Bloke having work done in garden finds huge sapphire cluster worth £72million

The world's largest star sapphire cluster, worth around £72million, has been found by workmen digging a well in a back garden.

Sri Lankan authorities say that the cluster, which is pale blue in colour, has an estimated value of up to $100 million in the international market.

The lucky beneficiary is a Mr Gamage, who is ironically a gem trader. He had hired workers to dig a well at his home in the gem-rich Ratnapura area of the country just below India.

The workers stumbled upon the rock which weighs around 510 kilograms or 2.5 million carats, and has been named the "Serendipity Sapphire".

"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.

The BBC reported that after Mr Gamage informed authorities about the find it took over a year to clean the stone of mud and other impurities before they could analyse and certify it.

When it was being cleaned, some stones fell off the cluster and were found to be high-quality sapphires, he added.

Ratnapura, where the stone was found, is known as the gem capital of the South Asian country. The name means 'city of gems' in Sinhalese, the language spoken by the Sinhalese people – who make up the largest ethnic group on the island.

"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 BBC.

Experts warned, however, that even though the huge stone has a high carat value, all the smaller stones inside the cluster may not be high-quality.

"It is a special star sapphire specimen, probably the biggest in the world. Given the size and its value, we think it will interest private collectors or museums," Thilak Weerasinghe, the Chairman of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka, said.

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