January 5, 2016 10:30 am
Gemologists in Sri Lanka claim that the largest blue star sapphire yet has been discovered in a mine in the country.
The gemology institute in the capital Colombo has certified that the gem weighs 1404.49 carats and say they have not certified anything larger, the BBC reported.
The gem is valued at at least $100m and the current owner estimates that it could sell for up to $175m at auction. Sri Lanka’s gem industry, for which sapphire is the main export, is worth at least £70m ($103m) annually.
Blue star sapphires are so named because of the distinctive mark found at their centre.
“The moment I saw it, I decided to buy,” the current owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the BBC World Service’s Newsday programme.
“When the stone was brought to me I suspected that it might be the world’s largest blue star sapphire. So I took a risk and bought it.”
The owner said it was “absolutely confidential” how much he paid for it. The previous record holder weighed 1,395 carats.
The new gem was mined in the city of Ratnapura, in southern Sri Lanka, which is known as the City of Gems. (BBC)