Sri Lanka’s rarest gemstones to take centre stage at, ‘Expo 2020 Dubai’s ‘Day of Sapphires’

  • For the first time in history, Day of Sapphires hosted by the Sri Lankan Pavilion is set to take visitors on a journey of vibrant discovery, creating an astounding impact on the global gem industry
  • Join respected expert in the gem and jewellery industry, Helen Molesworth, as she unearths the dazzling history behind the stones of the incomparable ‘Island of Gems’, Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan Pavilion situated in the Opportunity District is set to be a buzz on Saturday, 26 February 2022, where visitors will have the once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the largest single assortment of sapphire masterpieces from The Island of Gems, Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka, with its vibrant past in the gem and jewellery trade, will for the first time, display an extraordinary selection of its most exclusive sapphires for public viewing, showcasing its rich national wonders and artistry.

There are consistent records in history of Sri Lanka’s prominent position as an Island of Gemstones. Already by the first century AD, the western Roman Empire was trading in Sri Lankan gems. References to the gem riches of Sri Lanka – including sapphire, beryl, topaz, amethyst and garnet – are made bythe Greek astronomer Ptolemy in 2nd century, the Italian adventurer Marco Polo in 12th Century, the famous Arab explorer Ibn Battuta in 14th century and English sea captain Robert Knox in the 17th century.

“The country’s precious gems and ornate jewellery were amongst the oldest items traded over the years. Renowned for its sapphires, these precious stones have adorned some of the world’s most famous jewellery pieces and have found their way to museums around the world. We are now on a journey to give the Sri Lankan sapphire the prominence it deserves in the global arena with the goal of increasing the appreciation and desirability toward our gems’, commented a spokesperson from the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association.  

‘Day of Sapphires’ is set to transport visitors across the ages, through surviving treasures, like one engraved 14th century ring which adorns a sapphire from the 10th century with an Arabic name, thought to be from when Arab jewellers were known to travel through Sri Lanka on trading voyages as early as AD 1,130.

Gracing her presence, renowned jewellery specialist Helen Molesworth is set to lead a walk-through to explain the importance of the gemstones of Sri Lankan: their place in history, trade, and enduring fascination through time all over the world.

“I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to connect with visitors at the Sri Lankan Pavilion and to share my insights on the magical world of the gems of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has not only produced gemstones of remarkable quality and variety, but has done so consistently over millennia, a remarkable testament to the continual global importance of the true ‘Island of Gems’. The island’s most famous and revered gems are the sapphires of Sri Lanka, rightly so as much today as throughout history. I am honoured to be part of this wonderful showcase of Sri Lanka’s finest sapphires – these miracles of nature from one of the most beautiful places on earth – and I am excited to share my knowledge on the history of Sri Lankan sapphires and the impact they have had on the global gem industry’, said Ms. Molesworth, respected expert in the gem and jewellery industry.

Helen’s career has spanned the global gem and jewellery industry, from roles with leading auction and jewellery houses to academic posts. For ten years she was a jewellery specialist for Sotheby’s and Christie’s in London and Geneva, where she handled sales of global importance including the private jewellery collection of HRH The Princess Margaret in 2006. Helen is currently Head of Business Development at Gembridge, a digital marketplace for coloured gemstones, and is also Editor-in-Chief of InColor, the quarterly magazine of the International Colored Gemstone Association.

To attend Day of Sapphires, visitors can head to the Sri Lanka Pavilion in the Opportunity District at EXPO 2020 Dubai and witness magical recollections

Admission to Day of Sapphires is free to the general public with an Expo 2020 ticket. The show is open from 10:00 am until 09:00 pm on Saturday, 26 February 2022.

To learn more about the COVID-19 travel protocols, travellers can visit

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