Pakistan has the potential to become the next alternative source for the colored gemstone trade—a source of a wide variety of rough stones—but it has a long way to go to achieve that status, says Ambarine Bukharey, the newly-appointed International Colored Gemstone Association ambassador to Pakistan.
Bukharey is a dealer in colored gemstones and minerals in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. She joined the ICA at the organization’s most recent congress in Bangkok in February. When she visited New York earlier this month as the head of a delegation from Pakistan’s Gems and Jewellery Strategy Working Group, an umbrella organization formed in 2004 by private stakeholders from existing gem and jewelry associations, ICA President Joseph Menzie appointed her the ICA ambassador to her country.
“For many people in the gemstone business, Pakistan is a still a mystery. It is our working group’s task to unveil this mystery and effectively spread the news that our country has more gemstone varieties to offer than almost any other country in the world, and we wish for the world to come help us mine, produce and sell these earth treasures,” Bukharey said.
Pakistan has ruby, emerald, tourmaline, garnet (pyrope, almandine, rhodolite, demantoid, spessartite, and hessonite), topaz, peridot, aquamarine, spinel, pargasite, diopside, moonstone, serpentine jade, epidote, pink beryl (morganite), purple beryl, sphene, zoisite, lapis lazuli, turquoise, kunzite, and almost all known varieties of quartz.
“Pakistan also has the potential in mineral wealth to become a center for gemstone exploration and could become an important player in the world market on a grand scale. First, a number of essential steps must be taken locally to enhance exploration and the growth of the business. I am confident that membership of Pakistani miners and traders in ICA will be an important contribution to our opening up to the world,” Bukharey commented.
The Gems and Jewellery Strategy Working Group, which Bukharey heads, is funded by the U.S. government’s Agency for International Development and the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority, a division of Pakistan’s Ministry of Industries, Production and Special Initiatives. Bukharey also serves on the board of the All Pakistan Gems and Jewellery Exporters Association and acts as a government advisor for the Pakistani gem trade.
The Strategy Working Group delegation visited The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas 2005 at the beginning of June and met with representatives of the leading U.S. gem labs and institutes to discuss the possibilities for cooperation on gemstone identification and education. Bukharey said the group is trying to upgrade some existing gemological training institutes. The first of these is the Gem and Gemological Institute of Peshawar, which was established in 2001.