Gemstone Journeys: Sri Lanka

We’d explored Hong Kong to its fullest, but it was time to say goodbye to the bright lights and skyscrapers. On our list now was a search for some tantalising teals, something sparkling and mysterious. It was time to source some sapphires!

This journey is all about educating ourselves, and what better place to see where our sapphires come from, than where they are grown, cut, and sold! We hopped on a three hour flight, heading south west to touch down in…

Next Stop: Sri Lanka 

Sri Lanka, the birthplace of sapphires! 

Teal sapphires and salt and pepper diamonds have been the calling card of Jessica Flinn Fine Jewellery from day one, so it was time we dedicated some real love and attention to discovering where our sapphires actually come from. 

This beautiful island is best known for its Ceylon sapphires, and its artisanal sapphire mines. 130 types of sapphire are found in Sri Lanka, with 90% of the land supposedly full of gemstone deposits! 

Sustainably Sourcing Teal Sapphires 

We build our relationships with our suppliers year on year, so it was about time we met them on their home turf! We were joined by the head of our main sapphire supplier, Imam, who acted as our guide and guru to Sri Lanka during our stay. After working with Imam for over two years, we really see the benefits of building that close relationship. 

We were lucky enough to source some incredible sapphires on our journey and bring them all back for you! If you'd like to pick out your own sapphire, check out our selection of loose gemstones. Or you can read all about how we took one of our sapphires from rough gemstone to sparkling Toi et moi ring.

“We pass our preferences back to our suppliers, and then they make sure that the colours match our requirements. So we get the most vivid teal colours, and we know that the cut quality is going to be really high. Things like making sure the sapphires are really well proportioned is important for us. 

This communication means they can also source stones that are the ideal colour for us, and have them re-cut to make sure they fit what we’re after. We trust them to pick the perfect stones for us, but it was amazing to go and pick out stones ourselves. We went over, picked the rough stones, saw them shaped, and now they’re set!” 

- Amy, Chief Operating Officer

Beruwala Gemstone Market

Imam took us straight to one of the bucket list locations for anyone who works with precious stones: the gemstone market in Beruwala. It’s an amazing scene: a street full of people with pockets full of the most beautiful gemstones you will ever see, holding their palms out for you to choose whichever shining sapphire catches your eye.

“We dove into the lively gem market, a bustling scene dominated by men with pockets full of treasures. A chaotic yet organised affair, there was an intense sense of community and excitement! Each transaction highlighted the beauty and value of these precious stones. Our visit was an immersive experience, revealing the vibrant culture and passion driving Sri Lanka’s gem trade.

There’s also an essential facility known as the Emteem Gem Lab. This lab plays a critical role by identifying gemstones, determining their carat weight, and any evidence of treatments. They also provide certification which is crucial for buyers and sellers alike, ensuring transparency and trust in the quality and nature of the gemstones being traded.”

- Grace, Senior Client Liaison

Artisanal Sapphire Mines 

As much as the market was a magical experience, buying gemstones in their country of origin is not the same as understanding where these sapphires actually come from! And as the aim of this journey is to educate ourselves, we couldn't settle for anything less.

Luckily we had that covered too, and headed straight for a local artisanal sapphire mine!

JF is a Yorkshire-based company, so understandably we had some expectations around what a mine might look like. The reality could not be more different. While we are used to the industrial, soot-covered image of a modern mine, artisanal mines are much simpler, and much kinder to the land. Find out exactly what we discovered about artisanal sapphire mines in our guide!

Supporting Small Communities 

Sri Lanka is a country not without its difficulties, but the overwhelming feeling we got was of a community built on trust. The kindness and openness of every person we met was matched only by the satisfaction they showed in their work.

So many hands come into contact with each of these stunning sapphires before it gets anywhere near a jeweller's bench. Every sapphire is mined, shaped, sold, set, and worn by a separate hand. It’s crucial to the survival of these small communities that we remember this.

A conscious and sustainable business practice starts with conscious purchases! So we choose our sapphires carefully, because we know the community it comes from is just as important as the quality of the sapphire. You can find your own forever sapphire with our fabulous collection of sapphire engagement rings

Where Next?

As we get to the final leg of the journey, the question is, where next? We’ve searched for sustainability in Hong Kong and sorted our sapphires in Sri Lanka, so what else are we looking for? 

The next leg is all about diamonds! Lab grown diamonds and salt and pepper diamonds to be precise! If you want to learn more about our last stop on this Gemstone Journey: India, read on! 

If you’re ready to find your own forever ring you can shop all our engagement rings or wedding rings here! 

Book an Appointment

Still searching for your dream ring? We can help make that dream a reality with our custom and bespoke services. You can customise one of our existing designs, swapping out gemstones for ones that speak to you or changing the metal type. Or with our bespoke service, you're able create a ring that is completely unique to you. So whether you want a custom engagement ring or a bespoke engagement ring, at Jessica Flinn we have you covered. Book an appointment to begin the process and create your dream ring.