Marco Polo wrote that the island of Sri Lanka had the best sapphires, topazes, amethysts, and other gems in the world. The island has a very high density of gem deposits and has been known throughout history as an island rich in sparkling treasures of incredible beauty and clarity. The city of Ratnaoura is renowned for its emeralds and saphhires – translated it means ‘City of Gems’. So the lure of seeing and touching these precious stones was too much for me; although I had no intention of buying jewellery on our holiday, I predictably ended up wandering into the little gem store located in our hotel…
The Sri Lankan jewellery is intricate and decorative – vividly coloured precious stones set in gold, white gold and rose gold. As I perused the selection on offer, the very clever owner of the store observed that I have a love of delicate earrings and suggested that I design my own earrings and he would get them made up for me in a couple of days. Of course this was an offer I clearly couldn’t refuse – having bespoke jewellery made is my dream come true – so after some bargaining on price, we chose emerald stones and rose gold , sketched out a tiny design and paid our deposit. Emeralds have always been my stone of choice, I take after Elizabeth Taylor in that respect (or maybe its the witch from the Emerald City..)! I adore green and the deep, rich lure of an emerald always wins me over.
I should mention that many guide books and travel agents advise against buying gemstones in Sri Lanka as there are so many fakes on the market. We took comfort in the fact that this store was endorsed by our hotel – but of course always be aware when buying precious stones abroad.
Two days later and these little babies became mine. I paid £200 for them – I am sure we could have driven a harder bargain, but I know that to buy a pair of earrings like this in the UK would be twice the price. They are beautifully made, an absolutely incredible colour, a wonderful memory of our trip and I haven’t taken them out since I got them!