Since ancient times, Sri Lanka has been a mysterious and special place to both its inhabitants and those who aspired and attempted to travel there. Marco Polo claimed that the original paradise was in Sri Lanka; in contrast, Indian mythology has identified it as the home of the Demon King Ravana!
At least since the time of Buddha, treasure hunters have mined for precious stones, and the most precious of Sri Lanka's has been the deep blue Sapphire. Four hundred years ago, the Grand Moghul (Emperor) of India sent Moslem miners to hunt for them.The miners got permission from the King of Sri Lanka to dig in a certain area. The King granted permission, with only two conditions – first, that they must clean up after their dig, refilling any holes they created in the earth, and second, they must bring an offer of the best jewels to the great Hindu God Kataragama (image shown here).
According to legend, these stone hunters used supernatural powers in order to find the best places to dig. It is said they had a kind of boomerang they threw in a certain way, and where the boomerang fell, they dug. In this way, they found a place to dig that turned out to be one of the richest mines ever found in the area. This group of miners loaded six ships (!) with precious stones, and headed back to India. Their intention was to offer the bounty of just one of the ships to the Hindu god Kataragama, by means of sinking it. But they cheated by sinking the ship filled with the most insignificant and value-less stones. The Hindu god was of course outraged by this, and it is said he caused the subsequent sinking of all remaining five ships, during a storm near the Indian coast on the journey back.
Even today, treasure hunters are still seeking these ships. The gorgeous, 400-year-old Sapphire shown here was found near the old mining area, and later drilled into a bead. Perhaps one of the ungrateful miners dropped the stone on the way to his fate...
If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy the post 'Venetian Glass Beads'
Happy Holiday Weekend, All! & Until Next Time,