A rare blue sapphire fetched Rs.40 million at the first-ever gem auction conducted by the Gem and Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka (GJASL) in Ratnapura.
Environment Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said Tuesday’s auction, which marked the Authority’s 40th anniversary was a huge success and netted a total income of Rs.55 million.
He said the auction was attended by registered gem miners from Akmeemana, Bibile, Beruwala, Ratnapura, Elahara, Pelmadulla and Colombo and that the total value of the gems at the auction exceeded Rs.100 million.
“We expect to have this kind of gem auctions at least once a month to popularise and streamline the gem trade. The gems presented to the auction will be tested and graded before auctioning them by the GJASL. This mechanism will save gem miners, traders and buyers from brokers.
It will also bring direct revenue to the government as the GJASL will collect a 2.5 per cent commission from the seller. This system will also prevent tax evasion,” he added.
The gem auction had varieties of Sri Lankan gems like the blue sapphire, yellow sapphire, rubies, amethyst, geuda and ottu among others.
Meanwhile, Central Bank data showed that Sri Lanka had exported processed diamonds and jewellery worth US$335 million or some Rs.337 billion last year thus indicating a 1.5 per cent increase over 2009.
The earnings from precious and semi-precious stone exports also increased by 4.4 per cent over the previous year’s US$ 93 million or some Rs.10 billion. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)