A massive sapphire cluster worth as much as $100 million has been unearthed by workers digging a well in the backyard of a Sri Lankan home, authorities said.
The 2.5-million carat gem, which is believed to be the world’s largest sapphire cluster, was discovered behind the home of a third-generation gem trader in Ratnapura, the BBC reported.
“The person who was digging the well alerted us about some rare stones. Later we stumbled upon this huge specimen,” the owner, who only wanted to be identified by his last name Gamage, told the outlet.
Gamage notified authorities about the discovery, but it took more than a year to clean the stone before they could certify it.
Though the city where it was found is known as the gem capital of the world, the discovery still stunned experts.
“I have never seen such a large specimen before. This was probably formed around 400 million years ago,” Dr. Gamini Zoysa, a top gemmologist, told the BBC.
Experts said the stone, which has been dubbed “Serendipity Sapphire,” is worth up to $100 million.
“It is a special star sapphire specimen, probably the biggest in the world,” said Thilak Weerasinghe, who is the chairman of the National Gem and Jewelry Authority.
“Given the size and its value, we think it will interest private collectors or museums.”