Moonstones are mined near the village of Meetiyagoda in the southern part of the country. There are a couple of mines open for tourists to visit. In fact, the moonstone mines are a local tourist trap. The mining techniques are the same type of pit as used around Ratnapura.
Your gem mine tour will begin with a visit to the pit where the mining technique is explained. Then someone will show how the gravel is washed and the moonstone separated from the waster material. Next you will see the stones being cut and polished. The final step will be to visit the handy jewelry store at the mine.
Washing the gravel.
Cutting the stones
Low quality stones with some schiller
Getting to Meetiyagoda is easy and does not need to be expensive. The cheapest way to travel is by train to Hikkaduwa and then take a three wheeler to the mines. If you leave early in the morning, it is possible to make the round-trip from Colombo in one day. The train ride is pleasant as you travel along the coast and get a scenic view. The area around Hikkaduwa was heavily damaged during the 2004 tsunami and the scars remain. This village is promoted as a tourist destination for SCUBA diving, surfing, fishing or just relaxing on the beach.