Alex Ratnayake's Profile

About

I am a Gemmologist and a Fellow of the Canadian Gemmological Association.
I was born in Moscow, Russia to a Russian mother and Sri Lankan father and spent the majority of my childhood in Sri Lanka before immigrating to Canada in 1989.

I have been obsessed with rocks and minerals since my childhood in Sri Lanka.

It all began when I walked my bicycle across a stream and came out with a small Ruby crystal stuck in my sock. After that I started exploring the Sri Lankan countryside with my friend (a son of a wonderful missionary couple from the USA) looking for rocks, minerals and pretty much anything interesting (we once discovered an Olive tree growing in the outskirts of Kandy before we even knew what olives were - they were curiously yummy).
The rest, as they say, is history…

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  • Male
  • Joined February 25, 2012

Favorite materials

Sapphire, Ruby, Cats Eye, Alexandrite, Star Sapphire, Star Ruby, Aquamarine, Spinel, Peridot, Amethyst, Citrine, Garnet, Opal

About

I am a Gemmologist and a Fellow of the Canadian Gemmological Association.
I was born in Moscow, Russia to a Russian mother and Sri Lankan father and spent the majority of my childhood in Sri Lanka before immigrating to Canada in 1989.

I have been obsessed with rocks and minerals since my childhood in Sri Lanka.

It all began when I walked my bicycle across a stream and came out with a small Ruby crystal stuck in my sock. After that I started exploring the Sri Lankan countryside with my friend (a son of a wonderful missionary couple from the USA) looking for rocks, minerals and pretty much anything interesting (we once discovered an Olive tree growing in the outskirts of Kandy before we even knew what olives were - they were curiously yummy).
The rest, as they say, is history.

I have been collecting rough and gemstones since those early years and have been selling privately for the last 10 years. Two years ago I turned my hobby into a full-time career.

I see gems as gifts from the earth, and feel it is no coincidence that we find these fine gems in so many poverty stricken areas. I feel it is a crime that these resources are not used more efficiently and effectively to improve the lives, families and communities of those scraping them out of the ground with their bare hands.
I have always desired to play a small part in changing that.

I have gone to great lengths with my suppliers, mine owners and caretakers to source rough ONLY from LEGAL mines that:

-DO NOT employ children
-DO NOT use heavy machinery in their processes
-DO NOT pollute natural waterways with runoff/effluent
-DO NOT employ any chemicals in processing

-DO pay above average wages to their workers (not yet 'fair' in my view, but we're working on it!)
-DO use small temporary pools for processing/rinsing
-DO recycle the water used for processing
-DO care about the sustainability of the environment and the resources they extract

We are further committed and determined to:

-Improve wages and conditions for mine workers
-Provide first aid resources and training for mine caretakers and workers
-Improve living standards for mine workers, their families and communities
-Educating consumers that we are capable of creating substantial and positive change in the world with our purchasing power

I want to get to a place where I can commit a reasonable percentage of my profits into a fund with which I can start improving lives. Things as simple as first-aid kits and training can save fingers, limbs - even lives. A small room full of used computers can easily become a "library of the world" and dramatically change the lives of children who can barely afford notebooks, clothes and school fees. Micro-financing and basic business training can help others pull themselves out of poverty and reinvigorate struggling local economies.

I am a "little" fish who wants to do things the "big" fish should have been doing all along.
This is my mission in life - a mission I will only give up with my life.

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