22 Aug 2019
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Sri Lanka
By: Diamond World News Service
Aug 14 2014 6:47PM
Reference: 9440  

Sri Lanka topped the headlines when it made an exclusive contribution to the Prince William’s big day. The 12-carat oval Blue Sapphire at the centre of the engagement ring given to Kate Middleton originally came from Sri Lanka.It has been acknowledged as the cradle of treasurers for its precious, natural gemstones historically. Kunjal Karaniya explores this colourful market.

The long-standing gems and jewellery industry of Sri Lanka is one of the country’s major foreign exchange drawer.At present Sri Lanka has gained a special place in the international market and is recognised for quality gemstones and creating fine jewellery in a variety of exclusive and fine designs. The complete industry provides work for approximately 600,000 persons including miners, cutters and polishers, dealers, jewellery designers, manufacturers and craftsmen, marketers and sales people.

Sri Lanka has over 70 arrays of coloured stones out of 200 found in the world and is amongst the five most important gem-bearing nations of the world. The country’s splendid natural inheritance encompasses range of gem minerals, which includes blue, pink, yellow and golden sapphires, rubies, padmaradchas, star sapphires, star rubies, alexandrites, cat’s eyes, spinels, aquamarines, topaz, zircons, garnets, tourmalines, moonstones, quartz and a huge number of rare gemstones. Sri Lanka’s key vigour is the ‘Ceylon Sapphire’.The gem mining activities are concentrated mainly in the districts of Ratnapura, Matale, Badulla and Moneragala.

Amid the marvellous gemstones that Sri Lanka has produced in the modern time is the Blue Giant of the Orient (466 cts), Logan Blue Sapphire (423 cts), Blue Belle of Asia (400 cts), Rossar Reeves Star Ruby (138.7 cts), Star of Lanka (393 cts. Star Sapphire) and Ray of Treasure (105 cts. Cat’s Eye). The first three gemstones are on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, U.S. Sri Lanka’s major markets for gems: Switzerland, Thailand, USA, Hong Kong, France, Japan and India.

China has surfaced as the fastest growing market for gemstones from Sri Lanka recording the maximum growth in both quantity and value, depict latest figures from the National Gem and Jewellery Authority in Colombo show.Exports to China in 2013 increased 461 percent to 2.2 million carats up from 392,205 carats in 2012. In value exports increased 103 percent. In 2013 combined exports to HK/China were 4.04 million carats up a massive 738.3 per cent from 880,397 carats. The value too showed a substantial growth of 104 percent.

As globally the demand for sapphires amplifies, jewellery sales to visitors to Sri Lanka, the home of the Ceylon sapphire, are at an all time soaring with many jewellers reporting that sales have more than doubled over the last year. The keycause for the roar is that Sri Lanka is now attracting high net-worth visitors who are conscious of the country’s national resource, the Ceylon sapphire. A new drift is for visitors to go there on special sapphire jewellery buying visits.This roar has now resulted in many jewellers intensifying their retail network and growing their presence in Colombo and other popular tourist destinations.

Sri Lanka’s gems made headlines worldwide as the star-studded blue sapphire found its way to the royal palace as the engagement ring by Prince William to Kate Middleton. Global interest has been boosted on Sri Lanka’s gems following the prestige the precious stone received through the royal betrothal. “We have received plenty of inquiries from across the globe to supply engagement rings studded with blue sapphires and diamonds,” Chairman, National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA), Anil Koswatte said.

Sri Lanka’s gem industry consists of the following segments:
• Free size and investment gemstones, calibrated gemstones, rare gemstones
• Gem cutting services
• Abundance of gemstones mined in Sri Lanka or imported freely into the country.
• Solitaire free size investment stones to calibrated gemstones available.
• Trained and skilled cutters equipped with state-of-the-art technology.
Sri Lanka’s jewellery makers have polished their traditionalexpertise to the utmost standards, over the years. Fine craftsmanship and stylishoriginality, combined with the contemporary touch nowadays receives the premier priority.Sri Lanka is rising as a design hub presenting superior quality jewellery collections of silver, gold and platinum, with the benefit of new technology and a focus on design brilliance. The jewellery of Sri Lankan source is autonomouslyconfirmed and gemstones are authenticated by a government authority. The jewellery is manufactured in 9K, 14K, 18K gold, Platinum, Sterling Silver or combination of two or more metals. Sri Lanka’s key markets for jewellery are U.S., Hong Kong, Germany, Japan, United Arab Emirates and Switzerland.

Sri Lanka has garnered a status for its superior quality cutting and polishing of diamonds. The specialty of Sri Lanka is small diamonds of remarkably high quality, which are imported sawn or cleaved rough. In addition to the customary brilliant cut, there are specialised shapes and cuts also which aremainly tapers, baguettes and princes etc. Large part of the rough diamonds imported for processing are sawn or cleaved in Belgium but some companies purchase rough diamonds in the open market, selling the cut and polished product through foreignassociates.

Kamil Group has been dealing with coloured stones since 1935; they started the diamond business in 2010. The market varies based on consumer demand as currently we have strong demands for star and melee size diamonds, said Ruzwan Kamil, Managing Director, Kamil Group. Their target consumers are the affluent and chic customers of Colombo, Sri Lanka. “Sri Lankans generally prefer G colour and up in colour and VVS in clarity. Solitaires also have great demands in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans generally are looking at modern designs for the younger generation and very chic styles,” he added.

Sri Lankan industry is much organised and the factories are equipped with up to date equipments. Sri Lanka is a member of the International Diamond Manufacturing Association and a signatory to the Kimberly Process Agreement. Sri Lanka’s key markets for Diamonds are Belgium, Israel, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, India and Saudi Arabia. Sri Lanka’s own Gem and Jewellery show – FACETS Sri Lanka –International Gem and Jewellery show is held annually in September in Colombo.

Summing on a positive note, Ruzwan Kamil said, “Our economy is in the right direction and we hope to have more sales in the future. Srilanka is recovering from the 30 year old civil war; we look forward in the future for better opportunities in all aspects of business."

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