"Queen of Asia", A 310-Kilogram Sapphire, Will Be Put Up For Auction

A massive sapphire weighing nearly 683 pounds, believed to be the largest ever discovered, will be put up for auction soon.

Nicknamed the "Queen of Asia", the sapphire was discovered three months ago, in a mine in Ratnapura, a town in southern Sri Lanka, known as the "gemstone town" of the island country.

Thilak Weerasinghe, chairman of the Gemstone and Jewelry Authority of Sri Lanka, says it is probably the largest gemstone ever discovered in the country.

"The Queen of Asia" was on display on a flower bed at the home of one of the gem pit owners in Horana, 28 miles south of Colombo.

A group of Buddhist monks chanted blessings for the gemstone before it was unveiled.

The "Queen of Asia" Could Be The Biggest Sapphire In The World

The "Queen of Asia" is different from the "Happy Happiness Sapphire", a 450-pound sapphire vein discovered in June this year in Sri Lanka, in that it is not a cluster but made up of a single piece.

"It's not an aggregate. It is a single stone. As far as we know, it could be the largest in the world, " says Weerasinghe, explaining that "if we cut it we could find clearer areas inside it, like the seeds in a fruit," referring to its relatively opaque surface.

Forbes magazine estimates that if the gemstone is cut into pieces, it could be used to create 1,549,016 one-carat engagement rings. The value of the "Queen of Asia" sapphire is estimated at $ 100 million, although the huge gem has not yet been evaluated and certified internationally.

Sri Lanka is known for its gemstone discoveries, with other large blue sapphires found here.

These include "Blue Belle of Asia", a 392-carat sapphire that was sold at auction for $ 17.5 million, and the "Star of India," a 563-carat sapphire that is currently on display at the American Natural History Institute of New York.

View our Collection of Antique & Vintage Jewelry