.blogspot.my or ivyteong.blogspot.com