Zam Gems highest foreign exchange earner in gems and jewellery

Ahsan Refai

Mohamed Refai

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 Maldives.

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 employees.

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 Kiosks.)

"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.



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