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World's Largest Sapphire Cluster 'Accidentally' Found in a Backyard in Sri Lanka

The stone has an estimated value of up to $100 million in the international market. (Image Credits: Shutterstock/Representational)

The stone has an estimated value of up to $100 million in the international market. (Image Credits: Shutterstock/Representational)

Experts believe the 'pale blue' stone that weighs around 510 kilograms has an estimated value of up to $100 million in the international market

The world’s largest star sapphire cluster has been found in a backyard in Sri Lanka by accident, authorities said on Tuesday. According to a gem trader, the stone was found by workmen while digging a well in his home in the gem-rich Ratnapura area. Experts believe the ‘pale blue’ stone that weighs around 510 kilograms has an estimated value of up to $100 million in the international market. It has been named the “Serendipity Sapphire".

The owner of the stone, Mr Gamage, told BBC, “The person who was digging the well alerted us about some rare stones. Later we stumbled upon this huge specimen."

A third-generation gem trader, Gamage had informed the authorities about the discovery, however, it took over a year to clean the stone of mud and other impurities before it could be analyzed and certified. He added that few stones fell out of the cluster during the cleaning, which was found to be high-quality star sapphires.

Thilak Weerasinghe, the Chairman of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka told BBC, “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."

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In a similar incident, archaeologists discovered a rare stone delineating the city limits of ancient Rome that dates from the age of Emperor Claudius in 49 A.D. According to Associated Press, the pomerial stone, a huge slab of travertine, was used as a sacred, military, and political perimeter marking the edge of the city proper with Rome’s outer territory.

The stone was found on June 17 during excavations for a rerouted sewer under the recently restored mausoleum of Emperor Augustus, right off the central Via del Corso in Rome’s historic center.

At a press conference in the Ara Pacis museum near the mausoleum, Claudio Parisi Presicce, director of the Archaeological Museums of Rome, said the stone had both civic and symbolic meaning.

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first published:July 28, 2021, 07:32 IST