Situated just off the southern tip of the Indian sub-continent, for millennia Sri Lanka has been regarded as special - a jewel in the Indian Ocean. Neither is the description “jewel” merely metaphoric. On the contrary, through one of its ancient names “Serendib”, Sri Lanka gives rise to the English “serendipity”, the happy ability to make joyous discoveries by accident. From time immemorial, the earth of Sri Lanka has yielded gems stones of exceptional quality, prized by all from the great Ming emperors of China to countless other merchants and traders, who have left their own distinctive marks upon the fabric of the country. Such material riches have a resonating echo in an island of outstanding and often wonderfully unspoilt natural beauty - from sparkling seas and endless miles of pristine beaches, to jungle environments rich in wildlife to spectacular mountain scenery. If nature has richly endowed Sri Lanka.