Gem and jewellery exports to surge

Sunday Observer

31/05/2015

Gem and jewellery exports to surge

Sri Lanka's gem and jewellery export revenue will surge this year following the enormous exposure the country received at the International Coloured Gemstone Association (ICA) Congress held recently in Sri Lanka, Chairman, Facets Sri Lanka, Juzar Adamaly said on the sidelines of the 16th Congress at the Cinnamon Grand recently.

He said a large number of buyers and dealers across the world at the Congress were highly impressed with the country and the range of exquisite products it offers to the global market. It is premature to put a figure but certainly export revenue will spike within a month or two.

The ICA Congress was held in Sri Lanka for the second time, the first being in 1989. Around 46 countries and 250 registered foreign buyers attended this year's event which also marks the 30th anniversary of the ICA Congress, a global association for coloured gemstones.

"Our exhibitors have received a large number of orders from globally-renowned merchants. Our export performance has been satisfactory thanks to Governments which have been supportive.

"The industry is pleased with the opening of the gateway to the Chinese market which is Sri Lanka's second largest market after the USA," Adamaly said. Sri Lanka exports precious stones to Russia and the Middle East, Europe and India. Sri Lanka's Blue Sapphires are sought after in the global market and our precious stones adorn the rings of world-renowned personalities. The export income from gem stones last year was Rs. 18,652,182,097, jewellery - Rs. 2,466,727,942 and diamond re-exports - Rs. 25,632,624,157.

The gem and jewellery industry employs around 650,000 workers and accounts for around 4,500 exporters. National Gem and Jewellery Authority sources said that they hope to make Sri Lanka the hub for sapphires and achieve a export revenue of US $ 1 billion.

The ICA Congress and the Facets exhibition provide wide exposure to the country’s precious stones to the world. Many participants at this year’s congress are impressed with what Sri Lanka has to offer to the word,” Adamaly said.

Facets 2015 will be the 25th exhibition in the series and will be held at the end of the year at the BMICH. Gem and jewellery exhibitors said that Sri Lanka with a skilled work force and technology has the potential to be a leading exporter of precious stones in the region.

We have good lapidary facilities which should be improved to bring out calibrated stones which have good demand. Tiffany, Bulgari and Cartier are some of the buyers of Sri Lankan precious stones.

The ICA Congress is held biennially. Advisor and Consultant, Blue Diamond Jewellery Worldwide Plc, Dr. M.G.M.S. Zurfick said that Sri Lanka can achieve US$ 10 billion in export revenue from the gem and jewellery industry by showcasing its products in China and other major markets across the globe. “We have good products which need to be aggressively promoted. Upgrading our cutting and polishing technology and working skills will help boost exports,” he said.

Sri Lanka’s gem and jewellery industry employes around 70,000 workers who comprise miners, cutters and polishers, dealers, jewellery designers, manufacturers and craftsmen, marketeers and sales people.

Sri Lanka is home to over 70 varieties of coloured stones of the around 200 found in the world and it is among the five most important gem-bearing nations of the world.

The ‘Ceylon Sapphire’ has been its major strength, attracting global buyers to the exquisite stone. The State Gem Corporation set up in 1971 was vested with the task of developing, regulating and promoting the gem and jewellery industry. This task was then vested with the National Gem and Jewellery Authority which was set up in 1993.