Back in the AC, we were on our way to the next stop in our roomy 12-seater minibus to Gamini Gem factory, Kandy.
At this point, I think it’s a good time to point out that there were times when we simply felt like a purse being sent from one place to the next.
When you decide to take tour with a driver, like we did you are – in part – agreeing to visit some, let’s say, mutually beneficial establishments where things always end with a sale.
My husband and I were well aware that we were about to be ‘sold to’ at this particular venue but decided to put our cynicism aside and embrace the experience. Good job really, the kids loved it. The mini ‘tour’ started with a step by step explanation of how rough stones are selected, polished and made into beautiful jewelry. We were then escorted to the shop across the street, with assistance from two authoritative-looking policemen in brown suits, to the pride of place ready for the essential gem presentation.
Yes, we bought something. Two Moonstone necklace gems for only $10 madam.
Sri Lanka is touted as a great place to buy gems but without any prior experience or knowledge of gems, we stuck to the cheapest option to reduce the risk of unscrupulous dealers. According to some reports, there are some dealers ready to trick gullible tourists by passing off blue spinel, or other semi-precious stones as sapphire.
Leaving with our treasure, we climbed into our carriage for a thoughtful and educational trip to the Kandy War Cemetery and then to the Temple of the tooth.