A jackpot was discovered by workers excavating a well in the garden of a Sri Lankan gem seller – a bundle of 2.5 million sapphire stones weighing over 1,000 pounds.
The amazing find took place in Ratnapura, Sri Lanka’s “city of gems,” in the country’s south. The “Serendipity Sapphire” cluster is massive, measuring 39 inches long and 28 inches wide.
First reported in the BBC, Gamage, the stone’s owner and a third-generation gemstone trader, declined to give the outlet his complete name.
He informed the news organization that cleaning the muck off the 1,124-pound cluster, analyzing the stone’s properties, and getting it formally recognized took him over a year to complete.
“The person who was digging the well alerted us about some rare stones. Later, we came across this massive specimen,” Gamage told the BBC.
The fact that hunks of high-quality sapphires kept chipping off as he was cleaning impurities off the rock tipped him off that the find may be worth an incredible price.
According to the BBC, the sapphire cluster is worth up to $100 million.
“It is a special star sapphire specimen, probably the biggest in the world. Given the size and its value, we think it will interest private collectors or museums,” Thilak Weerasinghe, the chair of Sri Lanka’s national gem and jewellery to'd the outlet.
The total value of Sri Lanka’s gem and jewelry trade is estimated to be around $550 million every year. This means that the Serendipity Sapphire gem cluster may account for a fifth of the country’s annual gem export earnings.
Sri Lanka is well-known for its gemstone discoveries. The “Blue Belle of Asia,” a 392-carat cushion cut sapphire that sold at auction for $17.5 million, is another huge blue sapphire found in the region.