Sri Lankan Gems and Jewellery Industry

The entire Sri Lankan gems and jewellery industry employs approximately 650, 000 persons including miners, cutters, polishers, dealers, jewellery designers, manufacturers, craftsmen, marketers, gemmologists and sales people.

The gems industry employs around 325,000 miners, 72,000 gem cutters and 895 gem exporters. Methods of gem cutting and polishing comprise both the traditional method of hand cutting and the electronic methods of state of the art lapidaries.

Today Sri Lanka is considered as the fastest developing gem cutting and finishing centre in the world, producing stones that meet the highest international standards. The main international markets for the Sri Lankan gems are United States, Japan, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Today approximately 25,000 men and women are employed in Sri Lanka’s jewellery manufacturing industry. Traditional jewellery worn by Sri Lankans is handcrafted and intricately designed. However to meet the demands of the international market, simple and contemporary designs have been introduced . gemtv¬† ¬†Major international buyers of Sri Lankan jewellery are United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Japan and Canada.

Licence Issued by the National gems and Jewellery authority (NGJA) Sri Lanka

According to the NGJA act, it is punishable offence to conduct following activities without a valid licence issued by the NGJA.

1. Gem mining
2. Gem cutting and polishing
3. Gem trading
4. Gem auctions

The regional offices of the NGJA functioning in Ratnapura, Eheliyagoda, Naula, Monaragala, Matara and Colombo regulate the above activities in respective regions. Apart from these, enforcement offices are maintained at Nivitigala, Pelmadulla, Embilipitiya, Lunugala, Akuresse, Rakwana, Horana and Norwood.

Gem Testing Laboratory

The gem testing laboratory of NGJA which was established in 1972 was entrusted with the task of issuing gem testing reports, thereby gaining confidence and integrity in international gem trade. Presently the laboratory is staffed by foreign trained gemmologists who have obtained internationally accepted professional qualifications.

The laboratory provides a free gem testing service to foreigners and issues gem testing reports at a normal fee of about 860 Sri Lankan rupees. In addition to this, a gemstone memo is issued specifying the authenticity of the gemstone at the cost of about 300 Sri Lankan rupees. These services are provided at laboratories functioning at the NGJA Colombo office. Head office at Ratnapura. Arrangements are made to issue a gem testing report incorporating an image of the gemstone at the cost of nearly 1,800 rupees. A free gem testing service is provided for foreigners at the NGJA laboratory in the gem exchange located at the world trade centre, Colombo and Ratnapura.

We find that emeralds of African origin, at least from our family’s gem cutters in Jaipur, can be purchased far more reasonably than similar quality from Colombia. There are also less unscrupulous cheaters finding new ways to hide fractures and we have never seen nor heard of any “assembled” emeralds coming from the gem cutters that deal in African material. The best qualities are still not cheap, but reasonable and an extremely worthy investment monetarily speaking. As with all things “you get what you pay for”. Precious gems are the most rare of commodities and pass the test of time in being highly prized and valued. Buy quality and you will never be disappointed and the value will always be there.

In closing I would say that if you were looking for a fine quality natural gem for jyotish purposes, look for a reputable dealer whose reputation precedes them. Do not be lulled into a false security by hearing that one seller is more “spiritually” in tune to be able to choose the right gems, nor with adjectives such as “sattvic” or that they have a particular cosmic “feel” to them. Qualified experts are whom you wish to deal with and not just jewelry salespersons when looking for guaranteed natural precious gems. The most experienced gemologists, certified by any of the top international gemological institutes, and those that are also qualified appraisers and members of the most reputable international appraisal organizations are the best suited to guarantee the best quality gemstones. And you will know unequivocally that you are getting exactly what you are looking for in a quality natural, untreated precious gemstone. With those qualifications met the gem will be capable of being a tool for the reasons you are buying it, which for most reading this article will be jyotish or Ayurvedic prescription.

Howard Beckman (Hamsavatar das) is a director of the Vedic Cultural Fellowship and Pecos Valley Yoga and Ayurveda Center. He trained in India for over a decade and has been a practicing Vedic Astrologer and Planetary Gemologist for over 30 years. He is a Graduate Gemologist GIA and a Senior Member National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. Howard is the author of three leading books on the Vedic Sciences and is recognized as the sole gemologist in the U.S., who is also expert in the field of Vedic astrology and gem therapy. His most recently manufactured Balaji GL108 Navaratna Gem Lamp ( combines all of this knowledge and is the most innovative technology available on the market today. Considered one of the world’s foremost authorities in both jyotish and ayurvedic gem therapy he is often consulted by other Vedic astrologers and ayurvedic practitioners for opinions and recommendations of gems for their clients. Howard still travels and works dividing his time between the US, the UK and India, as well, as maintaining a busy astrological practice

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