People, Communities and Culture

Culture Matters - Pride in Tradition

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People, Communities And Culture - Sri lankan miner portrait
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Ceylon’s Colorful History

The island nation of Sri Lanka is often associated with exotic gemstones due to its extensive mining and trading history that produces fantastically colorful gems of excellent quality. Sapphires are the most popular and renowned of the colored gemstones mined in Sri Lanka, so much so that in 2003, blue sapphire was named the national gemstone.  The wide range of colours, as almost all sapphire colours are found there, including the rare Padparadscha sapphire. Ceylon Sapphires are worldwide unique and typically known for their high levels of clarity and radiance. Many experts consider Sri Lankan sapphires to be the best in the world. Read more on 4C's of Sapphire

The history of the country with its gemstones is deep and rich as well as inseparably linked. For generations, the knowledge in searching and processing has been passed down and perfected, so that the local people have an excellent understanding of the sapphires and the most experienced traders, cutters and miners all come from the highlands of Sri Lanka. Learn More on Highland Complex

This can still be seen today in the very traditional mining methods, the gratitude and pride of the people for this rare natural treasure and the harmonious cooperation between human and nature in sourcing the gems and the appreciation in further processing. Learn more on Journey of a Sapphire

The people in Sri Lanka are mostly Buddhist, very friendly and hardworking. In Sri Lanka there are no serious environmental or dangerous working conditions, certainly no child labour or exploitation of workers. The national regulations in Sri Lanka are probably the strictest in the world and therefore best for environmentally friendly gemstone mining.

We have a great love and appreciation for Sri Lanka and this makes us happy together with the privilege of working with fine & fair Ceylon sapphires directly from the source. For our philosophy of a transparent & sustainable trade "from mine to market" we have designed each of our processes for the benefit of people and nature and are very happy to offer "fair sapphires" from Sri Lanka. Read more on Fair Sapphires

Culture and Religion

In the entire process of gemstone processing, we combine the experience and appreciation of traditional rituals and practices of our partners and employees with our goal of maximum sustainability and fairness and our critical eye for the finest qualities for our promise of value. This starts with the gemstone sourcing by mining, through rough stone selection and thermal treatment if necessary, to cutting and polishing and final quality assurance. We can only ever be as good as our employees who have an incredibly positive and passionate gift through their culture and religion and giving their best for the finest sapphires!

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Our Local Miners – Greatest Respect

In our small-scale mining operations, we employ only miners from the mining regions who have a great deal of experience in finding sapphires. Our pit and shallow mines are operated using traditional practices, as this is the safest and most sustainable form of mining, developed over centuries and successfully practiced for generations. Mining is, of course, physically demanding, without any mechanical effort, just using hoes, shovels, spades and baskets. This way of mining is historically so grown and culturally anchored. Our miners are very proud of their work and see it as a calling to be allowed to search for and be directly involved in one of the rarest and valuable natural resources. 

The religion and the deep faith of the people, which has its firm place in mining activities, also plays an important role. Every morning a candle is lit at the mine surrounded by fresh flowers and the miners pray for a successful shift with many promising findings. Before the construction and initial setup of a new mine shaft, there is a large ceremony in which very special flowers and leaves are collected for a historical ritual for the welfare and prosperity of the findings of the new constructed mine.

Our Cutters - Highest Appreciation

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The cutting of gemstones is a true craftsmanship and a fascination that you simply have to experience. A perfect interplay between what nature has created and what a talented cutter can conjure up from it. We are very proud of our cutters and are always fascinated by their gift and talent. Perfection is the result of the interplay of qualitative demands and the many years of experience in putting the sapphire in the best possible light by means of an ideal cut.

In addition to the cutters, there are of course many helping hands and employees who support us on the way from the rough stone to the finished faceted sapphire. Especially in the area of quality management and the selection of rough, pre-formed, pre-cut, cut stones, we employ a high percentage of women, whom we would like to support in this way, for their own professional employment and a self-determined life. It is important to us that we work exclusively with local people from Sri Lanka. 

It is precisely this difference that makes us different, that we create jobs locally and want to preserve the value creation in this unique country with our responsible, entrepreneurial actions and be a good, reliable and long-term employer for the wonderful local people and communities.

Traditional Art of Gemstone Heating

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Traditionally gemstones were heated within a open fire. Papaya branches, which are hollow, were used to blow oxygen directly into the fire to increase temperature.

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The unheated sapphire is placed in a special organic mixture.

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The special mixture, which consists of rice and coal is formed through the use of both hands.

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Round formed mixture is then place in the direct fire and is exposed to the heat a long time period to get the heating process started.

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Leander joining the hard work.

Traditional Art of Gem Cutting

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This traditional machine (bow-driven) used for cutting gems in Sri Lanka is called the hanaporuwa.

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The stone is pressed against the lap with the left hand. The cutter can either rotate the stone with his fingers in order to cut a cabochon or create a preform shape for a faceted stone by holding the stone steady against the lap.

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The cutter sits in front of the machine and draws the bow back and forth with his right hand in order to spin a vertical lap disc that is made of lead embedded with carborundum powder.

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Cutting in this freehand style often results in so-called native-cut proportions but this method is still the common way of cutting star sapphire cabachons today in Sri Lanka.

Insights into the Gemstone Industry

Explore the background of the local industry, its historical context, geological features, and applicable rules and regulations for the mining and trading of gemstones.

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