Pix by Nuwan Amarawansha
FACETS 2012, Sri Lanka’s only International Gem and Jewellery Show which is expected to be held from the 5 - 8 September this year, has all 154 booths sold out, with inquiries continuing to come in from countries like India, Russia and China to send buying delegations.
FACETS started off with just 40 booths at the Hilton Colombo in 1991, but today the exhibition has become one of the biggest, contributing to the increase in export of gems and jewellery according to the National Gem & Jewellery Authority.
“This alone is testimony to the true potential and opportunities afforded by FACETS 2012 to both buyers and sellers,” said Juzar Adamaly, Chairman of FACETS Sri Lanka. “This large gathering of people and products is being held for the 22nd successful consecutive year and we expect to open up a mine of opportunities for export with the target being US$ 1 billion by 2015.”
The exhibition is being held for the 22 consecutive year for four days commencing 5September 2012 at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Centre at the BMICH. It is organized by the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association. Our principal sponsor is the National Gem and Jewellery Authority and co-sponsor is the Sri Lanka Export Development Board.
“Despite the fact that we are yet to have an official launch, over 154 booths has been sold out. I believe the reason for this is because people have realized the importance of this exhibition in terms of trade and investment,” he added.
Ziquifi Ismail, Secretary to the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association said that buying gems from the source was always cheaper and countries like China, Russia and India were showing a keen interest in investing and exporting. “We have about 12 foreign buyers in Colombo today and expect this trend to increase,” he said. When asked why there was renewed interest he commented that the lax economic conditions prevailing post war and a zero tax regime for export and import of gems have made Sri Lanka much sought after.
Last year the exhibition had approx 8000 visitors, out of which approx 2000 were foreigners. Buying delegations from China, Russia and India are expected to throng in for the show. “India does not have gem stones at least not in the quality that we offer. They specifically look for yellow Sapphires for Astrological purpose and Hessonite Garnets.”
In terms of export of gems at present Sri Lanka is in a range between US$ 555 and US$ 600 million with a target of US$ 1 billion by 2015. It is widely known that exports peak in months following September with FACETS being a major contributing factor.