The Chairman of FACETS, Mr. Mushtaq Jabir
The FACETS International Gem and Jewelry Exhibition is mere days away, and the excitement and anticipation is steadily rising to fever pitch. Amidst the storm of organization and enthusiasm, stands Mr. Mushtaq Jabir, the Chairman of the FACETS Committee and the zealous leader of the army of planners, organizers and promoters, all working tirelessly to make the 28th edition of the Sri Lanka’s premier gem and jewelry exhibition a success. Mr. Jabir is no stranger to the world of FACETS and he was kind enough to spare some time from his busy schedule to address some of the primary topics about FACETS, its origins, current status and future.
The inception of FACETS and its purpose
It all started when an Indian gem dealer was seen organizing a gem show at the Lanka Oberoi in Colombo, now known as the Cinnamon Grand. He was surrounded by gem dealers, tourists and locals alike who were peering at the gems andjewels he had on offer, with much interest. A few likeminded individuals and well known dealers were watching the spectacle in disbelief.
They knew instantly that Sri Lanka, being the leading Sapphire producing country, should have its own exhibition to showcase its valuable gemstones to the world. After all, where is the best place to buy gems from than its very source? This was a diamond in the rough and they knew all it would take would literally be good ‘faceting’.
The team came up with a few names and finally suggested that the exhibition be named FACETS, and so it was. The then Sri Lanka Gem Traders Association took it on and forged ahead with the idea of hosting a gem show, possibly an annual one. The motive of organizing an exhibition of wholesale dealers was to keep it purely for traders with an aim to encourage exports. To give them an opportunity to showcase their fine gemstones and forge long term relationships with overseas dealers. The show also creates exports for local entrepreneurs, developing an international image for our industry and country, and to attract the global Gem and Jewellery audience to our very own stage.
The very first FACETS International Gem & Jewelry Exhibition
When FACETS was first held in 1991 under the chairmanship of the late Mr. Faizel A. Cader, it was the first international exhibition of gem and jewelry ever to be held in Sri Lanka. The show was held at the Hilton Colombo in September and it had 50 booths made up of leading gem dealers. From then on some of the biggest Sapphire dealers from all over the world became loyal visitors to the show.
The exhibition created awareness in the country and among the gem merchants of Sri Lanka, of the importance of holding an annual exhibition of this nature and international reach. This event was the flagship activity of the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association, which organizes this show with the support and assistance of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, and continues to this day.
The growth of FACETS over the years
Over the years, the show has steadfastly developed in to one of the best international gem and jewelry exhibitions in the world. A very significant factor in the history of the event is that it is the only exhibition in Sri Lanka, which has been held uninterrupted for a period of 27 years. As a result, the local Gem and Jewelry trade has benefitted immensely, reaching appreciable heights in the international arena. Over the past 27 years, the brand profile of the show has developed to a great extent, gaining international recognition as a world class exhibition and has now grown to nearly 200 stalls.
The role of FACETS in the development of the Gem &Jewelry Industry
Facets Sri Lanka plays a pivotal role in making Colombo a regional Gem &Jewelrycapital and Sri Lanka the “Sapphire Capital of the World”.
FACETS strengthens and promotes industry development with special focus on the industry's prime resource, the Ceylon Sapphires, as well as to increase the sale of other gemstones and jewelry products to overseas markets, attract more international buyers to Sri Lanka and facilitate a level playing field among the different segments of the industry.
FACETS Sri Lanka has now earned international recognition as the “showcase” event of Sri Lanka’s Gem and Jewellery industry, which is one of the most important contributors to the Foreign Exchange of our national economy.
FACETS was given a “brand new-look” - significantly enhancing the value of the show. There were several new developments and value additions; by way of the introduction of a Premier Jewellery Pavilion, Premier Gem Pavilion and the Gem & Jewellery Mart for the SMEs. The show is constantly reviewed and reformatted with new branding in all areas from time to time.
The show, which has both state and private sector patronage is accommodating local and foreign exhibitors showcasing their gemand jewellery products.Furthermore, a sizable number of high-profile and influential buyers from around the world visitthe show. A footfall of Close to 10,000 local and foreign visitors is recorded at the show.
The event this year, will take place from the 30thof August to the 02ndof September at the BMICH Exhibition and Convention Centre in Colombo, from 10.00am to 6.00pm.
The future of FACETS
The way FACETS is expanding, I foresee a greater challenge to all international exhibitions, especially in South East Asia. FACETS is on the road map to many international and country pavilions in the future, thereby opening up to ‘one stop shop’ for gems, jewellery and all other related services to buyers around the globe. I also foresee FACETS expanding its roots to Premier Exhibitions in the future. Let me personally wish FACETS the very best in all its future expansions.