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Sri Lanka Buying Trip, September, 1999

A sapphire mine about 12 kilometers outside of Ratnapura.

Miners after a hard day's work at a sapphire mine outside Ratnapura.

JB with local mine owners.

Looking down a sapphire mine shaft; dug by hand with walls built by cut coconut palms.

A deep shaft-about 60 ft. down to several crawl-space tunnels into the alluvial sapphires.

JB manning a Sri Lankan elevator shaft which lowers miners and brings up baskets dug from the tunnels.

JB with friend John L. at mineshaft.

Worker "washing" the gem-bearing gravels brought up from the mineshaft.

Every thing is done by hand. No mechanized machinery is used.

Walking through the mining area. Note coconut palm trees to be used to shore up mineshafts.

Buying in Ratnapura, Sri Lanka, central mining center of Sri Lanka.

Surrounded by sellers-a buyers market.

Negotiating for unheated blue and yellow sapphires-Ratnapura.

Making offers.


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