Workmen digging a well in a man’s back garden in Sri Lanka have accidentally unearthed what is believed to be the world’s largest cluster of sapphire.
The incredible stone has been valued at an eye-watering £72million as it weighs a staggering 510 kilograms and has the equivalent of 2.5 million carats.
The cluster, which has been named the “Serendipity Sapphire”, was found in the home of gem trader Mr Gamage.
While the pale blue stone is bound to attract the attention of private investors and museums, it officially belongs to Mr Gamage as it was found at his property in Ratnapura, the gem capital of the South Asian country.
Mr Gamage said the stone was found by workers who alerted him to the extraordinary discovery.
“The person who was digging the well alerted us about some rare stones. Later we stumbled upon this huge specimen,” Mr Gamage told the BBC
Mr Gamage, who doesn’t want to disclose his address for safety reasons, went on to describe how some rocks fell off the cluster during the cleaning process and were found to be high quality sapphire stars, the BBC reports.
The stone had been found in 2020 but it took months to clean it from the mud and for experts to assess and certify it as sapphire.
The rock, which has now reportedly been transferred to a safe at the Bank of Ceylon, will have to be assessed by international experts before it can be safely sold to anyone interested.
“I have never seen such a large specimen before. This was probably formed around 400 million years ago,” Dr Gamini Zoysa, a renowned gemmologist told the news outlet.
“It is a special star sapphire specimen, probably the biggest in the world.”
Sri Lanka is renown around the world for its export of sapphires and other precious stones used for jewellery.
Here in the UK, the precious rock is known as a ring made of blue sapphire famously belonged to Princess Diana before it passed on to the Duchess of Cambridge.
Prince William gave Kate Middleton the ring, estimated to be worth £300,000, as an engagement gift, after a “selfless” Harry gave it up so his brother’s future wife could have it.
Reference: Mirror: Claire Gilbody-Dickerson