‘Local gem and jewellery sector could become a $1bn industry’


By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Sri Lanka’s gem and jewellery sector will become a US $ one billion worth export industry soon with the booming of tourism in the country. Therefore, President Maithripala Sirisena’s move to ban foreign entities from involving themselves in gem mining is a welcome measure, former Director, Export Development Board (EDB) Ashan Refai said.

"The Gem and Jewellery Authority coming under President Maithripala Sirisena’s purview, is a great move towards the better development of the sector. But the main challenge to becoming a US$ billion dollar industry, are the synthetic, sub standard and fake products sold as genuine gems, which put the entire sector in jeopardy, Refai told The Island Financial Review.

He said 2016 could become a great year for the gem and jewellery industry because of an export oriented budget and also because of the high growth in the tourism sector."This would benefit the sector in a more sustainable manner, he said.

"It requires a lot of confidence and trust when engaging in the gem business because of its high value in price. But unfortunately certain traders to earn a fast buck take buyers on a ride and kill the entire sector, he said.

He said that his company, am Gems, being the number one gem and jewellery exporter in the country, has won a lot of accolades not only in Sri Lanka but also overseas. "Because we sell good quality gems and in return buyers have a lot of trust and confidence in us, he said.

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