Gem studded jewellery exports increased 31 percent to 824 million rupees in the same period.
“The noteworthy factor here is the progress made by the jewellery sector is highlighted by (this increase) which means the value addition in Sri Lanka is growing,” said the Senior Manager of Export and Export promotion of National Gem and Jewellery Authority Ajith Perera.
The forthcoming 'Facets' Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery exhibition should help to ‘spike up’ the exports, as it usually does.
This year's growth is on the back of what the gem and jewellery industry calls a record year in 2006.
Perera said the industry has started moving towards adding value locally with positive results.
“I am very happy to note in 2006 it was the record year of the gem and jewellery sector where we had 23 percent overall growth,” he said.
Last year the industry recovered from the downturn in 2005 and earned 4.49 billion rupees compared to 3.65 billion in 2005.
The organizers of Facets say that they are running out of room after moving into the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), one of the largest exhibition centres in the island.
This was because of the increasing number of exhibitors, drawn by the success of previous shows and the island's image as an exporter of quality stones.
“We moved out from Hilton Hotel to BMICH to facilitate more space and immediately the number of stalls went up to 150 and now again we have run out of space,” said the President of the Gem and Jewellery Association, Chanaka Ellawala.
“We also have to note that we can’t exhibit outside like the other exhibitors do since we are dealing with gems and jewellery.”
The number of foreign exhibitors has also increased this year. Facets 2007 will have 19 foreign exhibitors.
Amana Takaful will be providing a special insurance cover for the exhibitors from the point of embarking till the goods are taken back after the exhibition.
Sri Lanka’s industry is now improving in sectors such as gem cutting and mining.
“Our gem cutting has improved vastly over the years and though our mining is traditional, it is sophisticated,” Ellawala said.
“However, we are looking into improving the productivity of mining.” In terms of branding, the industry officials also said that the ‘Ceylon Sapphire’ brand is popular among high-end customers but a lot of work has to be done to add value.
“We have a brand out there but we need to add value to that brand. We are looking at registering a geographic locator for Ceylon sapphire and rolling out a brand promotion campaign,” said Ellawala.
The industry looks towards more international promotion of Facets Sri Lanka to gain more market share and revenue.Facets Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery show will be held at the BMICH exhibition and convention centre from August 30 to September 02, 2007.