Sri Lanka Gemstones and Jewelry Industry-Gem Talk-Sept2007

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"We are very pleased and thankful to all the staff at the National Gem and Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka  for giving us permission to reproduce articles from Gem Talk sept 2007"

"Due to the efforts of National Gem and Jewelry Authority , Sri Lanka has now become one of the rapidly growing gem and jewellery trade centers in the world, we really appreciate all the hard work"


Time Management

We think, we can all agree that, the pace in the jewelry industry is fast and getting faster everyday. The saying "Time is Money" is truer here than in most other businesses. Proper management of our time is mandatory if we are ever to accomplish many of our business objectives. Therefore it is imperative that we plan our time more effectively

While time management itself has many variations, there are four basic principles with specific applications to the gem and jewelry industry. These include "Know what you want to accomplish with your time", plan in writing how to use your time, expand time when it counts and do it now.

We must strive to spend as much of our time as possible as an investment which will pay off at a future date.

The pace of the 2000's is becoming unbelievably fast. As gem and jewelry industry stakeholders you are all, "on the hot seat", to perform and make things happen. There is only one way to do it without going totally bonkers, and that is good, solid time management.


Editorial committee

K.P Dahamsondage

Sarath Weerasena

Ajith Perera

Editorial Consultant

Janaka Perera

Editorial Coordinator

Ajith Perera

Creative Director

Anosha Gamage

Art Director

Janaka Chamindha

Graphic Designer

Asanga Manjula




Chairman's message

It is encouraging to note from the statistics released by the National Gem and Jewellery Authority(NGJA)that the first half of the year 2007 has recorded a growth of 6.26% earning US$216 million;compared to the corresponding period of 2006.

The removal of Port and Airport Development Levy (PAL)on the import of gems,diamonds and gold enhanced Sri Lanka's competitiveness which is reflected  in a 28% growth in jewelry exports in the first half of 2007.

Under the guidance of Dr Sarath Amunugama minister of enterprise development & investment promortion who is ably assisted by Hono.Mano Wijeyeratne,minister of enterprise development:gem imports are to be further liberalized soon;enabling dealers to clear their gem import consignments  direct from the Airport  Terminal Building, after inspection by Customs.

In it's endeavors to promote the industry and mitigate the adverse effect created by the present downturn in tourist arrivals.NGJA has launched an E-commerce facility through its the opportunity to gem and jewellery traders to offer their products for sale online.

"NGJA" will continue to provide strong leadership to the gem and jewellery industry in Sri Lanka.

Hasitha Tillekeratne


National Gem and Jewellery Authority.




Identification Technology

"Some useful remarks on Cats Eye Chrysoberyl...."

By Gamini Zoysa- Gemmologist/Mineralogist

Sri Lanka has exported 42428cts of Cats eye chrysoberyl valued at 409Mil in 2006 according to the statistics department of the NGJA.(Gem talk-june 2007).This is 4% of the total gem exports during the year.Quartz,Beryl,Tourmaline,Apatite,Sillimanite,and few other gem varieties are also associated with this phenomenon but when one refers to cats eye,people in the trade assume you are referring to Chrysoberyl cats eye.Compared to the other cats eyes chrysoberyl cats eye is the most prized and has the sharpest eye.

The impressive effect of chrysoberyl cats eye makes it the most popular and desired phenomenal gemstone among the dealers.Orderly arranged fine parallel fibre inclusions are the cause of this cats eye effect which is also called Chatoyancy.

The chatoyant effect is produced as a result of scattering and reflection of light from these sub-microscopically fine parallel inclusions.If the top of the gem is made.

If the top of the gem is made to a cabochon forming a dome,the light is concentrated to form a narrow line.When the dome is low the chatoyant effect is destroyed.With a high dome the effect may not be very distinct

Cats eyes produce a brilliant sharp narrow line of silverly light against a fine honey yellow  or greenish yellow body color. Grayish, Gray-green and brownish body colours are less desirable in the trade.When a gem contains coarse fibre inclusions a broad rather than a fine ray would be visible.Some dealers place a higher value on deep yellow marginally towards a brownish colour,while others claim that greenish body of honey colours as the most desirable.

Cats eyes is mostly used in mens jewellery.It became popular in europe in the late 19th century.However today it has won the hearts of many admirers in the far east.

Chrysoberyl and Alexandrite both have been synthesized in various laboratories with near similar geological properties as those of their natural counterparts.The cats eye on the other hand was never commercially produced as a synthetic gem though there are many simulants for it.

Chatoyant ray also exhibits two special effects.The first is called the milk and honey effect.When a cats eye stone is held under a powerful light source at right angles to the direction of the ray one may notice that the part of the stone near the light source shows the real body colour of the gem,while the other parts loose milky.The second effect is when the stone is placed and rotated between two light sources when the chatoyant band appears to open and close.

In grading cats eye chrysoberyl semi transparent stones with a greenish yellow or a honey brown yellow colour without any visible inclusions fetch a higher price.The Chatoyant ray (eye) should be silvery white or yellow in colour ,further it should also be narrow bright and sharp without breaks or waviness.The chatoyant ray should reach all the way across the stone.The eye should open widely and close sharply and the milk and honey effect should be visible.

Identification Technology

"Alexandite or Chrysoberyl the everlasting controversy...."

by Neelamanee De Silva

The eye-catching gemstone Alexandrite derived its name from the greatest Tsar Alexander the 2nd of Russia .Thereafter it has become the gemstone which is most sought after in the world.

The specialty of Alexandrite lies in its amazing ability of changing colours in different types of light. It is grass green to lemon green in daylight and changes its colour to either mauve, red or brownish red(Henry Russel) in the incandescent light .The chemical composition of Chrysoberyl {BeAl2O4}with added accessory Transitional element Chromium is what gives this phenomenal change to Alexandrite.

The Mother variety of

Alexndrite known as Chrysoberyl too,

sometimes gives the same body colour

but no change in the incandescent light.

Apart from properties such as different colours

in Pleochromism, Chromium spectrum

and the residual red colour in the

Chelsea colour filter along with

the body colour of green all

other characteristics are

identical to Chrysoberyl

A Gemmologist who should be able to identify any member of the chrysoberyl group which contains these special characteristics,must put it into the Alexandrite sub group without any influence or hesitation.

When the gemstone is sold or traded in the local or international markets,it is essential to mention the colour change of the stone as weak,medium or strong along with the conclusion of its identity .

Although technology has developed to an extent where the dealer can always specify its required body colour as well as the intensity of the colour change to the supplier and vice versa,still they do not practice it,and the stone is deprived of its true identity.

Using modern information technology and placing an order with the exact body colour and the colour change,one avoids lot of possible misunderstandings which creates conflicts between the parties involved.

Every gemmologist has the right to declare the gemstones true nature in black and white,based on internationally accepted facts ,immaterial of any influences or threats.

The hues of the changing colour of Alexandrite in the incandescent light depends on the mineral contents and the transitional elements of the soil it originated from and the valency changes of their Chromium Russian and Indian alexandrite have a colour change which is maure where as stones found in Sri Lanka and Madagascar carry a brownish red and deep red hues.




Body colour Grass Green, Lemon Green Any hue of Green
Pleochroism Red, Yellow/Green, Green (Trichroic) Yellow/Green, Green(Dichroic)
Chelsea Colour Filter Red  


Lapidarists in many Asian countries including Sri Lanka concentrate more on the weight of th finished product than its quality and orientation of the colour when cutting gemstones.Alexandrite or any gemstone,fashioned with a correct orientation of the direction of colour ,always fetches a better price than a poorly cut stone.Lapidarists should be able to balance both of these aspects giving preference to the best orientation of the body colour and to the colour change when cutting alexandrites.

There are some recently found deposits of Chrome rich Chrysoberyls with a body colour of yellow,which cannot be categorized as Alexandrite.

By taking the above facts into consideration,one can give the Alexandrite its due recognition and value in the trade with the help of modern technology by specifying its body colour and the colour change.

In my opinion these facts remained unchanged from the time they discovered the methods of identification of gems,but traders have twisted them for their own benefit which ultimately leads to these baseless controversies.

You are welcome to discuss this post/related topics with Dr Shihaan and other experts from around the world in our FORUMS (

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Dr Shihaan Larif
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