Despite being a humble town in South Sri Lanka, Meetiyagoda Moonstone Mines produces the best Moonstones in the world.
Although many enthusiasts of gems, jewelry and trinkets are familiar with the Moonstones, the bluish white opaque stone that glitters in the light, little do they know that almost all the best moonstones found around the world originated from a small village in Southern Sri Lanka.
Meetiyagoda, a small town in the Southwest of Sri Lanka, is the home to the waterlogged pits where the moonstones are mined since 1906. The sleepy and unassuming village sits on the main and largest pegmatite vein of moonstone known to the Earth and the ten moonstone pits at the village are the only source of blue-white moonstones to the world.
Believed to be the ethereal light of the gentle moon in solid form by the Greeks, moonstone deposits are formed in the crystalline granite also known as pegmatite deep below the surface of the Earth unlike other gemstones, which occur in sedimentary surface deposits.
To reach the moonstone deposits, the miners at Meetiyagoda dig through layers of Earth as deep as 10 to 20 meters. Once they reach the pegmatite layer, shafts and tunnel are dug horizontally to unearth the precious moonstone and bring them to the surface. The deepest tunnels could go as deep as 65 meters and four to six miners work hard at each mineshaft to unearth the precious stones.
The rough moonstones which reach the ground are then polished to its brightest sparkle at the lapidaries found in the area and are sold unmounted through large suppliers or individual shops to adore a beauty somewhere in the world.