The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has recognized Zam
Gems (Pvt.) Ltd., as "The Gem and Jewellery Dealer who has
collected the highest amount of foreign currency out of the
their sales to foreigners in the year 2003-2004."
"This has helped us achieve recognition of the
company’s efforts to bring in much needed foreign exchange to
Sri Lanka," said Ahsan Refai, Managing Director of Zam Gems.
Zam Gems today has a total of eleven outlets —
six in Sri Lanka and five overseas. The Head Office in Colombo
and the main branch in Kandy are equipped with Gem Laboratories,
Lapidaries and a Jewellery factory. Showrooms at the Colombo
Hilton, Colombo Plaza, Trans Asia and Ceylon Continental Hotels
are gem museums carrying the very best collection of gems and
Jewellery. Overseas, the company has three franchise outlets in
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, one in Tokyo Japan and one in the
This phenomenal success story happened within a
relatively short space of time. It began when Zainul Abdeen
Marikar Mohamed Refai, Chairman of the company, ventured into a
small wholesale export business in 1973, with a loan of USD
500/- given to him by a cousin in Canada. Starting out with a
home-based operation having just 3 employees, it has now grown
into a phenomenal success providing employment to over 200
Zam Gems was incorporated in 1976 and is soon to
celebrate 30 years of excellence in the business of
manufacturing and selling gems and Jewellery. "Our success is
the result of a lot of hard work, dedication and determination,"
said Ahsan Refai.
He adds: "Our reputation is based on the fact
that we ensure the quality and high standards of every single
gem and piece of Jewellery produced by us, and also our
commitment and efforts in making Gems the leading foreign
currency earner in Sri Lanka."
Manufacturing designer Jewellery, mining and
faceting of precious gems are the major activities of Zam Gems.
Some of their subsidiaries are also involved in the manufacture
and export of handicraft (Zam Handicrafts), import and
distribution of gem and Jewellery machinery and tools (Zam
Jewelcrafts) and operation of bookstalls at five-star hotels (Zam
"Diversifying into these areas has helped us
expand operations and provide a wider spectrum to our
businesses," says Ahsan Refai. He explains that operating
outlets in the five star hotel circuit has helped Zam Gems to
grow within a set of guidelines laid down for such operations,
and become a part of the hospitality trade.
"Our experienced salesmen speak many foreign
languages which makes communicating with customers easy.
"In fact, keeping within the hospitality concept, they are
taught to recognize customers as "Guests" and address and treat
them accordingly," says Ahsan Refai.