- Day of Sapphires hosted by the Sri Lankan Pavilion took visitors on a journey of vibrant discovery showcasing Sri Lankan Sapphires worth USD $100 million
- The event was a tremendous success earning high international media coverage
- The Gem and Jewellery Industry, with proper policy and strategy has potential to be one of the largest foreign exchange earners to the Island
The Sri Lankan Pavilion was a buzz recently when visitors flocked to witness the largest single assortment of sapphire masterpieces worth USD $100 million. ‘Day of Sapphires’ transported visitors across the ages, through surviving treasures and more modern pieces. Gracing her presence, renowned jewellery specialist Helen Molesworth with her experience at Sotheby’s and Christie’s in London and Geneva led a walk-through to explain the history of the Sri Lankan gemstones, trade, mining methods, cutting, polishing and the entire jewellery making process.
The event spearheaded by the Gem and Jewellery Association (SLGJA) was created to enhance global sales and highlight the positioning Sri Lanka retains in the gem and jewellery arena as being home to the ‘Ceylon Sapphire’ (Blue Sapphire), an important source of high-quality sapphires (pink, yellow, golden and star sapphires) along with being one of the finest gem cutting and finishing centers in the world. International standard lapidaries coupled with highly talented craftsman are geared to cater to the mass market as well as the high-end luxury market adding luster to Sri Lanka’s global positioning.
“The country’s precious gems and ornate jewellery are amongst the oldest items traded over the years. Renowned for its sapphires, these precious stones have adorned some of the world’s most famous jewellery pieces and have found their way to museums around the world. We are now on a journey to give the Sri Lankan sapphire the prominence it deserves in the global arena with the goal of increasing the appreciation and desirability toward our gems in order to earn much needed foreign exchange to the country and support the local economy’, commented Mr. Altaf Iqbal, Vice Chairman – Promotions and Trade Fairs and Chairman – Sapphire Sri Lanka Project.
Given the prominence Sri Lanka holds as one of the five most important gem-bearing nations in the world, the industry has the scope to become one of the largest foreign exchange earners to the country, however the lack of a strategic growth plan and absence on policy supporting the growth of the industry restrains the sector from achieving its true potential in comparison to countries such as Dubai, Thailand and Hong Kong.
SLGJA recognising the tremendous opportunity the destination as well as the industry has, if a strategic 10-year development plan is executed by policy makers, is committed to driving the Sri Lankan Sapphire brand. As part of this initiative, the Association will continue to participate in global events such as Expo 2020 Dubai which has proven to be a great success. In addition, young designers who have shown potential in jewellery design will be mentored to carry on the legacy set forth by their predecessors and will be incentivized to retain talent within the Island.
Sri Lanka famously coined as ‘Ratnadeepa’ – the island of gems – not only holds the largest concentration of gem bearing land hold in the world but is bestowed with some of the most gifted designers and jewellery craftsman recognized the world over for their intricate and unique designs. The legendary Ceylon Sapphire has experienced fame in exclusive arenas such as Royal weddings, the HMS Titanic and the Hollywood red-carpet and through the strategic building of ‘Sri Lanka Sapphire’, the brand has potential to reap significant financial rewards for the sector and economy of Sri Lanka.