Ratnapura or the 'city of gems' is the center of Sri Lanka's gem mining industry. A large variety of gems are found from the gem fields in this area and one can see a number of gem boutiques within the town selling precious stones such as rubies and sapphires (plain and star varieties), cat's eyes, alexandrite, topaz, amethyst, aquamarine, tourmaline, garnet, zircon and a host of others. The mines are worked in the dry season.
The elite of the Ratnapura town are mostly gem merchants and it is here that people from all the gem fields across Sri Lanka gather to trade the yields of their hard labor. You have only to wander through the main market area and mention your requirement and it would be attended to instantly. You would stand to gain if you learnt a little about these precious stones before you reach Ratnapura. The Kalu Ganga (river) flowing through Ratnapura with waters from Sinharaja forest also adds natural beauty to the city.