Moonstone was given its name due to its sheen which is caused by the internal reflection of light. Moonstones can be found in a variety of colours including white, grey, pink, blue, green and even brown. The gemstones were highly prized by many ancient civilizations including the Romans who believed that the stones were formed by the solidification of moonbeams. Both the Greeks and the Romans associated moonstones with their respective lunar gods. The gemstone is mined in many countries including Madagascar, Burma, Poland, Norway, the United States of America, Mexico and Sri Lanka.
In Sri Lanka there are moonstone mines in Meetiyagoda, which is between Hikkaduwa and Ambalangoda. Here moonstones can be found in such abundance that the locals believe that the region is blessed by the moon. The mines themselves are similar to rabbit holes and are only about six to seven metres long. The mining facilities are old yet it can be interesting to take a tour of them. The entire process of mining out the moonstone, sorting out the more valuable ones (the bluish ones are the most precious) and finally cutting and polishing the stones is quite fascinating, and the entire tour is absolutely free. At the conclusion of the tour one can visit the large shop in the premises which sells moonstones as well as other precious gemstones.
Sri Lanka (known as Ceylon until 1972) is a tropical island situated off the southern tip of India. A number of precious stones including sapphires, rubies, star stones, cat’s eyes, amethyst, aquamarine, topaz and garnet are mined in the country. The island is a popular tourist destination mainly due to its amazing beaches, lush landscapes and exotic wildlife, which makes it the ideal place for ecotourism. Those sick of the urban sprawl may find the island the perfect place to kick-back and relax.
Public transport on the island, especially away from urban areas, may leave something to be desired. However, the Sri Lanka hotels in major tourist towns boast very high standards. Tourists finding it difficult to choose a good hotel can look up a Sri Lanka hotel guide. The John Keells Hotels Group offers plenty of fine accommodation choices throughout the country.