According to the National Gem & Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka, the statutory body that controls and regulates the gem and jewelry industry and trade in the country, a significant increase in Gem and jewellery exports from the country, has been recorded for the first quarter of the year 2011. The acting Director General of the Authority, Mr. Ajith Perera is reported to have stated that there was a 10.6% increase in the total export of gems, equivalent to an increase in export earnings from Rs.2,242 million from the first-quarter of last year to Rs.2,479 million, during the corresponding period this year.
Mr.Perera further stated that there was a marked improvement in the performance of the gem and diamond studded jewellery sectors of the industry. While the diamond-studded jewelry exports recorded a phenomenal 89.8% growth generating Rs.111 million, the gem-studded jewellery exports also showed a modest increase of 5.1%, generating Rs. 361 million. The corresponding earnings for diamond-studded and gem-studded jewellery exports in the first-quarter of last year were Rs.59 million and Rs.343 million respectively.
Mr.Perera said, “The NGJA is pleased with the first-quarter performance and is confident that the industry will record a better growth this year if the momentum continues. We encourage value-added gem and jewellery exports, as the exporters could gain higher returns. The value addition of converting gems into jewellery has benefitted exporters and has also encouraged them.” He said that they were expecting an overall growth of 10% compared to that of last year, with a total turnout of Rs.50 billion.
Following the announcement of the engagement of Prince William to Kate Middleton and the news of the engagement ring given to Kate, incorporating a 12-carat oval blue sapphire from Sri Lanka as its centerpiece, an unprecedented demand for Sri Lankan blue sapphires was generated all around the world. In keeping with this development the NGJA also promoted Sri Lankan blue sapphires via its website, and received a commendable response.Sri Lanka also participated in the Shanghai Gem and Jewellery Show held in China from June 16-19, 2011, in which around 40 gem and jewellery industrialists participated. The Sri Lankan pavilion at the show was organized by the National Gem & Jewellery Authority.
Elaborating on the future plans of the NGJA , Mr. Ajith Perera said, that China was emerging as a strong consumer market for gems and jewelry, and the intention of the NGJA in participating in the Shanghai Show was to focus on the emerging Chinese market, with a view of establishing business contacts with leading players in the gem and jewelry trade in China. He further said that the NGJA was also focusing on the Asian markets of Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. In Europe he revealed, that in Turkey, one of the countries that has a thriving gem and jewelry industry, NGJA is organizing several promotional activities. Turkey is a country neighboring another newly emerging player in the international gem and jewelry trade, Russia, which has great potential for the marketing of gems and jewelry from Sri Lanka, but has costly custom formalities. Hence, Mr. Perera said, that promotional activities in Turkey would not only serve to boost trade contacts with the local markets , but also help to attract prospective buyers from neighboring Russia.