One of the worldâ€™s most beautiful and exotic islands, Sri Lanka, (formerly Ceylon) lies just below the southern tip of India. This pear-shaped bit of tropical paradise, about the size of Sicily, is a touristâ€™s delight offering British teahouses, rubber plantations, and gem mines.
Marco Polo wrote of his visit in 1292: â€œI want you to understand that the island of Ceylon is, for its size, the finest island in the world, and from its streams comes rubies, sapphires, topazes, amethyst and garnet.â€ Little has changed since Marco Poloâ€™s time except that Sri Lanka faces overpopulation and a faltering economy.
Its gemstones, however, seem to occur in endless supply. Known as the â€œJewel Box of the Indian Ocean,â€ Sri Lanka, like possibly no other locality on earth, has yielded precious stones and fine gems in a great profusion of gem species and varieties.
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