Thursday, July 23, 2009

World Diamond Trade

Europeans once believed that the cutting or alteration of a diamond would destroy its magical properties, but sometime after 1330AD, cutters in Venice learned how to shape and polish a diamond with an iron wheel coated with diamond dust to produce greater brilliance. The city then became the first centre for diamond trading. Over the next century, diamond traders, mainly Jews escaping from persecution, shifted to Bruges and Paris, and later to Antwerp. They marketed their diamonds to European jewellers, who began to set diamonds in jewels and royal regalia during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

The diamonds came from Indian mines as well. Among the merchants who sailed east seeking to profit from the sale of diamonds and spices was the great Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama. He was one of the first to sail via the Cape of Good Hope, hoping to avoid the Arab pirates who roved the Arabian Sea. He landed near Goa and this port became the Portuguese trading center in India, and a flourishing trade in diamonds developed from Goa to Lisbon and then on to Antwerp.

The discovery of diamonds in Brazil caused the collapse of the diamond market in 1725 although it was initially advertised that these diamonds came from India. India and Brazil were the main sources of diamonds up until 1851. Fifteen years later, a child of an African farmer picked up a white pebble that turned out to be a 21-carat diamond. This was followed soon afterwards by the discovery of another stone of 83-carats. These finds triggered a major diamond rush in South Africa and Rhodesia that later expanded in to mining for gold and coper. Deep volcanic pipes that were apparently an inexhaustible source of diamonds were then located, mined and factories started production.

Rubies and Sapphires of Sri Lanka

Ruby abd sapphire belong to the mineral family called corundum. Chemically they are both aluminium oxide in a crystalline form that was made deep underground into clear and beautiful gemnstones under high pressure and heat. Impurities within the crystals give it the attractive, glowing colours. Good specimens of these gems are perhaps almost as valuable as diamonds. All colours of corundum except red are known as sapphires. The colorless variety is called white sapphire and was once a cheap substitute for diamonds. Yellow, purple, pink, green or white sapphires are called "facy" by the trade. Red corundum is now termed as ruby but there was a controversy some years ago on the difference between ruby and red or pink sapphire. In 1991, the International Coloured Gemstone Association ruled that even the lighter shades of red corundum should be termed ruby.

Sapphires and rubies are found all over the world and are mined in Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Kenya, Nigeria, Russia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, USA, and Zambia, but the gemstones from India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other countries in the far east were and still are renowned for their pure, rich color and quality. Specially Sri Lanka produces the world's best quality blue sapphires. Good quality stones have been found in Sri Lanka, all over india, from Tamil Nadu in the south to Kashmir in the North. Blue sapphires from the very inaccessible mines of the Zanskar valley in Kashmir are produces good quality gemstones than other parts in the India. Discovered in 1880 after a huge rock slide, they have a pure intence blue color, with a slight measure of silk or milkiness. The oldest sapphire mines were in Sri Lanka and gems found there are light to rich blue in colors. Cornflower blue color sapphires are only found in Sri Lanka, and are very high in price. Sapphires from Madagascar are of high quality with some exceptional yellow and pink stones. Brazil has unearthed some good blue to purple and pink stones recently.

Sapphires from Sri Lanka is known as "Ceylon Sapphires".

Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Pearls

Pearls have always been sought after by women as these organic gems a smooth and lustrous white appearance that flatters a clear skin. A pearl is characterized by its translucence and lustre and by a delicate variation of surface color that gemmologists call its 'orient'. The more perfect its shape, be it sphere or teardrop, and the deeper its lustre, the greater its value. Pearls come in a wide range of colours from white, silvery white, pink, salmon, red, copper, bronze, brown, lavender, purple, green, blue and vream to yellow, depending on the mussel species, genetics, organic pigments in the mussel, water quality, and the position of the pearl in the shell. Pale pink, rose, lavender and purple are the most popular colors.

Only certain species of molluscs whose shells are lined with mother-of-pearl produce pearls that are really fine. The salt water pearls from the colluscs that live in the sea are sometimes known as Oriental pearls. Natural pearls from molluscs that live in freshwater are usually of odd shapes and it is rare to find a perfectly rounded specimen. White freshwater pearls are occasionally but wrongly known as elephant pearls. Misshapen pearls of unique forms, are for instance those that look like a statue of the Buddha are of great value. In the seventeenth century, these oddly shaped gems were imaginatively set into brooches and pendants.

Pearls were collected and prized from earliest times. It is conjectured that an ancient Indian fisherman discovered the white pebble-like object while opening oysters for food and the gem has been revered ever since. This organic gem was so respected six thousand years ago that the dead were buried with a pearl in the right hand, perhaps to as a guide to heaven. The legend in India is that loard Krishna plucked the first pearl from the sea to present it to his daughter Pandaia on her wedding day. Chaina's long recorded history also provides ample evidence of the importance of pearls. The Shujing book of recorded observations of 2300BC states that pearls were presented as tribute to the king.

Other Gemstones in Sri Lanka

Alexandrite is an expensive variety of chrysoberyl that changes color from green in daylight to red in candlelight because of the chromium it contains as an impurity. Beryl is the generic name for the gemstones whose composition is beryllium aluminium silicate. Beryl that contains sodium, lithium and caesium are known as Aquamarine. Aquamarine has pale blue color and generally retailed in emerald cut shapes. Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye shows a band of light across its face as it is rotated. The best stones are rich honey-brown to apple green in colors and a strong and sharp band. Garnet refers to a group of silicate minerals. Garnet has colors from deep red to orange and purple red colors. Jade is another popular gemstone, but not very expensive. Jade comes in white to dark grey, yellowish, pink or lilac, and lavender colors and semi transparent to translucent. Moonstones or Ceylon Opal is one of the unique gemstone that only found in Sri Lanka. It is found in milky colors and always cut as cabochon.

Peridot is a yellowish green color stone, easily differentiated from the pure green of emerald. It is mined in Myanmar and China. Quartz is another very cheap gemstone present in plenty all over the world. Quartz are just colorless or shades of yellow and rose color sand found in large sizes. Amethyst is often found in quartz geodes. It is variety of quartz and the presence of iron impurity gives it a color that ranges from pale lilac to deep purple. Spinel, once known as Balas Ruby, is a variety that has slight difference from ruby or sapphires. In fact many of the renowned rubies, such as the Black Prince Ruby and the Timur Ruby of the British crown jewels are not rubies, but red spinels. Spinels are found in many colors from varieties of red to blue.

Topaz is somewhat middle prized gemstone that found in colorless (white topz), blue, and yellow colors. Tourmaline is a somewhat fragile stone that comes in many colors. Deposits of high quality are from Sri Lanka. Zircon belongs to the silicate family. It could be colorless, yellow, orange, red, blue, brown or green. It is found in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Opals

The opal is not very popular among Indians though it was known as a gem in ancient India. It is said that the Sanskrit word, 'upala' that means a precious stone evolved into opal, but others suggest that the Latin word for a gemstone, 'opalus' was the source of the present day name. Opals are available in most jewellery stores in Hong Kong and Singapore and are popular there.

Opal is not a durable gemstone as it is soft, sensitive to heat and dryness and is brittle. Its background colour ranges from white to yellow, red, pink, brown or gray. The brilliance of the flash of color - the 'opalescence' - and the colours themselves and their pattern influence the value of the stone. Opals that show large flashes and broad patterns are more rare and valuable than small patterns. There are three types of opals: precious opal, fire opal and potch, the common or unformed opal. Precious opal is graded according its background color and the intensity and size of the patches of flashing color. Most of these gems are white or light blue and green, but those that contain reds, oranges, and violets are more valuable. Black opal, that has a predominantly dark background but flashes color as it is turned, is very rare and so the most expensive of all opals. When it exhibits red and orange colours, it may well be as expensive as diamond, emerald, or ruby. Crystal opal or water opal, the next most costly type of opal, is transparent, with flashes, and is highly valued due to the brilliance of its colours and the fact that many layers of color within the stone come through.

Fire opal or cherry opal ranges in colour from colorless to yellow, orage and a deep red, with bright flecks of various colors. Jewelers offer it in faceted and cabochon cuts, with many fancy shapes. Most fire opal comes from Mexico and is sold for the color and clarity as faceted gemstones. It is not particularly expensive as it gets damaged easily.

Introduction to gemstones in Sri Lanka

It gives one great pleasure to handle precious stones. These is the joy of holding a beautiful objects, knowing that it has enormous value. Even more satisfying is the knowledge that its appearance and therefore its value can be improves by scientific methods.

The indian market for diamonds and colored stones is enormous, perhaps the largest in the world. But Sri Lankan market for Blue Sapphires is unique. Sri Lankan sapphires (commonly known as Ceylon Sapphires) are considered as the finest in the world from the very beginning of history of gem trade. Indian customers buy gems to ensure good fortune, happiness and health. Unfortunately, the advice jewelers often give them is governed mostly by the necessity to make a sale. A survey of view from across the world on the effect of gemstones on men and women is therefore useful.

There have been various attempts by the local trade to improve the appearance and therefore the value of gemstones and these resulted in a considerable loss of precious stones. Some guidelines are given about the enhancement of diamonds and gemstones.

The ever increasing demand for gems has often resulted in imitation being sold as genuine. There are scientific methods to identify original and synthetic gemstones, but these methods are highly cost and could not affordable by a regular customer. Therefore various trade associations are formed to ensure the quality of service of gem and diamonds dealers. Sellers registered and members of these reputed trade associations are agreed to provide the real information about the item they sold. The operation of mining, extraction and finishing and selling of gemstones has now become a multi-billion dollar industry, employing several million people all over the world. Gem and jewellery trade is of supreme importance to India and Sri Lanka because it is a main export item which brings foriegn currency to the country.

History of Gemstones in Sri Lanka

Gemstones have been considered as valuable objects since the day they were found. That because of their beauty, color, bright shine (luster), hardness, other performance and specially their rareness. Evidence are found in ancient caves that those cave men also used gemstones like Jasper to make spearheads and as jewelry. It is believed that ancient people believed that these colorfull stones have powers to protect them against danger and gemstones have magical powers. Leaders and kings always used the biggest gemstones in their crown and swards because of these believes.

Hard gemstones like diamonds, sapphires, rubies were collected as pretty objects that could be worn. Gemstones miners and craftmens developed various technologies to cut and polish gemstones to give a better look with improved color and shine. They have cut gemstones into many different shapes and by the time they discovered the faceted cuts of gemstones.

All over the world gems adorned kings and rich people to show their powerfulness. A vast treasure of Lapis Lazuli and Turqouise were found in ancient Egyptian pyramids. Ornaments studded into metal with rare and valuable gemstones were worn for important ceremonies such as coronations, weddings, and funerals.

Sri Lanka and India were always a fabulous source of gems, perhaps the only countries in asia to produce and export gems to Babylon and Persia. All over the world, gems have always been prized for their rarity, their value enhanced by magical properties attributed to them. In India and Sri Lanka and to some extent in China, gemology became a science extending to medicine and was intergrated with the social fabric of the time. Because of these ancient beliefs and studies even today in this age of sciencetific disbelief, gems are worn for their mystical ability to endow health, wealth and happiness.

Gemstones of Sri Lanka

For centuries and perhaps the last thousand years, Sri Lanka has reined as the king of the world's gem producing nations. Sri Lanka has been the world's centre for coloured gemstones and from time immemorial has given the world many diverse facets of romantic overtones. Among them is that Prince Charles mesmerised Lady Diana with an engagement ring, set with a priceless Blue Sapphire. The Blue Sapphire is Sri Lanka's gem supreme and can be considered the highest prized of all gems, while being second only to the diamond in hardness. The largest known Sapphire in the world weighing 42 pounds, was found in the gem gravels of Sri Lanka. The Great Aqua of Sri Lanka, with a weight of 1,890 carats in the rough is the largest gem found in the island. This aquamarine yielded a sparkling gem of 946 carats, which became part of a royal collection when acquired by a Saudi prince.

Today, approximately 25,000 men and women are employed in Sri Lanka's jewellery manufacturing industry, according to National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) statistics. Traditional jewellery worn by Sri Lankans is handcrafted and intricately designed. However, to meet the demands of the international market, simple and contemporary designs are introduced. The finished pieces display a high degree of Sri Lankan ingenuity. The major buyers of Sri Lankan jewellery are Germany, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom. Sri Lanka's rare gemstones include: Andalusite, Apatite, Cordierite, Diopside, Ekanite, Dpidote, Euclase, Fibrolite, Florite, Idocrase, Kornerupine, Kyanite, Sinhalite, Scapolite, Taffeite.

Among the outstanding gemstones that Sri Lanka has produced in the contemporary era are the Blue Giant of the Orient (466 carat), Logan Blue Sapphire (423 cts), Blue Belle of Asia (400 cts), Rossar Reeves Star Ruby (138.7cts), Star of Lanka (293cts.), Star Sapphire and Ray of Treasure (105 cts. Cat's Eye). The first three gems are on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington USA. The Star of Lanka and the Ray of Treasure are in the proud possession of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority.

Gem Therapy in Sri Lanka

Gems are often worn not as mere ornaments set in jewellery, but because of very powerful and special properties they are believed to posses. From pre-historic times, witch doctors and medicine men were convinced that certain gemstones had magical powers to cure diseases and heal wounds. They may be some psychological truth in this belief, as the very faith in the curative properties of gemstones has cured people of debilitating illness. Ancient physicians used gemstones in different ways in medical formulations to cure ailments over the ages. Perhaps the chemical nature of the gem was responsible for the cure, but the knowledge that the treatment was expensive might also have played a significant role in the treatment. Some believed in the psychological effects alone and treated illness by placing the chosen stones on the patient or by getting him to wear the stone in jewellery. Even today, patients generally resort to this form on therapy after other treatments fail

The ancient people in India believed that swallowing the powder of the highest quality diamonds would impart energy, strength, beauty, happiness, and long life. The powder of a flawed diamond was considered poisonous and caused various ailments such as cancers and diseases such as lameness, jaundice, pleurisy, and leprosy. The powder of different colored diamond was said to have different flavours, from sweet to sour or salty.

According to physicians in Europe in the fifteenth century, a diamond would heal diseases if the patient warned it with his body in his sick bed, or even breathed on it while fasting. Held in the mouth, it would stop people form telling lies. In europe till about the eighteenth century, medical properties were ascribed to gems. It is true that some gemstones do alleviate disorders; for example, pearls do cure digestive disorders because they are composed mainly of chalk, but the ancient doctors did not know this, though they found that the treatment did work. Egyptian doctors knew that hematite does coagulate the blood and stop bleeding.

Gem Testing Laboratories in Sri Lanka

Mr. Ravi Samaranayake
Ravi Gems, Shop No.07, Level 5, Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Exchange,
East Low Block, World Trade Centre, Colombo 01. Sri Lanka.
Telephone: +94 112 391236, Fax: +94 115 552281, Email:

Mr. E. Gamini Zoysa
Mincraft Company, No.04, Gothami Mawatha, Mt. Lavinia, Sri Lanka.
Telephone: +94 112 724789, Fax: +94 112 733693 Email:

Mr. Dayananda Dillimuni
Allied Gemmological Institute and Laboratory
No.131A, Purwarama Road, Colombo 05. Sri Lanka.
Telephone: +94 112 871889, Fax: +94 112 820516, Email:

Mrs. Sujatha Amarasiri
Lakshani Gem Testing Laboratory, No.52A, Galle Road, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka.
Telephone: +94 112 337443, Fax: +94 112 2362470, Email:

Mr. Hirosha Yahampath
No.112, Piliyandala Road, Maharagama, Sri Lanka.
Telephone: +94 112 845012, Email:

World Famous Diamonds

The price per gram of a diamond increases with its weight but stones beyond a certain size are so rare that they cannot be valued on this scale. The few very large and spectacular diamonds are priceless and can trace their complex and controversial history through tales of war, intrigue and love. It is, in fact, the story of their passage through the lives of several owners and not their size, lustre or other properties that determines the price that they command.

The Kohinoor or the 'Mountain of Light' diamond was found two thousand five hundred years ago by a villager of Matanga in Kollur in Andra Pradesh, India. Old palm leaf manuscripts record the weight of the rough stone as 1986 carats. Sanskrit legends report that the Karna, the king of Anga, wore this diamond in his crown to give him invincibility during the great Mahabharata war. The stone later came into the possession of Emperor Vikramaditya of Ujjain (60BC). During the early Persian invasion of India, the diamond was apparently taken to the court of Darius the Great but after the break up of the Persian Empire, the gem found its way back to India. There is recorded evidence that the Kohinoor was with the family of the Rajah of Malwa in India. For several centuries, having been passed down from generation to generation. When the Moghul invated the India, Sultan Babar, the first of the Moghul emperors, acquired the diamond in 1340AD. It was hidden in the treasury for about two centuries and in 1526 the diamond was set as one of the peacock's eyes in the famous Peacock Throne of Shah Jahan.

In 1979, Nadir Shah of Persia, invated India and captured Delhi and seized the Peacock Throne but could not find the Kohinoor diamond. He later learn from that the Moghul emperor had hidden the stone in his turban. Historians disagree about the source of the name of the stone and insist that the name was variant on Kollur, where it was found.

Gemstones Enhancement in Sri Lanka

The trade of gemstones is phenomenally large, the annual turnover being more than US$50 billion. A major share of this market is in diamonds, as these stones are bought for investment as well as for decorative purposes. The price of a diamond, however, has no relation to the actual cost of production, but lies in its comparative rarity. Over the years, by controlling the quantity of diamonds entering the market, the diamond trading company has kept the price of good quality diamonds stable and at a high level, ensuring its investment value. Sales publicity by jewellers, too, has encouraged a preference for diamonds over that for other gems. Substitutes like cubic zirconia, moissanite and Yttrium Aluminium Garnet (YAG), though equally lustrous and attractive, do not have the same appeal.

Most gemstones, diamonds included, are pale in color, often with inclusions, cracks or voids and since such stones are commonly available, they are cheap and so difficult to sell to discerning buyers. The improvement of the color and the clarity of these low quality stones is therefore of extreme importance to the trade. Research in material science has now given us the ways to improve the appearance of gemstones permanently and there is indeed considerable enhancement in the value of gemstones after treatment. On the other hand, there are people who have voiced serious objections to altering what nature has provided. It is a fact though that man is constantly improving on nature to make profits for himself, whether it is plastic surgery or gemstone enhancement.

There are many techniques used to enhance the color and quality of gemstones. Radiation treatment using gamma rays, electrons, x-rays are few. The most famous method of gemstone treatment is heat treatment. Specially corundums are heat treated to produce bright color blue sapphires. Heat treatment is a very popular method for enhancing colors of sapphires. Heat treatment to standards are accepted by the trade.

Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Emerald Gemstones

The emerald belongs to the mineral family of beryl, being chemically a silicate of beryllium and aluminium. Other members of the beryl family include the cheaper blue aquamarine, pale pink morganite, golden heliodor and pale green beryl. The emerald has always been treasured for its rich green color. Its name originated from the Persian but later the Greeks called it smaragdos and later still smaragdus. This name slowly became esmeraude, then emeraude and emeralde and the Anglo-Saxons of the sixteenth century settled on the present name of emerald. Archaeologists uncovered emeralds in Egyptian and Etruscan sites more than a century ago. The gems were traded in Babylon around 2000BC and between 3000 and 1500BC the Pharaohs of Egypt wore emeralds taken from the now exhausted mines near the hills of Jebel Sikait bordering the red sea.

The ancients believed that the stone symbolised love and rebirth, immortality and courage. It sharpened the intelligence and improved the working of the heart. The gem became the stone of Venus, and it was said that it would change colour and break when worn by an adulterer. The Romans said that it was the only gem which delighted the eye without fatiguing it, and the emperor Nero shielded his eyes with emeralds to watch the gladiators.

One legend says that when Lucifer fell from heaven, he lost the emerald from his crown; this was later found and shaped into a bowl which the queen of sheba sent to Nicodemus. Christ used the same bowl at the last super. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the Incas and Aztecs in South America worshipped the emerald as a holy stone and it was used as currency by the local people; thus emerald have been found in places as far apart as Mexico and the Andean ranges. The Conquistadors reported that the Incas had an emerald the size of ostrich egg. When they conquered America, the Spaniards took vast numbers of emeralds to sell in European market.

Diamonds of Sri Lanka

Of all precious stones, diamond has been and is the most desired, though it does not have the attractive colour of emerald or ruby. Over the centuries this passion for diamonds has endowed the stones with histories that are rich with mysticism, intrigue, adventure and romance. Found rarely in nature, the gemstone is the hardest and most durable material on earth. More important, the mining and sale of diamond has been so rigidly controlled, that the price of the stones has been increasing steadily over the last three centuries.

Chemists and crystallographers have determoned that the diamond is merely pure carbon crystallised in a structure different from that of common graphite and charcoal. As early as 1675 AD, sir Isaac Newton concluded that diamond would burn in air and twenty years later, Averani and Targioni demonstrated this at the Accademia del Cimento of Florence. They put a diamond in the intense heat of a fierce charcoal fire and saw the stone gradually decrease in size and finally disappear.

Millions of years ago, organic material such as trees or other living creatures died and exposed to the heat of those times, became charcoal. This carbon, trapped within molten rock and subjected to intense pressures and temperatures of over 3000C over the thousands of years, slowly crystallised into clear hard diamonds. Natural volcanic eruptions took the material to the surface of the earth. Later, erosion by the sun and rain and other climatic changes broke up the soil containing the diamonds and scattered it and the gemstones over river beds. These 'alluvial' deposits are found on the surface of river beds, on the rough pebbled sea bed or in gravel down to twenty meters beneath the sand. Diamonds are also mined by digging within the bluish ground of 'Kimberlite' from deep inside the earth, down volcanic pipes of around half a kilometers diameter through which molten material once forced its way up. A productive mine usually yields a gram of diamonds from about three-hundred tonnes of ore.

Colored Stones

Gemstones are of tow kinds. There are those that are mineral in origin and are formed as crystals that grew underground during the formation of our earth. They are generally hard and heavy, have beauty and performance and if they are rarely found, they become classed as precious stones. Of these diamonds, emerald, ruby and sapphire are the most popular. Other rare and expensive stones are opal, alexandrite, and newly discovered tanzanite.

An austrian mineralogist named F.Mohs developed a scale to measure the hardness. This so called as Mohs Scale goes from one to ten, the softest being talc with a hardness of one and the diamond, the hardest known stone given a measure of hardness ten. The hardness is measured by scratching the sample with a diamond point and examining the depth of the resulting wound. A second parameter is the heaviness or specific gravity but this is merely the density of the gemstone and not related to the hardness.

Of the organic stones, the rarest are amber and corel but these are not very popular in India and Sri Lanka. There are over thirty popular varieties of precious and semi-precious gemstones in a range of colors, many of which are rare collector̢۪s items.

The usual practice is to cut the rough stone into a desired shape and polish it to obtain the best luster possible.It is then set into a metal frame that holds the gemstone securly and enhances its qualities. The metal generally used include silver, gold and platinum. Pure gold of 24 karat and sure silver of 100 percent are very soft and gems set in these pure metals can easily fall out when the piece of jewelry is in regular use. Jewelers therefore prefer to mount precious stones in gold of 22 karat or in sterling (92.5 percent) silver.

Caring for Gemstones

Men and women buy gemstones to set in jewellery to be worn and flaunted on special occasions. The brighter and more pure these are, the more they will enhance the beauty of the whole piece and naturally of the wearer too. Great care should therefore be taken to store and clean precious jewelry after wearing them. Gems and gemstones set ornaments therefore need to be carefully chosen and carefully worn, cared for, properly stored, and cleaned with caution to keep them valuable and in good condition for as long as possible.

Choosing Jewellery - Rings and bangles are used constantly and do get knocked around even if worn only for festive occasions. Gemstones for these pieces should not be brittle or soft. Such stones, as for example, pearls and opals are better set in earrings, pendants or brooches. They can be set for special rings, but even then the stone should be in a closed setting for protection.

Diamonds are often held by four prongs or claws but this is not as safe as a six-prong setting. If one of the claws of a four prong setting breaks, the stone will fall out. When the claws get weak after constant wear, the stone should be reset instead of repairing the claw. Even during setting, the goldsmith should be warned not to over heat the stone, especially where platinum jewellery is concerned. A strong tap with a hammer can break or chip a diamond.

In the case of pear shaped or marquise diamonds, the pointed ends should be covered by the setting, or else the stone may chip off during wear. Closed settings are always safer, but the stone could chip or crack when the jewel is broken up for resetting or redesign. Soft gold such as 22-karat is better for closed settings or else the design should allow the stone to be removed without too much effort by the goldsmith.

Birth Stones

January - Garnet is the birth stone of January. Garnet is found in variations of red to orange and pink. Garnet is not a very expensive gemstone, it is believed that garnet gives constancy, riches, good health and joy.

February - Amethyst is the birthstone for February and this is also use as the gemstone for 6th wedding anniversary.

March - Aquamarine is considered as the birthstone of March. This outlines love, affection and friendship.

April - Diamond represents the birthstone of the month of April. Also used in rings for 10th and 16th wedding anniversary.

May - The green stone, Emerald is the birth stone of this month. This is wear for the protection and long life of the carrier.

June - Ruby known as the stone of June. It represents the 15th and 40th wedding anniversary.

August - Peridot is the birthstone of August.It was believed that the wearer becomes gracious and loving.

September - Sapphire is the birth stone of September as well as the anniversary stone for 5th and 45th years.

October - Opal represents the month of October as the birthstone. It is wear as a symbol of hope. This is also the gemstone of 14th wedding anniversary.

November - Topaz that comes in many colors from blue, yellow and white. This is not a very expensive gemstone.

December - Turquoise is the gem of December. Tanzanite also consider as the birth stone of December.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ceylon Sapphires International

Ceylon Sapphires International is pleased to announce that we are nowoffering the following International Standard Lapidary Servicesto the Sri Lankan Gem & Jewellery trade:

Sawing, Pre-forming and Calibrating rough gemsFacetting and Cabbing – Standard and FancyshapesFacetting and Cabbing BriolettesUltra-Sonic Drilling of gemsRe-shaping, Re-polishing, Re-cutting andRepairing of gems, including Cat’s Eyes and StarSapphires/RubiesOur experienced, skilled and knowledgeable staff can handle large orsmall quantities, in sizes ranging from 1.5 mm upwards.

Contact Details
Ceylon Sapphires International
156, 2ndFloor, Hospital Road
Kalubowila, Dehiwela

Carnet Invoices

Many foreign Guaranteeing Associations are complaining to us that our present format of invoicing Carnets has caused them many problems sometimes resulting in mistakes. The current practice is as follows:

If a customer takes Gold Jewellery, Silver Jewellery and Gems they are categorized under separate lists as List A, List B, and List C carrying numbers from 1 to whatever, in each list. As a result say item No. 7 can be in all three lists. What they recommend now is to have one list serially ordered. It will ensure that a particular number refers to a one item only. Example if Gold Jewellery is 1 – 100, Silver Jewellery is 1 – 50 and Gems 1- 25 the suggested format will carry numbers from 1 – 175 instead of being broken down into three separate lists. The London Chamber has informed us that they will reject any Carnet in the future not complying with the suggested format. Please be good enough to inform all exporters accordingly.


Exorbitant auditors’ fees negate export rewards scheme

By Devan Daniel

Exporters are having to pay high fees to auditors when completing their paperwork for the Export Development Reward Scheme and are still facing difficulties with commercial banks charging high interest rates on loans despite several reductions in policy rates by the Central Bank during the past few months.

According to the government’s Export Development Reward Scheme (EDRS), introduced to help exporters counter the ill affects of the global financial crisis, if exporters can maintain more than 90 percent of their returns compared with the corresponding quarter of the previous year, a reward of 3 percent of the export value will be paid by the government.

A reward of 5 percent will be paid to those who equal quarterly export proceeds.

Auditors are required to issue a certificate authenticating export proceeds. This certificate must then be handed over to the Commerce Department along with Customs clearance certificates when applying for the reward.

Exporters said auditors had initially been reluctant to issue the certificates without conducting a proper audit which was time consuming and defeated the purpose of having the reward as a timely relief package of sorts. But this issue has now been settled.

However, exporters have to pay a high fee to have their export proceeds certified.

"We have to bear a high cost for auditors’ certifications of export proceeds and this tends to go against the very concept of a stimulus package," Chairman of the National Chamber of Exporters Rohan Fernando told the Island Financial Review.

Some audit firms are known to bill their clients as much as Rs. 100,000 for a certificate.

Fernando said getting Customs clearance certificates was not a difficult issue.

When the EDRS was first introduced, exporters were anxious it would be implemented smoothly but this was not the case when the Department of Commerce had to be called in to takeover the administration of the scheme from the Export Development Board, causing some discomfort to exporters during the transition.

Applications had to be handed over to the Department of Commerce within 45 days after each quarter.

"We hope the rewards will be in liquid form, because this is what we really need right now," Fernando said.

"Banks have still not revised their interest rates on lending despite the Central Bank cutting its policy rates and this is still a big issue for exporters," he said.

Exporters criticised that those who really needed the stimulus would not get it as meeting last year’s export targets would be extremely difficult under the current global environment but authorities defended this requirement on the grounds that firms should still attempt to improve their productivity in these difficult times.

Sri Lanka’s export earnings slumped by 16.2 percent during the first four months of the year compared with the previous year. The apparel sector however recorded a 2 percent growth.

According to the Department of Census and Statistics more than 60,000 apparel workers had lost their jobs during the first quarter. The Labour Department said about 70,000 jobs in all sectors had been lost since the global economic crisis began to impact Sri Lanka towards the end of last year. Some politicians and trade unionists said the number was about 100,000.

‘Sri Lanka Rising’ - to attract export, expand market

The country will be projected under a new theme “Sri Lanka Rising” to the international market in attracting exports and expanding our markets, President, National Chamber of Exporters Sri Lanka (NCESL) Rohan Fernando said. The Chamber is working towards disseminating this simple message through our products, he said.

He called for an urgent national policy on development, energy and water emphasizing the need to conserve water and energy and to make maximum use. “We have the potential and we work with Government institutions to create a positive frame of mind. This is what we try to inculcate in our members as a business community”, he said.

Under the current economic environment we stood up to a worldwide recession and fought a war which was the worst in the world.

We overcame these challenges successfully. The country was not badly affected by recession due to the stringent financial regulations. Firstly, as a Sri Lankan and as business community we congratulate the correct political leadership, armed forces and others involved in the successful role against the war, he said.

There is a saying that “when one door closes at least another door opens” and we need to concentrate on the avenues available for development.

The upbeat about the future and achieving the goals is not a difficult task, Fernando said. We need to strive to look at other openings.

Sri Lanka’s economy is resilient to the point that there is an abundance of natural strengths and resources. These natural strengths including military expertise could be made use of in international wars.

The natural resources such as marine, water, wind and solar are not exploited fully. Steps are needed to extend our maritime economic zone to broaden our boundaries. The sea contains natural resources including fish, minerals, carbon resources and power generation capacity by way of geo- thermal.

It’s our responsibility to harness all these resources. We are an island nation. The Government needs to have a timeframe to stop importing fish, he said.

“This is a time that we can set up our basic infrastructure and ground work. After the recession there will be a boom point. This could propel so many other silent dormant activities. We should be prepared to take full use of the world economic expansion”, he said.

Sri Lanka has a vast potential in converting many areas of food production in to consumer ready items.

Tea recorded a one billion dollar turnover two years ago. It has the potential to be a five billion industry and 3.5 billion kilograms of tea are consumed annually. Tea is no more a poor man’s beverage. It is a health related product and tea could also produce a range of by-products which are health supportive and aimed at life support.

We can expand our tea export industry to make Sri Lanka a tea export nation. This would facilitate national economic growth, Fernando said.

Regarding milk production, it is far from satisfactory. We are confident that with a proper strategy we could improve liquid milk production. Our garment industry should aim at high end products and value addition.

The North and East development is vital in our economy. These provinces need to produce food items such as fish, onions, potatoes and chillies not only for local consumption, but should be also export oriented.

There is a greater demand for foods and also for natural food and we need to capitalize on this situation, Fernando said. We should encourage local production and this in turn will benefit our farmers. It will also help to save billions of rupees of valuable foreign exchange on food imports, he said.

Facets 2009 - Sri Lanka's premire gem and jewellery show

The great event is about to show the finest gemstones and jewelry of Sri Lanka at the Facets 2009 Gem and Jewellery Exhibition. The even is organized by Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association and The National Gem and Jewellery Authority. The theme of the Facets 2009 is "Gemstones direct from the source".

Facets 2009, 19th Sri Lanka International Gem and Jewellery Show will be held from 3rd to 6th September 2009 at the BMICH, Colombo.

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