FACETS attracts major buyers
The 21st FACETS Sri Lanka 2011 international gem and jewellery
exhibition saw more than 7,500 visitors attending the show of which more
than 1,500 being foreign visitors.
The topmost preference for foreign buyers was the Ceylon Blue
Factors needed to make Sri Lanka as a blue sapphire hub are falling
into place, according to FACETS Chairman Chanaka Ellawala.
"The downward trend in our gem and jewellery industry due to the 2008
global recession is now over," said Ellawala, speaking to Media Unit of
the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. "After the sales dip in 2008 and
2009 in 2010 there was a slight improvement and this year appears to be
the turnaround year," he said.
National Gem and Jewellery Authority Chairman and CEO Gen Rohan
Daluwatta said, "This year's FACETS is very encouraging and highly
positive." According to Ellawala in terms of foreign buying presence,
the strongest buyers in this year's FACETS were Chinese nationals.
"More than 50 percent of stall-holders report direct sales to Chinese
buyers. This shows that Sri Lanka earning Chinese confidence and trust
regarding Ceylonese Gem supply.
After Chinese buyers, Russians followed, though not at the high
levels of Chinese purchases. The number one preference for foreign
buyers were Ceylon Sapphire, specifically, the Blue Sapphire.
The blue sapphires sold in the FACETS ranged from US $ 50 per carat
to $ 5000 per carat.
The blue sapphire sales were possibly boosted by the recent British
Royal Wedding where its centrepiece ring featured a 18 Carat oval blue
sapphire from Sri Lanka," Ellawala said.
"But more importantly, Sri Lanka has been lately earning a reputation
as a consistent supplier of big sized Blue Sapphires - that is above
five carats, often ten carats and above that other sources of sapphires
such as Madagascar and Australia are not able to match.
"In short, Sri Lanka is internationally unmatched when it comes to
sources of high quality and consistent supply in blue sapphires, the
reasons for higher sales of our blue sapphires.
"This proves again that the discovery of Sri Lanka's key brand in
gems - it is Ceylon Blue Sapphire," Ellawala said.