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Buying Gemstones in Sri Lanka

Updated on December 17, 2010
The Royal wedding ring has a Sri Lankan blue sapphire
The Royal wedding ring has a Sri Lankan blue sapphire

Sri Lankan gemstones are renowned for there quality and brilliance

From ancient times Sri Lanka has being renowned for gemstones, it is said that king Solomon impressed queen Sheba with gemstones from Sri Lanka, and more recently a Sri Lanka blue sapphire appeared in the royal wedding ring, used by Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and also by Prince William and Kate Middleton. The St. Edwards sapphire which embedded in Imperial crown of state is also from Sri Lanka. Royalty has always sought after gemstones from Sri Lanka because of the brilliance and the high quality of Sri Lankan gemstones. The most sought after gemstone is the blue sapphire. The royal wedding ring has created much buzz in the market and there is an increasing demand for Sri Lankan gemstones, especially sapphires and ruby's. Buying gemstones from Sri Lanka, is very very cheaper than buying Sri Lankan gemstones in US and UK. You can definitely get it at half the price and sometimes even for about 20% of the price or even less than that. The problem is because of the huge demand some gem dealers are selling cheap products to the unsuspecting tourists. There are cases where colored glass is sold as blue sapphire and unless you have a little idea about the gemstones finding the difference is not easy. Lets look at few things you should consider when buying gems in Sri Lanka.

Things to consider when buying gemstones in Sri Lanka

Below are some things you should consider when buying gemstones or jewelry with gemstones.

  • Make use of gem testing centers - Most major towns have gem testing centers, if you are looking spend a considerable amount of money on buying gems, it is always advisable to get them tested. You can also get your gems tested free of charge by visiting test centers of National Gem and Jewelery Authority.
  • Buy from a gem dealer with a valid license - Gem dealing is regulated by National Gem and Jewelery Authority and the issues a license for creditable gem dealers. Since they cater to mostly tourists the price is a bit higher but you are certain of a quality product. If you are taking this path then the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewelery exchange in the World Trade Center is the best place to be. They have plenty of shops there so you can buy gems at a competitive price.
  • Get Local help - This is the best way to buy gemstones for a low cost, but it depends on the trustworthiness and the expertise of the local guide. If you are staying at a hotel ask for some tips from the manager or the help desk. Some top quality hotels have their own gem shops, so obviously don't contact the manager in such a situation. The problem is as soon as a gem dealer see a tourist he automatically raises the price, trying to cheat the tourist. So if you are going to buy gems, always try to take a trustworthy local with you.
  • Be informed - Spend some time doing research and comparing prices. There are plenty of guides about Sri Lankan gems and spending a few dollars on them would be a worthy investment if you looking to spend some money buying gems.

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