who we are

SLGJA the Apex Industry Body for Gem & Jewellery in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association (SLGJA) is the leading voice for the industry in Sri Lanka. SLGJA is a private sector organisation that aims to represent all industry sub sectors. Formed in October 2002, the association’s main goal was to unite the industries’ top four Trade Associations:

SLGJA is the apex industry body for Gem and Jewellery in Sri Lanka, bringing together all sectors of the industry from miners, manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, exporters, lapidarists, heat-treaters and many more.

In the 2003 Budget, the Government of Sri Lanka declared SLGJA as the Apex industry body, awarding the organization with a leadership role to formulate industry policies by proposing and then implementing strategies to increase productivity and competitiveness that will place Sri Lanka as a forerunner on a global stage.

SLGJA has a close relationship with the National Gem & Jewellery Authority and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board to advocate national policy as well as provide expert input towards the industry’s regulatory framework

At SLGJA we believe that being conscious when it comes to mining and sourcing local gems is vital. Therefore we encourage our members to help us create an industry that ensures all gems are responsibly mined, processed fairly and most importantly sourced in an environmentally and community friendly way.

With over 250 members who account for over 75 percent of Sri Lanka’s Gem and Jewellery exports SLGJA is effectively working towards shaping the future of the industry.

Industrial achievements

The Sri Lankan Gem and Jewellery industry is proud to have achieved a number of significant milestones from its inception. SLGJA is pleased to report that the import and export of Gems and Jewellery now take place with the minimum bureaucratic controls and we hope you enjoy the benefits of our efforts.

As a result of the vigorous canvassing to the Government and its authorities SLGJA witnesses a more trade friendly attitude by them and for this we are grateful. The members of the EXCO committees during the past years sacrificed their valuable time and devoted much efforts towards achieving these goals. Our thanks go out to the Ratnapura and Beruwala Associations for joining us in all these efforts and we hope that this cooperation will continue to grow from strength to strength.

Significant Milestones

  • FACETS Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Show was hosted from 1991 to 2019 continuously. Providing much needed opportunity for SMEs to exhibit their products at the show, creating new avenues for them to establish trade contacts, market their products, gain international exposure, opportunity to participate at a prestigious international show and above all, providing them the encouragement to ''stand-up'' on their own.
  • Proposal for simplifying the import export procedures related to the Gem and Jewellery sector was submitted to the treasury.
  • SLGJA report to be included in the China SL FTA was forwarded to the Department of Commerce.
  • 10% Tax on Gold Bullion imports was reduced to 7.5% by the Government on a request made by the SLGJA.
  • Several recommendations were made to NGJA, Finance Ministry and Customs regarding simplifying procedures for the clearance and re-export of gem parcels sent for value addition in Sri Lanka and also the resumption of the EMS Service.
  • Resolved issues related to the waiver for Gem and Jewellery parcels taken overseas to be exhibited at global trade shows.
  • SLGJA’s request to charge 0.5% +VAT as service charges, for the sold items only, on persons returning back with their goods taken on consignment is being seriously considered.
  • ICA Congress was held in Colombo, along with 2 FACETS gem shows which showed overwhelming success. Held from May 16 – 19, 2015 at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel. Parallel to the Congress, Mini Gem Exhibition was held with 55 stalls.
  • Established 24/7 export services at the Airport.
  • Suggestions were made to relevant Ministries to facilitate a loan scheme to gem dealers and miners at a concessionary rate, having their assets as collateral.
  • 15% VAT which was imposed on imports of Gems and Jewellery was exempted.
  • SLGJA made many representations to the Government objecting to 14%-28% tax to be imposed on exports and foreign currency sales of Gems and Jewellery.
  • Jewellery design training program was initiated expecting to fulfil the industry’s requirement of designers.
  • Resolving the exemption of NBT on gemstone imports that was passed in the budget. Initiated discussions on the NBT exemption for the required raw material to be imported without any hassle.
  • Negotiated favourable rates for lapidary export parcels with several logistic companies.
  • Lobbied for a flat tax based on turnover, or in the alternative, a deemed tax.
  • The exemption of VAT for locally manufactured Jewellery, was formalized by the Ministry of Finance with the presentation of the Vat amendment bill to the Parliament.
  • SLGJA was successful in convincing the officials to permit sealing of gem parcels at the airport, a facility which was suddenly withdrawn to the inconvenience of the exporters and the increased costs that had to be borne as a result.
  • Initiated discussions on permitting returned parcels to be released to the importer at the airport in tamper proof pouches which are to be processed at a later date.

SLGJA was faced with a bigger challenge in the form of the Covid-19 virus that has affected the entire world, resulting in a 3 month lockdown in Sri Lanka and bringing international trade and travel to a grinding halt. The new government, in consultation with SLGJA and regional associations decide on a variety of policy measures that have been made to boost the export potential of the industry.

  • The government took the initiative to remove the income tax imposed.
  • Removed the tax on gold imports to aid jewellery exporters.
  • NBT imposed on gem imports was also removed.
  • After series of discussions with NGJA the matters mentioned below have been nominated to encourage more exports.
    • Direct online sales.
    • Re-implementation of the voucher system for gem exports.
    • Reduce NGJA export charges.
    • Extending time period for consignment exports and to receive remittances.
  • Sri Lanka Gems book was launched in order to promote distribute and capitalize Sri Lanka Sapphires and coloured stones globally.

The Gem and Jewellery industry was badly affected owing to the ongoing Covid pandemic. Many meetings were held with HE the president, Ministers and other Government representatives and the following were achieved, incentives obtained together with solutions to long standing issues that affected the industry.

  • A decision was taken by the government to renew the tax exemption for Gem exports.
  • All export service charges for confirmed sales were brought down from 0.05%to 0.25%.
  • A special mechanism was allowed for export parcels upto the value of USD 3000 for the export process to be speedier and efficient.
  • A coordinated effort has been requested with the foreign missions to promote the Sri Lanka Sapphire brand.
  • The export policies and procedures to be assessed in line with the Government Policy of Ease of Doing Business and enable more efficient and hassle free export procedures which will assist in improving exports.
  • Discussions are on-going to facilitate return shipments of personally carried export parcels by sealing it in a new tamper proof bag with the Customs at the airport.
  • Negotiations are on-going to allow to proceed gem import shipments to the importer so that they will not have to spend unnecessary time and cost in coming to NGJA offices.
  • A very successful online Jewellery webinar was conducted at the AOD Sri Lanka design Festival.
  • Commenced discussions with VTA on implementation of a training centre for the lapidary industry.
  • Discussions were held with FEDEX, UPS and the postal authorities to reduce shipping charges on exports.


Sri Lanka – The Island of Jewels

Sri Lanka hails as one of the world’s distinguished gem suppliers; celebrated for the large variety of valuable gemstones it provides to the global industry. The island was famously known as “Rathna Deepa” in Sanskrit meaning the island of jewels. Home to a variety of diverse and incredible gemstones, Sri Lanka is an island of treasures, renowned for its collection of high- quality Ceylon Sapphires as well as a host of precious and semi-precious jewels. Sri Lanka produces a variety of stones from Blue, Yellow, Pink and Orange Sapphires to Rubies, Padparadscha, Chrysoberyl Cat’s Eyes, Alexandrite, Star Sapphires, Garnets, Zircons, Tourmalines, and Spinals.

The rich heritage of Sri Lanka’s gem industry dates back to the times of Marco polo who claimed “I want you to understand that the island of Ceylon is, for its size, the finest island in the world, and from its streams comes Rubies, Sapphires, Topazes, Amethysts and Garnets.”

Amongst the mesmerizing gemstones the country produces, Sri Lanka is best known for the “Ceylon Sapphire”. The Blue Sapphires originating from Sri Lanka are known for their distinctive characteristics – their unique colour, clarity and exceptional quality. A number of famous blue sapphires are part of the monarchies crown jewels, as well as housed in museums around the world. This small island nation is one of the top five most important gem providers in the world.

SLGJA Chairman

Chairman's Message

As Chairman of the SLGJA, it is mine and my committee’s intention to uplift the Gem and Jewellery industry of Sri Lanka in a holistic and sustainable manner. And to that end, we have developed a comprehensive plan in collaboration with industry stakeholders to promote and market our Gems and Jewellery products extensively to a global audience.

Sri Lanka is world-famous for its precious stones. Over many decades, the country has produced some of the most iconic and stunning gems that have lined the accessories of Royalty and adorned International designer brands the world over. My focus as Chairman is to ensure that all areas of the local industry—from gem mining and lapidary services to jewellery manufacturing and retail are well represented in the global arena. And to remind the world of Sri Lanka’s legacy as a sought-after destination for the world’s finest Gems and Jewellery.

As the Government recognised, apex body of the Gem and Jewellery industry in Sri Lanka, we are committed to lobbying for the rights and best-interests of all stakeholders within the industry. SLGJA is also focused on encouraging and inspiring our next generation of leaders to take the reins of Sri Lanka’s Gem and Jewellery industry to greater heights. To achieve these aims, we have established training programs and educational courses to provide the tools and knowledge necessary to build a career in lapidary, as well as to preserve our gem-cutting skills for which Sri Lanka has been world renowned for decades.

With the support and guidance of my committee, I look forward to cementing Sri Lanka’s status as a global hub for Gems and Jewellery, and to ensure the longevity of our industry, as well as its many facets—from mining and manufacturing to lapidary and export services.

Thank you,

Ajward Deen

Executive members - 2021/2022

SLGJA Executive Members