The Fascinating Journey of Dr. Dunil Palitha Gunasekara: Gem Discoveries and Contributions to the Industry

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The Fascinating Journey of Dr. Dunil Palitha Gunasekara: Gem Discoveries and Contributions to the Industry

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Dr. Dunil Palitha Gunasekara is a renowned name in the gemstone industry, known for his contribution to the field through his discoveries and expertise. Born in Sri Lanka, Dunil was always fascinated by gems and their unique properties. His love for gemstones led him to pursue a career in gemology, where he made significant contributions and discoveries that have enriched the industry.


Dr. Dunil Palitha Gunasekara began his education at St. Aloysius College, Ratnapura, and later joined Stafford College in Colombo. He then went on to earn his Diploma in Gemmology from the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, F.G.A, in 1992, followed by a degree from The University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka in 1971. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate for his work with the new mineral Metamict Allanite by Dr. Anthony R. Kampf, PhD., Los Angeles County Museum, USA.

Dr. Dunil Palitha Gunasekara Dip. Gem | F.G.A is a name synonymous with gemstones. With a career spanning over four decades, Dr. Gunasekara has dedicated his life to the study, valuation, and promotion of Sri Lanka’s precious gems. From his early days as a Lapidarist and Gemmologist at the State Gem Corporation of Sri Lanka to his present position as the President of Crystals Gallery – Gem Lab, Gemological Institute of Ratnapura, Dr. Gunasekara has made significant contributions to the world of gemstones.

Life Story

Dr. Dunil’s career in the gemstone industry began in 1971 when he joined the State Gem Corporation of Sri Lanka. He worked as a Lapidarist, Gemmologist, Valuer, and Lecturer during his tenure there, which lasted until 1992. During his time at the corporation, Dunil was involved in the purchasing team for the valuation of the STAR OF SRI LANKA, a 392.92-carat blue star sapphire in 1973, and the RAY OF TREASURE, a 103.05-carat chrysoberyl cats-eye in 1974.

Contributions to the Industry

Dr. Gunasekara is a pioneer in the discovery of new gemstones and minerals. He represented GIA at the Gemological Symposium at Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, San Diego, California, USA in 2006 for a poster abstract on two new gemstones and a new mineral. He has also discovered three faceted natural Bromellites, one faceted blue Dumortierite, and a natural cobalt blue Spinel.

Bonnynite – This rare gemstone is a member of the aenigmatite group and has a refractive index of 1.697-1.702. Dunil discovered this gemstone during his research on rare gemstones and is one of the few people in the world to have seen and studied it.

Dunilite – Another rare gemstone discovered by Dunil is Dunilite, a member of the olivine group with a refractive index of 1.677-1.718. This gemstone is also named after Dunil Palitha Gunasekara and is only found in Sri Lanka.

Natural Cobalt Spinel – Dunil discovered this stunning gemstone in Okkampitiya, Sri Lanka, in 1982. It is a rare variety of spinel that displays a deep cobalt blue color, making it highly sought after by collectors and jewelry designers.

Gem Valuation Expertise

Dr. Gunasekara’s expertise in gem valuation is renowned. He was a part of the purchasing team that valued the “Star of Sri Lanka” and the “Ray of Treasure,” two of Sri Lanka’s most prized gems. His valuation of each at Rs. 15 Laks each is a testament to his skill in the field.

Author and Educator

Dr. Gunasekara is not only a gem expert but also an author and educator. He authored the book “Menik Wishwakoshaya” and the English book “Top Ten Rarest Gemstones in the world.” He has also served as a lecturer at the State Gem Corporation of Sri Lanka and has shared his knowledge with countless students over the years.

Metamict Allanite – This is a rare mineral discovered by Dunil, which was approved by the International Mineralogical Association and the Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature, and Classification in 2001. Metamict Allanite has a refractive index of 1.680 and belongs to the epidote group.


Dr. Dunil Palitha Gunasekara Dip. Gem | F.G.A has left an indelible mark on the world of gemstones. His contribution to the industry through his research, valuation, and education has been invaluable. His discovery of new gemstones and minerals has expanded our knowledge of these precious treasures. Dr. Gunasekara’s legacy as a gem expert and educator will continue to inspire future generations of gem enthusiasts.

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