First established in the 1920s, the Gem Museum welcomes visitors who want to view the museum displays and browse the precious and semiprecious gemstones for sale in the showroom. In addition to glass display cases filled with raw and cut gemstones, the museum’s attractions include a reconstruction of a Sri Lankan gem mine and a video revealing how the raw stones are mined, cut, and then set into gold, platinum, or silver to create rings, pendants, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces.
The Gem Museum is one of an island-wide network of showroom-museums that feature as stop-offs on Colombo and Kandy tours—with travelers given time to explore their museum sections before viewing the gems and jewelry for sale. If you’re visiting one of these outlets on a tour, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with Sri Lanka’s gems beforehand so you know what to look for and can avoid overpaying for less precious stones.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Gem Museum will appeal to gemstone and jewelry lovers.
Sri Lanka has been known as the Land of Gems for centuries, so an authentic gemstone makes a wonderful and apt memento.
Be sure to haggle: The first quoted price might be inflated.
It’s sensible to check the day’s exchange rate before committing to any expensive gemstone purchases anywhere in Sri Lanka.
How to Get There
The Gem Museum is located at 43 Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, in the center of Colombo. The nearest bus stop is the Public Library stop, but the easiest way to get to the museum independently is by car or cab. The museum has its own parking lot.
When to Get There
The Gem Museum is open 9am to 7:30pm Saturday to Thursday and 9am to 12pm and 1:45pm to 7:30pm on Friday.
Sri Lanka’s Prized Blue Sapphires
Sri Lanka’s gem industry dates back more than 2,500 years, and the island’s most coveted gemstones are its blue sapphires. Those with the most intense cornflower-blue (cerulean) hues are especially prized, but the sapphires come in a wide range of other colors, from yellows and pinks to white and even black.
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