Guest of Honour international gem trader Lewis Allen speaks to a vendor at FACETS International Gem and Jewellery Exhibition 2019, while Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association Chairman Ahsan Refai looks on - Pic by Kithsiri de Mel
- 29th edition of FACETS open to public
- Exhibition will be held until 1 Sept. at Sirimavo Bandaranaike Hall
- Over 180 vendors of gems and jewellery available at show
- Organisers expecting 10,000-strong footfall
By Ruwandi Gamage
The latest edition of the FACETS International Gem and Jewellery Exhibition 2019 kicked off yesterday, aiming to boost sales after the Easter Sunday attacks, with international gem businessmen and attack survivor Lewis Allen calling for the establishment of an internationally reputed laboratory to boost the country’s hub aspirations.
The 29th edition of the Facets International Gem and Jewellery Exhibition 2019, organised by the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association and sponsored by the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) and the Export Development Board, was inaugurated yesterday at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall.
Carrying the theme ‘Bigger & Better’ with the message of rebuilding Sri Lanka and the industry, the show kick-started with an opening ceremony featuring Lewis Allen, one of the biggest buyers of Ceylon Sapphires, as the Guest of Honour, along with a number of ministers, diplomats, businessmen of the international and local gem and jewellery industries, and members of the National Gem & Jewellery Authority and the Export Development Board.
Speaking at the inauguration, FACETS Sri Lanka Chairman Altaf Iqbal reiterated his sentiments from the launch, and stated how the main focus of the show this year is to showcase the Ceylon sapphire, the primary resource of the industry.
“It has been a long road for the industry since the tragic incident that took place in April. However, we want to express how Sri Lanka is beautiful and how we’re resilient together, which will be the message our Guest of Honour is bringing to the show.”
Gem businessman and survivor of the April attacks Lewis Allen expressed his firm belief that Sri Lanka is going to come back stronger with more love and unity.
Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association Chairman Ahsan Refai stated that Sri Lanka has a lot of potential to become a successful hub for gem and jewellery, and how local and foreign buyers alike should be encouraged to bring rough material to Sri Lanka, where it can then be cut and polished for sale, which will benefit the country’s economy. Refai also expressed his concerns regarding the lack of a steady and continuing Chairman for the National Gem and Jewellery Authority.
“The National Gem and Jewellery Authority has failed to utilise the funds to establish an internationally-reputed laboratory, because of the absence of proper direction. This would have aided the country to have risen to prominence as a hub where certification for gems could have been given, instead of wasting money on getting it done from abroad. I sincerely urge the successive Government, the NGJA and the Export Development Board, to create a master plan in consultation with the private sector to develop the industry,” he said.
The exhibition showcased many local gem and jewellery manufacturers, as well as a few international stalls. The gems varied from precious to semi-precious to coloured stones. The collections on display were testimony to Sri Lanka’s immense reservoir of precious and semi-precious stones, the skill of its jewellery artisans, and the country’s commitment to producing trend-setting designs. The exhibition was also made up of stalls featuring machinery, equipment, tools, laboratory and certification services, and educational and training services, all of which play a vital role in the workings of the Gem and Jewellery Industry of Sri Lanka.
The jewellery zone ranged from high-value gold to silver to creative costume pieces, catering to all levels of jewellery lovers. There were unique design pieces made from gems and paper pulp to old Sri Lankan coins. Some booths also had on display the newest techniques of jewellery-making using wax moulds, which made the manufacturing of jewellery faster and easier than handmade.
This year’s edition of FACETS will go on until 1 September, and it is expecting 10,000 public participants during the four days. The organisers said they are expecting foreign delegates from US, China, Myanmar, and other countries. The show is open to the public and promises to hold something to suit every taste, with items available at reasonable prices to suit any budget.