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Man Digs Well in His Yard, Finds a Treasure Valued up to $100 Million

Brittany Chalmers
Jul 30, 2021
04:40 P.M.
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A man was digging in his backyard when an accidental discovery turned him into an instant millionaire. He found the world's largest star sapphire, and the pale blue stone is worth around $100 million!

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Sri Lankan authorities revealed that a star sapphire cluster was discovered in the gem-rich Ratnapura area last year. The stone was found by workers digging a well in the backyard of a gem trader's property.

The homeowner, Mr. Gamage, is a third-generation gem trader. He did not provide news outlets with his full name or location because he has a few safety concerns—After all, he owns a valuable treasure!

After digging up a piece of land a man discovered precious gems in his backyard | Photo: Shutterstock

After digging up a piece of land a man discovered precious gems in his backyard | Photo: Shutterstock

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THEY STUMBLED UPON IT

This year, experts valued the stone that weighs 510 kilograms at around $100 million in the international market. The treasure is also roughly 2.5 million carats.

Mr. Gamage told the BBC about the find: "The person who was digging the well alerted us about some rare stones. Later we stumbled upon this huge specimen."

Blue sapphire gems are scattered on a white surface | Photo: Unsplash/Jacek Dylag

Blue sapphire gems are scattered on a white surface | Photo: Unsplash/Jacek Dylag

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"THE SERENDIPITY SAPPHIRE"

The cluster required a lengthy cleaning process to get rid of all impurities and dirt. After a year, it could finally be analyzed and certified.

Named the "Serendipity Sapphire," the stone was discovered when the Sri Lanka gem industry needed it. After a year of lockdowns, people working in the gem industry hope this stone will attract lots of attention.

A large blue gem is displayed in a glass cabinet | Photo: Unsplash/Sophie Louisnard

A large blue gem is displayed in a glass cabinet | Photo: Unsplash/Sophie Louisnard

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ONE OF THE LARGEST SAPPHIRES

As one of the leading exporters of sapphires and other precious gems, Sri Lanka relies on this industry, as do many gem-traders and their families.

In 2020, the country earned around half a billion dollars by exporting gems, cut diamonds, and jewelry. Renowned gemmologist Dr. Gamini Zoysa told the BCC that the sapphire is one of the largest he has seen.

A woman wears a large blue gem on her ring finger | Photo: Unsplash/Klara Kulikova

A woman wears a large blue gem on her ring finger | Photo: Unsplash/Klara Kulikova

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ATTRACTING GLOBAL INTEREST

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

In 2020, Kevin Kinard was another lucky man to make a discovery while he was visiting Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park. He did not expect to stumble upon a 9.07-carat diamond, but he did!

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TEARED UP AFTER THE DISCOVERY

Kinard, who hails from Maumelle, Arkansas, has a long history with the park and visited it since he was a young boy. He explained that he picked up the stone because it looked "kind of interesting and shiny."

When he eventually stopped by the park's Diamond Discovery Center to have it examined, he teared up when he heard the surprising news.

An open hand holds a precious gem that is still in its natural form | Photo: Unsplash/Elia Pellegrini

An open hand holds a precious gem that is still in its natural form | Photo: Unsplash/Elia Pellegrini

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FINDERS KEEPERS

What he first thought might be some glass actually turned out to be a diamond! He said: "I was in complete shock." The park's "finders keepers" policy allowed him to take the diamond home.

This policy has also seen many lucky treasure hunters walk away with precious gems. In fact, since 1906, more than 75,000 diamonds have been found in the park. While it is rare, it is not impossible, as these stories have shown.

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