By Chandeepa Wettasinghe
Sri Lanka will be hosting the International Coloured Gemstone Association (ICA) 2015 Congress this May, which would bring greater prominence and expertise to the local gem industry.
“Sri Lanka is a pillar of the gemstone industry. The congress would be extremely beneficial for the (gem) trade in Sri Lanka, for the ICA itself and promote Sri Lanka to even a higher level. I am hopeful that the members and non-members of the congress would gain a lot of information,” ICA President Benjamin Hackman said.
He said that Sri Lanka has made great strides towards perfecting gemstone supply to the world market and easily rivals any country as an industry leader.
Sri Lanka caters 70 of the 200 varieties of gemstones in the world and is especially strong in the coloured gemstone segment, supplying nearly two-thirds of the varieties in existence.
Speaking on the decision to hold the conference in Sri Lanka, ICA Congress Committee Chairman Clement Sabbagh said that the unique Ceylon Sapphire and Padpardsha, along with other stones such as Spinel, Moonstones, Chrysoberyl Cat Eyes, Alexandrite and Zircon, and the processing hub of African Sapphires have made Sri Lanka one of the most important hubs for gems and jewellery. “We need to promote our Sri Lankan brand. This congress will help Sri Lanka become a sapphire hub,” Export Development Board Chairman/CEO Bandula Egodage said.
The theme for the event will be ‘Sapphire & MORE’ and will be held from May 16 to 19 at Cinnamon Grand.
Over 300 leading international buyers, academia, professionals, manufacturers and marketers globally will be in attendance for the development of new business opportunities, showcasing gems and networking.
A special Facets Sri Lanka gem show would also be held simultaneously, in addition to the annual Facets show in September.
The congress also features a seven-day Mine Tour across the gem mining regions, themed nights and cricket, golf and tennis tournaments.
“This year’s ICA Congress is garnering a lot of interest and we are certain it would translate into a favourable, productive and successful congress,” ICA Congress 2015 Secretary Ziqufi Ismail said.
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