Ratnapura (City of gems in English) being the gateway to the hill country from the Southern plains, it is considered the capital of Sri Lankan Gem trade. Sri Lankan gem mining has a history of least 2000 years recorded in various forms, including Mahawansa, the ancient chronicle of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has produced three of the world’s largest blue sapphires, including the “Blue Belle of Asia” which adorned the British crown and holds the world record for any Sapphire sold at an auction, as well as the “Star of India”, displayed at the New York Museum of Natural History
Apart from the centuries long gem trades and mines, Ratnapura is also famous for large tea and rubber plantations that surround the city, with the help of a considerably higher rainfall of 4000-5000mm annually, which also creates lush greenery and stunning waterfalls such as Bopath Falls, Katugas Ella Falls and Kirindi Ella Falls to name a few.
The opportunity to see a variety of precious stones such as rubies, sapphires, cat’s eyes, topaz, garnets, aquamarines, zircons and many more can be by visiting one of the museums or the many gem workshops in Sri Lanka.
Gem mining centre of Sri Lanka being a major crossroad between the southern plains and hill country to the east is widespread throughout the regions as many pits dug in low lying area like valley floors, riverbeds, paddy fields, and other damp places can be seen. The bustling market city which services most of the surrounding towns is being operated by prominent gem dealers in Sri Lanka.
Ratnapura is located approximately 85km from Colombo and can be accessed through via Panadura and Awissawella. Ratnapura can also easily be accessible by bus from Colombo throughout the day