Sri Lanka’s gem and jewellery industry is gearing up to transform it to a major foreign exchange earning sector in the island according to local Sapphire sales worldwide with the aim of achieving US$ 1 billion target this year.
The Gem and Jewellery Association (SLGJA) is to create a unique ‘Sri Lanka Sapphire’ experience to boost sales globally as well as to visiting tourists locally.
SLGJA Vice Chairman Jewellery Segment Akram Cassim said that the jewellery industry has the potential of being one of the largest foreign exchange earners for the country
In 2022 now, the jewellery industry focuses on creating a unique ‘Sri Lanka Sapphire experience’ aiming to highlight the uniqueness of Sri Lankan sapphires – from its rich history, amazing variety and exceptional colour of sapphires found in the country,” Akram explained.
The industry also has the scope to generate more employment by adding more value to every tourist visiting the island, he added.
“He said that the Sri Lankan jewellery industry has a competitive edge on many fronts; not only is it the source country for an array of gemstones.
The industry’s manufacturing process has made great strides over the years and has positioned itself well as a competitive supplier for high-end niche jewellery.
Most significantly Sri Lanka has one of the most unique traits that no other country has to offer – it is the home of the ‘Ceylon Sapphire’.
He said the jewellery sector of SLGJA aims to place Sri Lanka as a prime destination for sapphires and sapphire studded jewellery, along with Sri Lanka tourism.
SLGJA plans to start 2022 with the launch of an exciting jewellery calendar highlighting a variety of promotions and festivals, where both jewellery and gems will be promoted in a variety of innovative and exciting events.
The jewellery sector looks forward to encouraging young design talent to contribute to the industry. A jewellery design festival will showcase a variety of talent from design and art schools who will create some unique themes for the trade.
Other initiatives planned include a jewellery linked charity event to support a worthy cause and turn focus towards developing the online shopping experience for jewellery both locally and internationally.
SLGJA said the Sri Lankan jewellery industry had historical significance spanning over 3,000 years. The country›s precious gems and ornate jewellery were amongst the oldest items traded over the years.
Renowned for its sapphires, these precious stones have adorned some of the world’s most famous jewellery pieces and have found their way to museums around the world.
The significance of the jewellery industry to Sri Lanka is great; without the jewellery industry no value addition would be possible for one of Sri Lanka’s foremost natural resources, the gemstone.
Sri Lanka is home to an astounding variety of gemstones and is one of the oldest source countries for sapphires. Known to be exporting Ceylon sapphires for centuries, it is vital that the industry continues to add value and place itself among the top exporters of jewellery in the Asian region.
Dating back to the second century BC, the Sri Lankan jewellery industry has developed a rich and illustrious presence on the global stage, however today it remains an industry that is well below its true potential.
The industry should aim to develop a 10-year growth plan, said Cassim. Jewellery manufacturing in Sri Lanka is an ancient craft and to date, Sri Lanka is home to some of the most extremely talented and skilled jewellery craftsmen, who require the incentive to remain in the country and help grow the industry instead of seeking work overseas.
One of the greatest challenges the industry has faced is inconsistent policies by successive governments. If the industry was provided with the correct policies the jewellery industry has the potential to create global designs and branding that can be competitive in a global arena.