Sri Lanka is famous for its gems, one of which is the moonstone. This pale blue, almost transparent, stone is a type of feldspar known as adularia – the way the stone shimmers when it moves is known as adularescence.
At Meetiyagoda you can see how the stones are actually mined. The miners climb down a 10-metre-deep shaft on a frame made of strong coconut wood. A machine pumps out water, but all the digging is done by hand.
The buckets of soil that are wound regularly to the surface yield around 50-100 rough moonstones a day, though not all of them are saleable quality.
The small adjoining factory cuts, polishes and sets the stones into more glamorous jewellery. In the saleroom you can see some beautiful examples of their art, along with other gems like topaz, garnets, tiger eye and tourmaline.
Distance form Madampe House 10 km