Nat Geo Mine Hunters - In search of the King Sapphire
Updated: Jul 15, 2020
Also known as "Mine Kings" in some territories, this exciting Nat Geo reality series follows a group of intrepid gem hunters around the world in search of the rarest gems in some of the most dangerous and exotic locations. Led by renowned gem hunter Guy Clutterbuck, the team consists of an Aussie miner, an American engineer, an American gold prospector and explosives expert and a British ex-Army mechanic. In Sri Lanka, the Mine Hunters search for one of the rarest stones in the world, the famed tri-coloured King Sapphire or "Padparadscha" in Ratnapura, the city of gems. The Sri Lankan episode is the 4th in the first season of the series.
The King Sapphire
The King Sapphire is considered the rarest of all sapphires because of its unique colouring. The colour is often described as the colour of the sunset. Although appearing a pinkish-orange at first glance, the true Padparadscha must contain the three distinct colours of pink, orange and yellow.
Artisanal gem mining in Sri Lanka
Gem mining in Sri Lanka is a tradition and is still practiced as an artisanal craft. This best example of this are the mines themselves, which are still dug by hand. These pit mines are dug like wells until they hit the gem gravel layer or "Illama". At this point, horizontal shafts are dug following the gravel layer. This gravel is excavated and then washed by hand to find the gems.
Produced by RDF Television UK for Nat Geo, The Dreamforge was the fixer and local producer for the filming in Sri Lanka. This was the second time we had worked on this format having previously supported the pilot for the series. Location services included the sourcing of a gem mine location for the shoot, 4x4 transport, setting up a unit base on location, providing all permissions and logistical support for filming.
Mine Hunters S01E04 - King Sapphire