International Gem Trade Centre to open in eight months

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  • Centre being constructed in Ratnapura with Rs. 365 m investment 
  • Min. plans for gem lab in same premises 

The State Ministry of Gems and Jewellery Related Industries estimated that the construction of the international gems and jewellery trade centre in Ratnapura with an investment of Rs. 365 million will be completed in the next eight months. 

State Minister of Gems and Jewellery Related Industries Lohan Ratwatte

Speaking to The Morning Business, State Minister of Gems and Jewellery Related Industries Lohan Ratwatte informed that the lack of an institution, hub or location for the promotion and sale of gems was a prominent issue that the exporters were facing. 

“This is why we are establishing a trade centre for these products in Ratnapura with the financial support from the National Gem and Jewellery Authority. We came up with this plan last October and in about eight months (January 2022) it will be done,” Ratwatte stated. 

He stated the international gems and jewellery trade centre allows sellers and buyers to engage under one roof where tourists can check and observe the stones carefully. 

He also stated that the industry players are planning to invest for another acre, in the same area, in order to establish a hotel, museum and other businesses to promote gems and jewellery while attracting potential international consumers to these products. 

“There will also be a laboratory and a bank established so that it is easier for them to observe and make purchases as well. Also, for the consumers who arrive to buy the stones in helicopters and jets, there will be facilities to accommodate them,” Ratwatte commented. 

While revealing that the sector has also exported products worth more than $ 500 million as of June 2021. 

“I believe we can go for $ 1 billion exports and achieve the 2021 export target. We are also targeting exports of $ 5 billion by 2025,” added Ratwatte. 

He further justified that the exports of Sri Lankan gems and jewellery holds great potential due to the variety of the valuable stones in the country. 

The gems and jewellery sector reputes itself as one of the world’s steadiest suppliers of high quality gems and jewellery as it is ranked the ninth-largest exporter of precious stones to the global market. 

According to the Export Development Board (EDB), Sri Lanka is known to have many celebrated gemstones, pearls and luxury jewellery throughout history and has a long association with the international gem and jewellery trade. 

“The Royal Family of the United Kingdom has many Sri Lankan stones such as the blue sapphire stone in Lady Diana’s engagement ring. Also, although we have many beautiful and unique gems and jewellery, previously we didn’t have a place to promote this sector, and with the new centre, this issue will be solved,” Ratwatte stated. 

On the other hand, it was explained that when it comes to the export of gems and jewellery, sales are done through a professional network of familiar businesses and consumers with a keen interest in these products. 

Thereby, Ratwatte stated that sales are also built upon the connections between buyers and sellers, and that the Covid-19 pandemic has minimised international sales of Sri Lankan gems and jewellery. Lastly, a cabinet statement published in December 2020 informed that the new international trade centre is a five-storey building on a 22-perch extended plot of land in Demuwawatte, Ratnapura.

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