Sri Lankan authorities say the world’s largest star sapphire cluster has been found in a backyard and by accident.
A gem trader said the stone was found by workmen digging a well in his home in the gem-rich Ratnapura area.
Experts say the stone, which is pale blue in colour, has an estimated value of up to $100 million in the international market.
The cluster 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, the owner of the stone told reporters.
Mr Gamage, who is a third-generation gem trader, informed authorities about the find, but it took more than a year to clean the stone of mud and other impurities before they could analyse and certify it.
During the cleaning process, Mr Gamage said some stones fell out of the cluster and they were found to be high quality star sapphires.
Ratnapura, which means city of gems in Sinhalese, is known as the gem capital of the South Asian country. Other valuable stones have been found there in the past.
Sri Lanka is a leading exporter of sapphires and other precious gems.
Last year, the country earned around half a billion dollars through the export of gems, cut diamonds and jewellery.