Economic Activities

Economic Activities

Gem deposits are dispersed over a large part of Sri Lanka, however, the Ratnapura district of the Sabaragamuwa province is the most renowned and Ratnapura is known as the city of gems, due to its high concentration of gem mineral deposits. Gemstone mining in the study area was carried out on a small-scale basis using manual labour and traditional technology. The trading sector combines knowledge and experience acquired over decades, if not centuries, with modern global business models. Just as mastering sapphire heat treatment helped the Thais become dominant players in the global corundum market, the Sri Lankans have great expertise in getting the best yield and color out of sapphire. Cutting is a fascinating blend of hand-powered techniques, utilizing some of the world’s greatest expertise in orientation of rough, and a growing precision cutting and recutting industry that maintains the strictest tolerances. Jewelry design and manufacturing is directly tied to the domestic retail market as well as the market for Sri Lankans living abroad. Traditional 22K gold jewelry is in high demand for weddings as well as for investments and as a financial asset to pawn in times of need. At the same time, the market has adjusted to a younger generation with more varied tastes, while aiming to increase tourist purchases and broaden export markets.


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