COLOMBO, July 25 (Xinhua) -- A large commercial blue star sapphire went on public display in Sri Lanka's central city of Kandy on Thursday, drawing large crowds to the 'Tiesh' emporium where the stone sits on a star studded crown.
Named as the "Tiesh Blue Empress," the massive Ceylon blue star sapphire weighs 332 carats with an undisclosed value.
Director of Tiesh, Ayesh de Fonseka told Xinhua that the Tiesh Blue Empress will remain on public display for visitors and tourists till such time an interested party makes a bid for it.
He said the stone sits on a crown which is handcrafted in 18 carat gold and white gold, set with an array of other precious Sri Lankan gem stones.
"We are both humbled and elated to present the Tiesh Blue Empress not only to Sri Lanka but also to the world. Her rightful abode is neither in a safe nor in a bank vault but rather showcased to be admired by the world," Founder of Tiesh, Lasantha de Fonseka said.
"Her presence now firmly positions Kandy on the world tourism map. Needless to say the boost and visibility she will give Sri Lanka's gem industry is inestimable," Lasantha added.
Ayesh de Fonseka told Xinhua that the mother stone of the Tiesh Blue Empress was unearthed in the early 1980s from the mines in Ratnapura, in south central Sri Lanka, also known as the island's gem city.
The mother stone weighed an astonishing 201,500 carats.
The owners, of Tiesh, who are the de Fonseka family, purchased the Tiesh Blue Empress from a local who had kept it for several years.