Hailed as the Mythical Tarshish, Sri Lanka has positioned itself as the best country for sourcing precious stones. Around 90% of the country’s land is made of metamorphic rocks of the Precambrian age, approximately 25% of the total land is gem bearing, out of which most deposits are located in the Highland, Southwestern complex. Gem mining of Sri Lanka has a history of more than 2000 years.
The gem industry in Sri Lanka enjoys a celebrated history mainly due to the Island's gem reserves and the country stands today as one of the world's largest gem suppliers with products of unparalleled quality. While the country exports over 75 different kinds of precious and semi-precious gemstones, sapphire varieties make nearly 85% of the export share at the moment.
A combination of local and global terrorism, political turmoil and natural disaster saw the local, as well as the global economy, slowing down compared to the year 2018. Sri Lanka registered a GDP growth of 2.8% during the last year against 3.3% recorded in 2018, while the global GDP also grew at a subdued rate of 2.5%, mainly due to Chinese and the USA trade tension and low growth recorded in the EU and Japan.
As one of the world's steadiest suppliers of top-quality sapphires and seventy-five other types of gemstones, Sri Lanka is one of the most important countries in the world when it comes to gem and jewellery, despite its small size.
For centuries, the gem and jewellery industry of Sri Lanka has been playing a central role in the country’s cultural, social and economic development. Growing from strength to strength, the industry presents tremendous opportunities of investment and value addition. There are two principal ways by which the gem and jewellery industry contributes to the Sri Lankan economy.