Gemfields is adding sapphires to its colored-gemstone offerings.
In a partnership with East West Gem Investments Limited (EWGI), Gemfields has acquired a 75 percent operating interest in 16 exploration licenses in Sri Lanka. The licenses cover diverse minerals.
EWGI and Gemfields will also create a trading company, to be called Ratnapura Lanka Gemstones, which will source rough gemstones from the local market.
Gemfields’ grading systems and marketing methodologies will be applied, and the gems will be available via Gemfields auctions.
“We are delighted to announce our entry into what we consider to be the third of the ‘big three’ colored gemstones,” said Gemfields CEO Ian Harebottle in a statement. “With revenue-producing emerald and ruby operations in Zambia and Mozambique already in the Gemfields portfolio, the proposed development of sapphire operations in Sri Lanka will realize our stated red, blue, and green colored-gemstones strategy.
“We are excited about the possibility of being able to offer a reliable supply of well-graded sapphires to customers attending our auctions and to ensure that all gemstone stakeholders in Sri Lanka—including its government and general population— benefit from the value addition and transparency that the Gemfields approach has already delivered in Zambia and Mozambique.”