Our story, as that of the gems, started on the holiest mountain of Sri Lanka, the Sri Pada. That’s where I met and befriended a sapphire mining family which wasn’t any surprise, as the whole area lived on gem mining.
Five-to six villagers make up a team, a “patal kattie,” and are “their own masters,” as they often mentioned. Primarily, they search for blue sapphires which have made the Island famous since ancient times. Lucky for them, specifically in Sri Lanka gems are often found together; beside sapphire, there are 71 other types of gems, along with a wide range of crystals and minerals to be found.
The "Hill country", central area of the island has such rich deposits of gems that people can even find one ploughing their gardens. That makes gems possible to mine in exactly the same way as their ancestors have always done, passing down knowledge of the gems and how to find them from generation to generation.
Gem-mining has determined their life for the least three thousand years strengthening a cooperative, family-based society. Only holding together tight have they been able to survive.
In the last two decades however, consumer society has arrived through globalization, which does not thrive on tolerance, understanding and mutual aids; you must pay on time.
Miners nowadays are looking for jobs, and teams have been ceasing at a frightening pace. With them goes all the accumulated knowledge and a way of life that is free and close to the Gods. As they all know, “man can only hope to have fortune with a pure and cheerful heart.”
The Serendib Project wants to help only a few mining families, silversmiths and gem polishers to give them the opportunity to carry on with their ancestors’ way of life, by which they maintain thousand-year-old values of cooperation and community that are important for all of us.
The Serendib Gem Jewels Project represents a personal integration of the two cultures, East and West, in this world of globalization.
On one hand by preserving and revealing the values of our hearts that are better preserved in so called “developing” countries – meaning that they are based rather on community values than that of competition and commercialism.
On the other hand, we offer them our knowledge of managing and organizing things to help them live with greater opportunities under these new circumstances.
This integrational tendency features the Serendib Gem Jewels as well.
On one hand exciting, ancient rusticity, on the other the modern European taste.
We intended to keep our gems’ natural forms as possible. They are often over five-ten carats and have surprisingly beautiful colors, therefore we hand polished them one by one. They inspired the forms of the jewels that were handmade by silversmith and jewelers in Ratnapura, mounting them into 925 Sterling Silver jewels with clean lines that highlight the gems' unique beauty.
So, both the Jewels and the Project are the celebration of the personal, as only the personal contains the Divine. We believe the world does not need to be saved or repaired, our personal lives do, which includes our communities. So we can do something for our own world… and that is good enough.