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Dubai firm offers $100mn for world's largest sapphire found in SL

Colombo, Jan 7 (IANS) The Sri Lankan government announced that it was in talks with a Dubai-based company which has offered $100 million for the world's largest natural corundum blue sapphire named the "Queen of Asia", which was found in the island nation.

State Minister of Gem and Jewellery Related Industries Lohan Ratwatte was quoted in the local Daily Mirror as saying that there has been no final decision taken by the government on the company's offer to sell the "Queen of Asia", but talks were ongoing between the company and the stone owner on its sale for a high price, reports Xinhua news agency.

Discussions were also underway on whether to auction the corundum blue sapphire at an even higher price, Ratwatte said.

The owner of the stone recently said that one of the French gem scientists had valued the corundum sapphire at more than $200 million.

Officials last month said the stone had also attracted interest from potential buyers in China and the US.

The single crystal blue sapphire, which weighs around 310 kg, was unveiled in December 2021 about three months after it was found from a private land in Ratnapura, which is known as the "city of gems".

The sapphire is presently stored in a laboratory owned by Sri Lanka's National Gem and Jewelry Authority.