GEMS & JEWELLERY
GENERATIONS SINCE 1865
JEWELLERY MADE FOR THE DISCERNING CUSTOMER
Heritage Sapphires tells the story of four generations of artisan jewelry making. Inspired by its rich history, heritage offers a contemporary collection of modern yet timeless designs, that maintains the same quality standards inherited by generations.
Here at Heritage Sapphires, each and every piece is considered a priority. From classic gem studded necklaces to contemporary pendants and customizable engagement rings; every piece we make reflects the passion and effort that goes into achieving unparalleled craftsmanship and design intricacy.
GENERATIONS SINCE 1865
Among many creators of jewellery, Don Theodoris Weerasiri was the owner of the largest jewellery store in Chatham Street which was unfolded in 1865. Today, his great grandson, Buwaneka de Silva, the Managing Director of D. B Enterprise (Pvt) Ltd; carries on Don Theodoris' grand tradition of jewellery design and gem-cutting. Catering to the Admiralty and Royalty 154 years ago, Don Theodoris established his business as a dealer in Gems, Jewellery, Tortoise shell and curios. Subsequently, the flourishing business house opened an outlet in Chatham Street, Colombo in 1865. Norah Robert's book, "Galle as quite as asleep" gives a very vivid account of the family jewellery tradition.
Don Theodoris' elegantly crafted masterpieces have even attracted the attention of her Majesty Queen Victoria who gave him her patronage, the Royal letter and maple leaf sent from Buckingham Palace. He regularly received letters of thanks, recognition and even autographed Royal portraits from his very distinguished clientele. Also, in 1901 the Prince of Wales and Price Waldemar of Denmark made large purchases from Don Theodoris & Co. during a visit to Ceylon. A special reference has also been made about the flourishing family business of Don Theodoris and his distinguished personalities of the era in "Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon" by Arnoid Wright and printed in 1907.
D. T. Weerasiri has won many international and national awards including price medals and diplomas at the Paris Exhibition in 1900 and at the St. Louis World Fair in 1903 and 1904. In the St. Louis fair, he won a silver medal along with a diploma for ivory carving of a huge elephant carved in ebony covered with beautiful hand-chiseled silver trappings and bearing a silver howdah containing a reproduction of the Sacred Tooth of Buddha.
W. B. Simon de Silva who owned a gem, jewellery and Curios company in Galle is the grandfather of Buwaneka de Silva. Simon de Silva specialized in tortoise shell articles, ebony elephants and kandyan brassware, gems and jewellery. He also has won many international awards, gold and silver medals at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924.
A collection of recommendations and appreciations given to Simon de Silva including past Governors of Sri Lanka, such as Sir William Manning and Sir Donoughmore are cherished by Buwaneka de Silva.
Buwaneka de Silva started his career as a gem cutter in 1974 and is one of the first three "imahashi" machine cutters in Sri Lanka. His starting career in gem cutting was at Jinadasa Brothers, who introduced Sri Lankan White Topaz to the international gem market. Mr. Buwaneka along with the Gem Marketing International Ltd. introduced White Topaz which could be converted in to Blue Topaz, to the USA. Since then, many people were employed to cut White Topaz across Sri Lanka. Buwaneka de Silva made an influence on the jewellery market in the USA by promoting natural White Sapphires instead of manmade Cubic Zircons. As a result, many small scale businesses cutting White Sapphires were born in Sri Lanka.
In late 80's, he started heat-treating all kinds of Sapphires such as Blue, Pink, and Yellow Sapphires. As a research and development effort, he heat-treated different kinds of rough stones such as "Geuda", "Dalan" and "Ottu" on experimental basis. He went to the extent of getting down the 1st computerized electric geuda heat-treatment furnace from USA invented by Mr. Ted Themels to Sri Lanka. Earlier most of rough stones were sent to Bangkok or were heat-treated using the locally made Lakmini furnace. As a result of this heat-treatment machine. Sri Lanka started to produce large quantities of Blue and other colours of Sapphires which enabled to bring a massive number of foreign currencies to Sri Lanka.
In 1984, Buwaneka de Silva revived his ancestral business under name of D. B. Enterprise (Pvt) Ltd with the help of his siblings and set up a factory employing a skilled work force. The finest qualities of gems are cut and exclusive jewellery according to international standards are being made. He won the prestigious Presidential Export Award for Gems in 1994 and 1995. In 1989, he participated in his 1st "Tucson Gem and mineral show" held in USA and continues participating at major international Gem and Jewellery Shows. Buwaneka de Silva is assisted by his wife; Manohari de Silva who is a talented jewellery designer educated by a British designer, together make a perfect duo with their team of skilled staff by delighting their customers. Buwaneka de Silva proudly ascertains that he has trained and employed thousands of cutters both directly and indirectly in Sri Lanka. Apart from cutters, he has also employed workers in the form of polishing, calibrating, colour-grading and heat-treating while some remain as direct employees and other as sub-contractors.
What Don Theodoris has passed down the generations has been treasured and protected by his family members. Today, D. B. Enterprise (Pvt) Ltd. who brands his products under Heritage Sapphires, stands out as an epitome of that rich heritage that has been passed down for many years. The innovative crafts and jewels that they offer to their customers would make both Don Theodoris and Simon de Silva proud. For Buwaneka de Silva the past would provide memories by improving the passion to continue his gem and jewellery empire for many years ahead.