Asia is blessed with more gemological riches than nay other region on Earth. The tropical island of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) is commonly known as the 'island of gems' because the spectacular range of jewels found in its soil. It is most famous for its lovely sapphires, but it also produces a range of other gemstones. Gems are found throughout central and southern Sri Lanka, but large-scale mining is concentrated in the Ratnapura and Elahera areas.
An entrance to a gem mine.
The mine is covered with a temporary structure.
The inside of a mine. To prevent the mine collapsing, a wooden structure is used.
Water is pumped out of the mine using a motor.
A metal tube is used as a communication device between the miners deep down in the pit and those outside.
A wood-and-metal sieve used in separating the stones from the soil and debris.
Rough stones among the debris.
The stones left over after the gemstones are separated and taken out.