He said that gem and jewellery exports are on a steady rise and added that income from exports is currently around $550m. Export income would reach around $700m this year.
The US, Europe, China and Japan are Sri Lanka's primary gem and jewellery export markets. China is fast becoming the leading buyer of Sri Lanka's precious stones.
Galahena said that the industry is regulated from mining to exports to boost business. An international fair of this magnitude will boost export revenue.
Sri Lanka is a leading exporter of precious stones and is reputed for its blue sapphires and diamonds.
“Sri Lanka has the highest variety of gem stones but strategic marketing is lacking. The country needs to enhance value addition and develop products for international markets” Galhena said.
The the gem and jewellery show is held for the 22nd consecutive time and this year over 200 exhibitors are expected. The exhibition will be held from September 5 - 8 at the BMICH.
Facets was launched in 1991 with around 40 boots and today it one of the largest shows attracting a large number of foreign buyers to the country.
'Come September, come Facets' has been the slogan of the gem and jewellery show which opens opportunities for Sri Lanka precious stone exports.
Facets Chairman, Juzar Adamaly said that there is an influx of foreign buyers for Sri Lankan gem stones. Buyers from China have shown a marked increase.
He said that already around 154 stalls have been sold. People have shown immense interest in the show due to its importance for trade and investment.
“The demand for Sri Lankan precious stones will never diminish due to the skilled workforce and the technology available in the country.
Sri Lankan precious stones were in the spotlight following the promotion of its gem stones at the Royal wedding of Price William and Kate Middleton”, Adamaly said. The Gem and Jewellery Association Secretary, Ziqufi Ismail said that buying gems from the source was cheaper and countries such as China, Russia and India are showing a keen interest in investing and exporting.
“We have about 12 foreign buyers in Colombo today and we expect this trend to increase” he said.
Sri Lanka has around 80 of the 155 varieties of gem stones in the world.Thailand, India, Myanmar and South America are some of the major competitors of Sri Lanka's gem and jewellery export market.
The export of synthetic stones which has created unfair competition and is a huge challenge to the precious stone export market of Sri Lanka.
Last year's exhibition attracted around 8,000 visitors of which 2,000 were foreigners”, he said.