Friday, August 31, 2007

History of Ceylon Gems and Jewelry

Precambrian Age: Period starts with the birth of Earth and the gradual appearance of many-celled animals, about 570 million years ago. Nine-tenths of the island of Sri Lanka is underlain by rocks of Precambrian age. The Precambrian crystalline rocks of Sri Lanka are divided into three major units: the Highland group, the Southwestern group, and the Vijayan Complex.

1st Century AD:
The historical chronicle of Sri Lanka, the Mahavamsa, records that gemstones were among the gifts of Sri Lanka's king, Devanampiyatissa, to Emperor Ashoka of India. The Mahavansa also records that the Buddha visited Sri Lanka to settle a dispute between the Naga King Mahodara and Prince Chulodara over a throne studded with gemstones.

5th Century AD:
The Buddhist monk, Fa-Hien, reports on the mineral abundance of the land when he visits Sri Lanka.

13th Century AD: The Venetian traveler, Marco Polo, reaches the shores of Sri Lanka. He writes: "The island produces more beautiful and valuable rubies than are found in any other part of the world. Likewise sapphires, topazes, amethysts, garnets, and many other precious and costly stones. The king is supposed to possess one of the grandest rubies that ever was seen, being a span in length and the thickness of a man's arm, brilliant beyond description, and without a single flaw."

14th Century AD: Visit of Iban Batuta, the Arab traveler from Tangier. He notes that, "Gems are met with in all localities in the island of Sri Lanka. All the women of Serendib possess necklaces of precious stones of diverse colors, they wear them also at their hands and feet, in the forms of bracelets and anklets. I have seen on the forehead of the white elephant several of these precious stones, each of which was larger than a hen's egg."

17th Century AD: Robert Knox, a sailor in the service of the East Indian Company, was captured by the King of Kandy in 1660 and held captive for many years before being released. He wrote: "In this island are several sorts of precious stones, which the King for his part has enough of, and so care th not to have more discoveries made. Also there are certain rivers out of which it is generally reported that they do take rubies and sapphires and cat's eyes for the King's use. And I have seen several pretty colored stones, some as big as cherry stones and some as buttons, and transparent, but understood not what they were. Rubies and sapphires I myself have seen."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ceylon Ruby

Ruby is an aluminum oxide, a variety of corundum; it occurs in medium to dark tones of red and violet-red to brownish-red.

Ruby is the most popular and highest priced colored stone of all time and its being used in King's crowns through out the history.

The Burmese believed that "blazing red" stones could be found in a "bottomless" valley. Natives threw pieces of meat into the valley, hoping that some stones could then be recovered by killing the vultures. In the Royal Collection of England, you can view a gold ring set with a pale but nearly flawless ruby into which a portrait of Louis XII of France is carved.

The most important factor in the value of a ruby is color. The top qualities are as red as you can imagine: a saturated pure spectral hue without any overtones of brown or blue. The word red is derived from the Latin word for ruby, rubier, which is derived from similar words in Persian, Hebrew, and Sanskrit. The intensity of color of a fine ruby is like a glowing coal, probably the most intensely colored substance our ancestors ever saw. It is no wonder they ascribed magical powers to these fires that burned perpetually and never extinguished themselves.

Besides color, other factors that influence the value of a ruby are clarity, cut, and size. Rubies that are perfectly transparent, with no tiny flaws, are more valuable than those with inclusions, which are visible to the eye. Cut can make a big difference in how attractive and lively a ruby appears to the eye. A well-cut stone should reflect back light evenly across the surface without a dark or washed-out area in the center that can result from a stone that is too deep or shallow. The shape should also be symmetrical and there should not be any nicks or scratches in the polish. Rubies and other gemstones are sold per carat, a unit of weight equal to one-fifth of a gram. Larger rubies, because they are more rare, will cost more per carat than smaller stones of the same quality.

The Ruby sometimes displays a three-ray, six-point star. These star rubies are cut in a smooth domed cabochon cut to display the effect. The star is most visible when illuminated with a single light source: it moves across the stone as the light moves. This effect, called asterism, is caused by light reflecting off tiny rutile needles, called "silk," which are oriented along the crystal faces.

The value of star rubies and sapphires are influenced by two factors: the intensity and attractiveness of the body color and the strength and sharpness of the star. All six legs should be straight and equally prominent. Star rubies rarely have the combination of a fine translucent or transparent color and a sharp prominent star. These gems are valuable and expensive.

The most famous source of fine rubies is Burma, which is now called Myanmar. The ruby mines of Myanmar date back to centuries ago: stone age and bronze age mining tools have been found in the mining area of Mogok. Rubies from the legendary mines in Mogok often have a pure red color, sometimes described as "pigeon's-blood", although that term is more fanciful than an actual practical standard in the trade today. Myanmar also produces intense pinkish red rubies, which are vivid and extremely beautiful. Many of the rubies from Burma have a strong fluorescence when exposed to ultraviolet rays like those in sunlight, which layers on extra color. Burma rubies have a reputation of holding their vivid color under all lighting conditions.

Sri Lankan stones are often pinkish in hue and many are pastel in tone. Some, however, resemble the vivid pinkish red hues from Burma. Rubies from Kenya and Tanzania surprised the world when they were discovered in the sixties because their color rivals the world's best. Unfortunately, most of the ruby production from these countries has many inclusions, tiny flaws that diminish transparency. Rubies from the African mines are rarely transparent enough to facet. However, their fantastic color is displayed to full advantage when cut in the cabochon style. A few rare clean stones of top quality have been seen.

Occasionally a few fine, top-quality rubies appear on the market from Afghanistan, Pakistan or the Pamir Mountains of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The terrain in these areas has made exploration for gemstones very difficult but someday they may produce significant quantities for the world market.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tucson Gem Show

America's gem festival of the year - the Tucson international gem show - successfully ended in February. It began 54 years ago as a class room exhibition of gems and minerals designed for the public by a geology professor at the Arizona State University USA. Today it has grown to become the world's largest gem-jewelry-mineral-fossil show.

Every new year season (January - February), the desert city of Tucson begins to dazzle with a myriad of colors as thousands of exhibitors and dealers from across the world display their glittering precious stones.

Major gem exhibits at Tucson convention centers and hotels are the AGTA (American Gem Traders Association), GJX (Gem and Jewelry Exchange) show and the WGJ (World Wide Gem and Jewelry) show. Among these AGTA and GJX are the most popular with over 2000 exhibitors at each show. Exhibitors form the United States, Europe and Asia dominate the show. Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Myanmar, China, and Japan are represented in different pavilions at the major gem shows.

The Sri Lankan exhibitors numbering over 100 exhibitors participate at two major shows in Tucson. Having participated for over 30 years, many Sri Lankan dealers do extremely well in promoting Sri Lanka's top quality blue sapphires, padmaraga and other gem stones. Also many lapidary dealers succeed in getting quotas of cutting orders fro factories thereby generating more employment in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) paved the way for Sri Lanka's participation in Tucson initially with four exhibitors. The number grew steadily and today it has risen to more than 100 dealers taking part in the Tucson festival.

In addition a multitude of gem and mineral and fossil shows are held in small hotels and motels around the city. An array of precious stones including diamonds, emeralds, sapphire and jade is a boon to buyers in selecting the best at competitive prices.

More than 50,000 buyers, many of them from the USA, Europe and Japan attend Tucson gem and jewelry festival. Visitors find traveling easier with an excellent shuttle bus service connecting the gem shows. The 38 shows are within easy reach by the Garnet route, Sapphire route, Emerald route, B-Line, A-Line, and many more shuttles. The buyers shop through the entries during the two week festival. Small dealers exhibitors earn an income at motels and wayside boutiques.

Sri Lanka gem dealers should do their best in promoting Facets Sri Lanka - the nations's gem festival. It needs to reach the level of a major international gem show.

This country has much to learn from the Tucson Gem Show in finding greater opportunities to promote the island's precious stones.

Choosing a Sapphire

Choosing a Sapphire

The most famous sources for sapphire are Kashmir and Burma, (now known as Myanmar). Kashmir sapphire, which was discovered in 1881 when a landslide in the Himalayas uncovered beautiful blue pebbles, has a rich velvety color prized by connoisseurs. Burma sapphires, from the same region that produces fabulous rubies, are also very fine. However, today, these two sources account for a very small quantity of the sapphire on the market.

Most fine sapphire on the market today comes from Sri Lanka, which produces a wide range of beautiful blues from delicate sky blue colors to rich saturated hues. Kanchanaburi in Thailand and Pailin in Cambodia are renowned for deep blue, even colors. Two relatively new mining localities are showing promise: Madagascar, which has produced some exceptionally fine stones in small sizes but has no organized mining yet, and Tanzania, which has long produced sapphire in other colors but is starting to produce blue colors as well from a new deposit in the south.

The most valuable sapphires have a medium intense, vivid blue color. The best sapphires hold the brightness of their color under all different types of lighting. Any black, grey, or green overtones mixed in with the blue will reduce a stone's value. In general, a more pastel blue would be less preferred than a vivid blue but would be priced higher than an overly dark blackish-blue color. As with all gemstones, sapphires, which are "clean" and have few visible inclusions or tiny flaws are the most valuable.

Sapphires are most often cut in a cushion shape - a rounded rectangle - or an oval shape. You can also find smaller sapphires in round brilliant cuts or a wide variety of fancy shapes, including triangles, squares, emerald cuts, marquises, pear shapes, baguette shapes, cabochon cuts and smooth domes.

Ceylon Sapphires

Sapphire is an aluminum oxide. Its color varies from very light to dark blue and varieties of colorless (white sapphire), yellow, violet, pink, green and the pinkish-orange (padparadscha sapphire).

Sapphires are generally treated with x-ray and heat to intensify their color. Natural sapphires undergo heat and diffusion treatments almost always. Treatment of blue stones is permanent.

Ceylon Sapphires

The Ceylon Blue Sapphire is known for its beauty – possessing the glorious cornflower blue shade – as well as for being one of the few sapphires in the world that can be sold as a completely natural stone without heat treatment. The blues aside, Ceylon sapphires also come in beautiful hues including pink, yellow, orange, green, purple, lavender and of course, the inimitable padparadscha sapphire (Pink-Orange). All these highly marketable qualities of Ceylon sapphire has created brand recognition world wide - a brand not created by the producers of the stone, but by the sellers and consumers.

Sapphires that show a star-like light effect are called star sapphires; the most famous star sapphire from Sri Lanka is displayed in the Museum of Natural History in New York. Star sapphires or star rubies display a star-like marking and this effect, commonly known as asterism, occurs when light falls on the cut stone, cut in the cabochon form, and three rays appear giving a six-point star.

Lastly, there is milky corundum, a white opaque form of corundum also called geuda, which for many years was regarded as useless and discarded, often ending up lining fish tanks in some gemstone merchant's house. This happened until dealers in Thailand learned to heat-treat geudas to change the color of the stone from an unattractive cloudy grey-white to a bright, sparkling blue. They completed the work nature began and ended up with a blue sapphire - of much greater value than a useless pebble. The color of heat-treated blue sapphires are stable and the chemical composition of the stone is that of a sapphire, although prices are lower than for a similar quality stone with natural color.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Blue Sapphires

Ceylon (Sri Lanka) Blue Sapphires are the world's finest blue sapphires. The most valuable blue sapphires are those with cornflower blue color.

The color of blue sapphires are vary from very light blue to very dark black like blue color with various tones.

Generally blue sapphires are heat treated to enhance the color and remove some inclusions.

Heat treatments of sapphires are acceptable.

Blue Sapphire is the birthstone of September and it is widely use a healing stone for astronomical purposes. Also blue sapphires are using with diamonds to make high value jewelry. Next to diamonds and ruby, blue sapphires are the most valuable gemstone in the market. The most common shapes are oval and cushion with step cut, but there are other shapes also.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Leading Gem Exporters - Reviews Part 1

Gem Cottage
Gem Cottage originated as a family business in 1986. The family has a long tradition and long roots in Gems of Sri Lanka. The business is based on trust and reliability.

Today Gem Cottage is a well known name in Sri Lanka and abroad for gems and lapidary. Gem cottage has won multiple awards for manufacturing and exports, including "Gold" and "Outstanding Exporter" of the year from the National Chamber of Exporters; and "Achiever Awards" for Excellence from the National Gem and Jewellery Authority.

Gem Cottage has a reputation for Precious and Semi-Precious Stones and also known for Topaz-Blue and White as a specialty.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Gemstone Care

Like all other things, you should care for your gemstones and gemstones jewelry. Dust, skin oil, and other unclean substances can damage your gemstones sparkle. The best and easiest thing to clean gemstones is using a clean cotton cloth. Clean gemstones and gemstone jewelry gently with a clean cotton piece of cloth, every time after use them and store them wrapping in a soft cloth each, separately.

Also you can clean gemstones with soap and water, but sometimes this could damage some metals. Also take your gemstone jewelries to a jeweler at least once a year and check to make sure stones mounted tightly to the setting to avoid falling out.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I recommend birthstone jewelry as a great birthday gift. Here are the most recognized list of birthstones.
  1. January - Garnet
  2. February - Amethyst
  3. March - Aquamarine
  4. April - Diamond / White Sapphire
  5. May - Emerald
  6. June - Pearl / Moonstone
  7. July - Ruby
  8. August - Peridot
  9. September - Sapphire
  10. October - Opal / Tourmaline
  11. November - Yellow Topaz / Citrine
  12. December - Blue Topaz / Turquoise

Monday, August 13, 2007

Gemstone Buying Guide

Rubies, Sapphires, Emeralds and other color gems added amazing colors to any collection of jewelry. Gemstones (Colored Stones) jewelry is a great gift for a birthday or anniversary, cost effective (than diamonds) yet have the pride of a precious gift.

How to select a Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald gemstone:

Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald are the most recognized non diamond gemstones among other gems. These gemstones generally have mineral traces called as inclusions. But in gem and jewelry industry, these inclusions are acceptable and is very difficult and rare (and very expensive) to find a flawless or even slightly included gemstone.

Ruby, Emerald and Sapphire are generally treated to enhance color and remove inclusions. Gemstones like Emerald are used to treat with oils and resins while Sapphire and Ruby frequently heat treated. If the seller doesn’t mentioned about the treatments, you must ask from the seller and obtain a recognized gem certificate to avoid purchasing of treated gemstones for the price of untreated ones. These treatments are accepted as a standard procedure in the gem and jewelry industry. Also there are untreated gemstones, but these are highly priced and rare.

  • Emerald – Emeralds comes in a large range of colors from yellow-green to blue-green, but most valuable Emeralds are those with pure green color. Emerald is the birth stone of May and consider as an anniversary gemstone of 20th, 35th and 55th years of marriage.

  • Ruby – Rubies are the most valuable gemstone of all. Ruby is the birthstone of July and comes in orange-red to purple-red colors range. Blood-Red color rubies are considered as the most valuable.

  • Sapphire – Like Ruby, Sapphire are also highly priced and not second to Rubies. The most famous colors are Cornflower Blue and Pure Yellow. Sapphires color ranging from colorless (white sapphire), yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue to black with all shades and mixes of these colors. Sapphire is the birthstone of September and 5th, 45th wedding anniversary gemstone.
Gemstone Color:
The color of a gemstone is the most important factor you should consider when choosing a gemstone. A small gemstone with very good color could be highly priced than a poor color heavier stone. Also a good color hides inclusions and brings a bright shine which is called as the luster. When you looking at the color of a gemstone, there are three factors to be considered;

  • Hue – The unique color of the stone (as an example pure red, pure blue) without mixing of other colors.

  • Tone – Indicates whether the gemstone is a lighter color or darker color, generally scale from light to medium to dark. The most preferable tone is either medium-light or medium-dark.

  • Saturation – The purity of the color. If the color mixes more gray the saturation is low, and high saturated mean the color is more pure and brighter.
Cut and Polish is also another factor to be consider of when you choosing a gemstone. A good cut and well polished gemstone with leaner surface gives a bright luster (shining under light) and hide inclusions.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Gem News - NGJA Earns Rs.12 million from an auction

Sri Lanka National Gem and Jewelry Authority was able to earn Rs.12 million (US $120,000) by an auction of Crown Gem Lands. This auction was organized by National Gem and Jewelry Authority on last week.

The auction was held at Palmadulla (Ratnapura), which lands owned by Kahawatta Plantations Limited. Licensed issued for gem mining in 26 lands for a period of one year.

Excepts to Gem Lands, Some mining instruments and rock gems (illam) were also sold at this auction.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Gem export figures in year 2005 and 2006

Gem export figures country wise and variety wise for year 2005 and 2006.

An analysis of gem exports

An analysis of gem exports made during the year 2006 through the Gem and Jewelry Authority:

All gems, jewelry, diamond and geuda exports should be chenneled through the export division of the National gem and Jewelry Authority. These export matters are being handled in the following branches of the National Gem and Jewelry Authority.

National Gem and Jewelry Authority
Head Office (Export Division)
25, Galle Face Terrace, Colombo 03. Sri Lanka.
Telephone: +94 11 2325364 / 2329295

Gem Export Center
Air Cargo Village, Air Port, Katunayake, Sri Lanka.
Telephone: +94 11 2252203

Geuda Export Center
Gem Complex, Ratnepura. Sri Lanka
Telephone: +94 452 222007

The Services required by the exporters are provided by the export and export promotion division situated at head office. Ancillary services required by the exporters such as custom facilities, post office facilities, services of international forwarders, are provided in the head office with the help of relevant organizations.
Gem Exports

The value of the gem exported in the year 2006 amounted to Rs.9853.2 million (US $98.50 million) while it was Rs.8004.7 million (US $80.00 million) in the year 2005. These represent a increase of 23% in the year 2006 when compared with year 2005. The volume of the gems exported in the year 2006 was 8,931,696 in cartage. The increase of the volume of exports in the year 2006 is 34.4% when compared with year 2005. The export value and caratage for last 5 years are indicated in graph 1 and 2.

The main international markets for Sri Lankan gems are USA, Thailand, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Japan. In the graph 2 you will find country wise gem exports made to the 8 big buyers in the year 2005 and 2006.

Blue Sapphire is the leading product exported by this industry. In the year 2006 the value of Blue Sapphire exports represents 44.5% of total export earnings in gems. Table 2 indicates the details of gems exported i the year 2005 and 2006.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

News Update - Facets 2007

"Gemstones Direct From The Source" is the theme of the Facets 2007, 17th international gem and jewelry show in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka gem and jewelry association (SLGJA) has finalized arrangements to stage "Facets Sri Lanka" the 17th international Gem & Jewelry Show from 30th August to 2nd September 2007 at the BMICH Exhibition and Convention Center in Colombo.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Curative Measures of Gem Therapy

  • Headache - Emerald and Moonstone
  • Pneumonia - Red coral and Yellow Sapphire
  • Influenza - Red Coral and Yellow Sapphire
  • Leukemia - Red Coral and Zircon or Yellow Sapphire and Zircon
  • Diabetes - Red Coral and Yellow Sapphire or Red Coral and Lapis Lazuli
  • Color Blind - Red Coral and White Pearl
  • Brain Tumors - Emeralds, Yellow Sapphire and Red Coral
  • Kidney Disorder - Demontoied Garnet
  • Impotence - Red and White Coral with Yellow Sapphire
  • Rheumatism - Red Coral and Yellow Sapphire
  • Blood Pressure - Ruby
  • Heart Disease - Orange Sapphire
  • Shivering - Tsavorite Garnet

Gems and their effect on human body

Our body is composed of cosmic radiations and seven colors (rainbow colors), which become in balance in the course of time. Astrological gems are carefully selected fro use to affect the body beneficially through their measured radiations.

"Gems increase the physical and psychic powers of an individual in addition to prevent the ill effects of planets by their curative powers"

A gem should be set in a right metal, size, weight and angles. It should be worn on the correct finger. Each gems with it constant source of specific ray gives rise to constructive vibration that have a therapeutic power.

All gems have magnetic powers in varying degrees and many of them are beneficial to us for their therapeutic cures. They emit vibrations and frequencies, which have strong potential influence on our whole being. They create strong energy fields, which enable us to change with their energies. Gems are used for healing, transforming ,balancing, and attuning the body, mind and soul. They are a manifestation of vibrancy, light and color, life, textures, transparency and clarity. They activate our abilities, soothe, comfort, heal and balance through the purity of their rays. The arrangement of the gems in a pattern is of significance, especially in Nawaratne sets. The changes in the cosmic law and in our life is altered and influenced by wearing the correct gems. Each gem has a particular ray and a special role to play.

The gems can be cleaned of the blemish by burying them in earth overnight and rinse them off by leaving them under running water for eight hours or keep them in the flame of a candle till the candle melts or under direct sunlight for six hours and sink them in a salt water for 12 - 36 hours. Then the gem will get clean, purified and energize.

Gemstones found in Sri Lanka

Gemstones Found in Sri Lanka:

Blue Sapphire (national Gemstone), Star Ruby, White Sapphire, Star Sapphire, Yellow Sapphire, Pink Sapphire, Orange Sapphire, Alexandrite Cats Eye, Padparadscha Sapphire, Chrysoberyl Cats Eye, Color Change Alexandrite, Ruby, Chrysoberyl, Amethyst, Aquamarine, Beryl, Rhodolite Garnet, Spinel, Pyrope Garnet, Citrine, Topaz, Hessonite Garnet, Zircon, Moonstone, Almandine Garnet, Spessartite Garnet, Tourmaline.

Importance of High Value Jewelry

Very few Sri Lankans have stepped into the high value international jewelry market. Leaders in this field like Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, Harry Winston, Mouwad, Carl Faberge have attracted multimillionaires worldwide. Whether it is in Europe, U.S.A., Japan, Middle East, Hollywood USA or Bollywood India, the super rich never think twice on acquiring this kind of jewelry since it is not only vogue, but also a reflection of their wealth and social status.

Leading high value jewelry manufacturers run their main showrooms in the metropolitans like Paris, Geneva, New York, Rome and Tokyo. They continuously expand their outlets in the booming markets where ever they are.

We Sri Lankans need to meet certain requirements before stepping in to this area.

  1. Market
    There should be a way to communicate with the relevant markets and customers or to have direct contacts with those who supply high value jewelry. If we have the right product trade shows in many parts of the world can be used to build up contacts and publicity.

  2. Technology
    There is sophisticated equipments that helps to make the production process easier and safer when working with high value gems. Technology plays a major role in reducing the production cost and time as well as improving quality.

  3. Precious Stones
    There should be a continuous flow of precious stones in many shapes, sizes and cuts, apart from diamonds which is a must. Sri Lanka has a great potential to provide some of the world's finest gems. Even at this moment hundreds of skilled lapidaries are busily preparing then in state of the art factories to be exported to many parts of the world.

  4. Craftsmen
    Ordinary goldsmiths do not have the capability to do this. It need patience, concentration and on most of all the experience of making those silky smooth jewelry. Having had the opportunity to work for some of the biggest high value jewelry producers, especially in the middle east and i other parts of the world, highly skilled Sri Lankan craftsmen are ready to train others so the they can use their skills to benefit both industry and the country.

  5. Design
    This is the key factor in capturing markets. If the design is unique, goes with the trend and stands out from the rest it will have its own value and momentum. The handful of Sri Lankan designers who have worked for years in the high value jewelry industry in foreign lands are looking forward to test the best of their creations. The manufacturers or the investors, both locally and internationally have the opportunity to obtain their services.
But Sri Lankan jewelry manufacturers who possess all the capabilities have not touched even the tip of this promising market. Although a few have tried to do something, they have a very long way to go. Time has come for them to rethink their strategies of marketing the product and employing people to achieve the goal. Opportunity has always been there to supply top quality high value jewelry to the world's leading manufacturers, but no one has exploited it yet. Great potential remains untouched.

A countless number of precious stones and diamonds make their way through the Sri Lanka Customs throughout the year. many skilled craftsmen and designers fly to many parts of the world and the result is a brain drain. Our country looses great potential, skills, ability and creativity. We ought to have a clear strategy in this. There is a great opportunity for leading foreign manufacturers and the investors to open their factories in Sri Lanka and make the best use of talents and resources available here.

Facets - Sri Lanka International Gem Show

The 17th "Facets" Sri Lanka International Gem and Jewellery Show will be held at BMICH Exhibition and Convention Center, Colombo from August 30th to September 2nd 2007. The theme of the show is "Gemstones direct from the source...". Please contact event organizers for more details.

Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association
28, Haig Road, Colombo 04. Sri Lanka.
Tel: +94 11 2597226 / 2597470 Fax: +94 11 2597250 Email:

Message from the Minister

This is the exact message from the Minister of Enterprise Development & Investment Promotion, Dr. Sarath Amunugama published on Gem Talk April issue.

It gives me much satisfaction to issue a message of good wishes for the 3rd issue of "Gem Talk" which I am happy to learn has become a useful, well worth reading and pleasing to look at publication, creating a thorough awareness of Sri Lanka Gem and Jewelry industry among both local and foreign entrepreneurs.

Sri Lanka has been celebrated for its gems from ancient times. Along with the mining of gems there were other aspects connected with the gem industry, which have been a great value to Sri Lanka. Foreign exchange earnings for the country, employment, opportunities, created by the industry, as well as the transfer of technology are among them.

I wish to urge the business community not to think with an "Island Mentality" and depend on the faith of the international community to reach the US $2.00 billion investment target projected for this year. I am confident that the unrest prevailing in some parts of the country would not hamper the achieving of this investment target; or even surpassing it.

It is pertinent to note, that US $500 million had already been collected in foreign investment in the first quarter of 2007. I am happy to state that a scheme has been formulated to identify & increase foreign investment in Apparel, Information Technology, Pharmaceuticals, Tourism, Fisheries and Gem & Jewelry industry during the rest of the year 2007. It is important that we think big and remember that the world has not lost faith in Sri Lanka.

Through the combined efforts of the government of Sri Lanka and the private sector, Sri Lanka has become one of the major gem centers in the world. With sustained effort we could forge ahead to be a world leader.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Gem Talk - Reviews

Sri Lanka gem & jewelry industry has played a very significant role in the country's economy. It has been one of the top sources of foreign exchange earnings for several consecutive years with an annual growth of more than 7%. With the close co-operation of Government and the private sector, impressive growth figures are expected to continue for many more years. The National Gem and Jewelry Authority's role in facilitating & promoting the industry has built a strong foundation for it.

Knowledge management is another strategic factor in sustaining the success of Sri Lanka's gem and jewellery industry, under close consultation with the private sector representatives and trade associations. This is essential to meet the challenges posed by rapid globalization. In order to remain as one of the world's leading gem producing and jewelry manufacturing countries stake holders should take all aspects of the industry in to consideration.

They include knowledge in gemology, technology, fashion, trends, design and marketing. Knowledge management programs are intended to achieve specific outcomes, such as improving performance of SME's, skills up gradation at all levels, creating higher levels of innovation and competitive advantage for stakeholders.

Knowledge always exists in one form or another and it need to be managed and transfered to all stake holders at all levels of gem and jewelry industry in an effective, proper and most beneficial way. knowledge management is a continually evolving discipline, which include corporate libraries, workshops, seminars, on the job peer discussions and professional training programs.

Having realized the importance of knowledge management, National Gem and Jewelry Authority is committed to assist all the stake holders in what ever possible way to reap its optimum benefits.

Leading Gem Exporters in Sri Lanka (Part 1)

  • Ellawala Exports (Pvt) Ltd
    14, Carlwil Place, Colombo 03. Sri Lanka.
    Tel: +94 11 2573971 Fax: +94 11 2573098 Email:
    Contact Person: Mr. Rainier Nanayakkara

  • A.M.S. Deen & Sons
    19, Macan Markar Arcade, Galle Face, Colombo 03. Sri Lanka
    Tel: +94 11 2326687 / 2574435 Fax: +94 11 2577575 Email:
    Contact Person: Mr. Ajward Deen

  • Gem Paradise
    421, 2/1, Galle Road, Colombo 03. Sri Lanka.
    Tel: +94 11 2591036 Fax: +94 11 2582493 Emial:
    Contact Person: Mr. A.H.M. Imtizam

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Gems

The gems of Sri Lanka are woven in to his history. The Mahavansa, the ancient chronicle of Sri Lanka too mentioned about gems and jewelry. Indeed, the lord Buddha himself is sad to have had to come to Sri Lanka from India to settle a dispute between two kings, Chulodara and Mahodara, over a throne of gems.

King Soloman is reported to have had gems brought from this island to win the heart of beautiful queens. The great traveler, Marco Polo, was said to have been so awe struck by a priceless ruby in the possession of the king of Sri Lanka that the recorded it as been "span in length, with out a flow, brilliant beyond compare".

Sri Lanka became known as Ratna Deepa (The Island of Gems). Some of the rarest precious stones in the world are found in abundances in the reach earth under our feet and the hills above us. Among the several world famous gems Sri Lanka's blue sapphire weighing 466 carats, the largest known sapphire in the world. Weighing in at 19Kg was also discovered here. Other famous gems include the "Blue Giant of the Orient", weighing nearly 500 carats and the "Bluebell of Asia", which weights in at 400 carats. The renowned Sri Lankan star sapphire is on permanent display at he museum of natural history in New York, but due to an oversight, the stone has been called the star of india.

Throughout history Sri Lanka's gems and jewelry have adorned the crown jewels of many a royal family. A 105 carats cat's eye gemstone discovered in a paddy field in Sri Lanka, gained fame among the royalty of Britain and was successively admired by Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, and Queen Elizabeth.

The process of mining for gems is begun at an auspicious time with a short religious ritual. The most common methods of mining are in pita and by tunneling. Surface gemming and dredging depends on the location and the type of deposits stones are normally found in a layer of coarse, pebbly material, which contains traces of clay and fine sand. This gravel containing gems are referred as to as "illama" and is found just below the alluvial deposits.

The rarest gem in the world alexandrite, is found in Sri Lanka.

Gem pits are of two kinds. The shallow ones are well shaped and circular, where as deep pits are rectangular. To prevent the walls of the pits from caving in scaffoldings are made and the spaces filled with leaves. The water is then pumped out of the pit. If the "illama" vein runs horizontally, tunneling has to be resorted to.

Another method of collecting "illama" is to place wooden poles across the river bed and standing on a pole with a long stick, a person drags the gravely sand towards him. This is then collected in buckets.

Either way the gravel is then washed in large circular wicker buckets by immersing them in water and rotating them. This enables the light, ordinary pebbles and sediment to escape, leaving the heavier pebbles behind. Then the basket are held against the sunlight and the sorting is carried out. Each illam brings forth a variety of stones. The principle source of Alexandrite, the rarest gem in the world is Sri Lanka it was first found in the Urals in 1830 and is named after Czar Alexander II who come of age on the day it was found. This stone shines green in natural light but turns raspberry red in artificial light. The cat's eye is another stones which is considered valuable and rare. It derives it name from fact that a silvery lines runs across its greenish gray surface, giving it a remarkable resemblance to the eye of a cat. The rarest type is the black cat's eye. Sri Lanka can host of having 17 varieties of precious and semi precious stone. The most notable are,

Blue Sapphire - A blue stone with a silvery streak, said to protect its wearer.
Alexandrite - The rarest and possibly the most beautiful of stones.
Star Ruby - Its color range from pale pink to red with sulky streak.
Yellow Sapphire - Poetically known as the "Pollen of Flowers" because of its soft yellow coloring.
Star Sapphire - A rich blue star stone with snowy streak, said to bring good luck.
Amethyst - A rich purple stone
Garnet - A deep purplish red stone, unique for its richness of color.
Moonstone - A pale blue stone with silvery light only found in Sri Lanka and said to possess the power of tranquilizing it wearer.

Private Gem Testing Laboratories in Sri Lanka

The following list is not an endorsement, it is for information purpose only.
  1. Mr. Dayananda Dillimuni - FGA, D.Gem.G
    Allied Gemological Institute & Laboratory
    (Allied Teaching Center of the Gemological Association of Great Britain)
    131A, Purwarama Road, Kirulapona, Colombo 05. Sri Lanka.
    Telephone: +94 11 2871889 / 2820516

  2. Mr. Sheriff A. Rahuman (Dip.G.G.I)
    95A, Chatham Street, Colombo 01. Sri Lanka
    Telephone: +94 11 2320112 Fax: +94 11 2343283

  3. Mr. E. Gamini Zoysa - Msc(mos) FGA (Lon) MIMM (lon) PD, GG(GIA)
    Mincraft Company
    4, Gothami Mawatha, Mt. Lavinia, Sri Lanka
    Telephone: +94 11 2724789 / 2726796 Fax: +94 11 2733693
    Email: Website:

  4. Mr. Ravi Samaranayake - FGG(Germany), FGA(GB), Dip.Gem,.Geo(SL), MGA(SL)
    Ravi Gems
    Shop No.7, Level 5, Sri Lanka Gem & Jewellery Exchange, WTC, Colombo 01. Sri Lanka
    Telephone: +94 11 2391236 Fax: +94 11 5552281

  5. Mrs. Sujatha Amarasiri - FGA(Lon), D.Gem.G(Germany), CG(SL)
    Lakshani Gem Testing Laboratory
    52A, Galle Road, Colombo 03. Sri Lanka.
    Telephone: +94 11 2337443 Fax: +94 11 2362470

  6. Mr. Hirosha Yahampath - FGA, MGA
    Gemological Education, Staff Training, Gem Tours
    112, Piliyandala Road, Maharagama, Sri Lanka
    Telephone: +94 11 2845012

Friday, August 3, 2007

International Leading Gem Testing Laboratories

There are a number of competent, internationally recognizes gemological loboratories. The following list is not an endorsement, it is for information purpose only.

  1. Gubelin Gem Lab Ltd.
    Maihofstrasse 102, CH-6000; Lucerne-9, Switzerland.
    Telephone: +41 041 4291717
    Fax: +41 041 4291734

  2. Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF)
    Falknerstrasse-9, CH-4001 Basel, Switzerland.
    Telephone: +41 061 2620640
    Fax: +41 061 2620641

  3. GIA Gem Trade Laboratory
    580, Fifth Avenue, NY 10036-4794, USA
    Telephone: +1 212 2215858
    Fax: +1 212 5753095

  4. GIA Gem Trade Laboratory
    5355, Armade Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008-4699, USA
    Telephone: +1 760 603 4500
    Fax: +1 760 603 1841

  5. Tokyo Gem Laboratory (Thailand) co., Ltd
    987, Rama Jewellery building, 3rd Floor, Silom Road, Bangkok - 10500, Thailand.
    Telephone: 662 635 2030-2
    Fax: 662 635 2033

  6. The Gem and Jewellery Institute of Thailand
    Gemmological Research and Testing Building, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Phyathi Road, Patumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.
    Telephone: 662 218 5470-4
    Fax: 662 218 5474

  7. The Gemological Association and gem Testing Laboratory of Great Britain
    27, Greville Street, Saffron Hill Entrance, London ECIN 8TN, United Kingdom
    Telephone: 20 7404 3334
    Fax: 20 7404 8843

International Asia Trade Fairs for Gems and Jewellery

1. International Jewellery Tokyo - Japan (January)
2. Bangkok Gems and Jewellery Fair - Thailand (February)
3. International Jewellery Kobe - Japan (May)
4. Hong Kong Jewellery & watch Fair and Asia Fashion Jewellery & Accessories Fair - Hong Kong SAR (June)
5. Jade & Gems Special Sale - Myanmar (June)
6. Koria International Jewellery & Watch Fair - Koria (July)
7. India International Jewellery Show - Mumbai, India (July)
8. Japan Jewellery Fair - Japan (September)
9. International Gem and Jewellery Exhibition - India (September)
10. Facets International Gem and Jewellry Show - Sri Lanka (September)
11. Bangkok Gems & Jewellery Fair - Thailand (September)
12. Hong Kong Jewellery & Watch Fair - Hong Kong SAR (September)
13. Malaysia International Jewelex - Malysia (October)
14. Mid Year Myanmar Gems, Jade & Pearl Emporium - Myanmar (October)
15. China International Jewellery Fair - Beijing, China (November)
16. Jewellery & watch Asia - Philippines (November)

International Trade Fairs for Gems and Jewelry

1. Vicenza Oro - Vicenza, Italy (January)
2. Jewellers International Showcase - Miami Beach, USA (January)
3. JA International Jewelry Show - New York, USA (January)
4. AGTA Gem Fair Tucson - Tucson, USA (February)
5. GLDA Tucson Gem Show - Tucson, USA (February)
6. Inhorgenta Europe - Munich, Germany (February)
7. BASEL - Basel, Switzerland (April)
8. International Jewelry Dubai - Dubai, UAE (May)
9. GLDA Las Vegas Gem & Jewelry Show - Las Vegas, USA (June)
10. The Strategic International Jewelry Show - Las Vegas, USA (June)
11. The JCK Show - Las Vegas, USA (June)
12. Vicenza Oro 2 - Vicenza, Italy (June)
13. J.A. International Jewelry Show - New York, USA (July)
14. International Jewellery London - London, UK (September)
15. Intergem - Idar Oberstein, Germany (October)
16. Jewellers International Showcase - Miami Beach, USA (October)
17. Jewellery Arabia - UAE (October)
18. Jewelers International Showcase - United States (October)
19. The International Jewelry - Dubai, UAE (December)

Using E-Commerce for the Gem & Jewelry Industry

E-Commerce comprises a host of techniques designed to make business more efficient and effective. These techniques provide companies with a suite of methods which enable them to;
  1. Improve the conduct of their business
  2. Improve relationship with trading partners
  3. Expand their business, globally or in new markets
E-Commerce and a new term, E-business, are often used interchangeably, and for on line retail selling, the term e-tailing is sometimes used.

Benefits of E-Commerce to the business and its consumers
  1. Enable companies to reach customers all over the world
  2. Enable companies to expand their business as well as increases profits
  3. Enable to do business at a low overhead cost
    4. Provides the customer with access to the service 24 hours per day, seven days a week any where in the world
  4. Enable companies too conduct an auction online
Business activities are conducted through following methods under the E-Commerce

1. Buyer to Buyer (B2B)
2. Buer to Consumer (B2C)
3. Buyer to Government (B2G)
4. Consumer to Consumer (C2C)

Sri Lanka Export Development Board (SLEDB) has established its E-Commerce section ( which provides a host of services to those wish to reap benefits through e-business technologies.

For further details, please contact

Trade Net SL/EDB
42, Nawam Mawatha, Colombo 02. Sri Lanka.
Telephone: +94 11 2300702

Harmonised System Codes (HS CODES) - Gem & Jewellery Industry

  1. Watch box, Jewelry box - 3923.10.01
  2. Jewelry box - 42.02
  3. Glass beads, Beads, Imitation pearls, Imitation precious & Semi precious stones - 70.18
  4. Pearls - 71.01
  5. Diamonds - 71.02
  6. Gems - 71.03
  7. Synthetic Gems - 71.04
  8. Diamond & Diamond Powder - 71.05
  9. Silver - 71.06
  10. Metal Clad with Silver - 71.07
  11. Gold - 71.08
  12. Metal Clad with Gold - 71.09
  13. Platinum - 71.10
  14. Metal Clad with Platinum - 71.11
  15. Scrap Precious Metal - 71.12
  16. Articles of Jewellery & Jewellery Findings - 71.13
  17. Imitation Jewelry Findings - 71.14
  18. Other articles of precious metal - 71.15
  19. Imitation Jewelry - 71.17

Gem & Jewellery Trading Associations in Sri Lanka

  • Sri Lanka Gem & Jewelry Association
    No.28, Haig Road, Colombo 04. Sri Lanka.
    Telephone: +94 11 2597226

  • Gemmologist Association of Sri Lanka
    292A, Galle Road, Colombo 04. Sri Lanka
    Telephone: +94 11 2588864

  • Sri Lanka Jewellers Association
    83, Sea Street, Colombo 11. Sri Lanka
    Telephone: +94 11 2447205 / 2431374

  • The Gem & Jewelry Dealers Association of Sri Lanka Gem & Jewellery Exchange
    Shop No.06, SLGJE, Level 5, WTC, Colombo 01. Sri Lanka
    Telephone: +94 11 2390960

  • Sri Lanka Diamond Manufacturers Association
    Colandium (Pvt) Ltd. Ring Road - 3, Phase II, IPZ, Katunayake. Sri Lanka
    Telephone: +94 11 2253138 / 2252123

  • Sri Lanka Gem Dealers & Miners Association
    Vidyala Mawatha, Kahawatta. Sri Lanka
    Telephone: +94 45 22 70298

Freight Forwarding Agents Registered with NGJA

1. Deen Freight Forwarders
2. Artigala Freight Forwarders
3. Samath Freight Forwarders
4. M.J.M. Abdul Carder & Co.
5. Meeraniya Mohideen Trading Agency
6. Precious Cargo Handlers
7. Tharanga Freight Forwarders
8. A.B.C. Freighters

Thursday, August 2, 2007

ATA Carnet system operational countries

Countries which the ATA Carnet system is in operation.
The ATA Carnet system is in operation in 58 countries at present. They are;

Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cote d'Ivorie, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea (Public of), Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zeland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United State of America.

For more details please contact,

International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ICCSL)
No.141/7, Vaxhall Street, Colombo 02. Sri Lanka.
Telephone / Fax: +94 11 2307841


Speed through customs with your passport for goods ATA Carnet.

What is an ATA Carnet?

ATA stands for Admission - Temporaries - Admission

The ATA Carnet is a uniform international customs document under the cover of which goods referred to in the ATA convention could be effectively exported and imported duty free.

However, it does not prohibit sale of such products if the exporter comes across a sale, provided applicable import duty for such sale is made in the country concerned.

Who could benefit for the ATA Carnet?

The users of a Carnet may be an individual or company registered in Sri Lanka.
  • Traveling business / sales executives
  • Technicians
  • Fair exhibitors & professional individuals and teams such as film crews, surgeons, architects, artists, engineers, educationalists, entertainers, etc.
If the Carnet is to be used by any other person, he/she should carry a letter from the Carnet the holder on his/her behalf.

Goods which qualify under the ATA Carnet system.
  1. Samples of value
  2. Professional equipments
  3. Goods for presentation, use at exhibitions or trade fairs

For more details please contact;

Issuing Authority of Sri lanka
International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ICCSL)
No.141/7, Vaxhall Street, Colombo 02.
Sri Lanka.

Telephone: +94 11 2307841 Fax: +94 11 2307841

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