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Gemstones Jewelry in Nigeria

Abi Adeniran
May 14, 2019

It might be news to some but it’s widely known that Nigeria has one of the largest deposits of gemstones in the world. Those who have been following the news about Nigerian gemstones would know that Nigeria is blessed with some of the rarest gemstones in the world. These include Zircon, Emerald, Sapphire, Garnet, Tourmaline, Beryl, and aquamarine.
Despite being rich in gemstones, Nigeria does not feature among the top suppliers. At present, the world’s two main suppliers of gemstones are Brazil and Madagascar. Other top gemstones producing countries include Australia, Colombia, Myanmar, Colombia, and Sri Lanka. These countries are earning billions of dollars by shipping refined gemstones to international customers. The customers generally include gemstone traders and jewelers who finish gemstones into jewelry.
What can Nigeria do to compete with these countries at the international level? Add value to the gemstones mining production. One of the best ways to do that is finishing gemstones into jewelry. The Global Gems and Jewelry market is estimated to grow to over US$443 billion by 2022. There is an opportunity in this for Nigeria to increase its overall exports and revenue.

The Investment Opportunities in Nigerian Gemstones

Of the billions of the dollars of revenue that Thailand generates from gemstones each year, about 10% comes from Nigeria. This is shocking when you consider that the country has one of the largest deposits of gemstones in the world. Not only that, but Nigerian gemstones are also some of the rarest gemstones in the world.
By refusing to come together to develop the sector, businesses in the Nigerian gemstones mining sector are causing the country to lose revenue worth billions of dollars. Not only are the other countries increasing their gemstones mining production, but they are also adding value to their gemstones mining production. How are they doing that? By finishing the mined gemstones into jewelry. This is one of the reasons the Global Jewelry business is expected to reach €250 billion by 2020.
The countries with the biggest share will be Hong Kong, China, the U.S, India, and Switzerland. 2020 might be too early for Nigeria to catch up with these nations in gemstones production and export. However, the country can get there in a decade’s time by making a committed effort towards increasing the production and value of its gemstones.

The Current State of Gemstones Production in Nigeria

In Nigeria, colored gemstones are mined across the country. The mining is performed mainly by Artisans and Small-Scale Miners (ASM). Having informal skills, the artisanal miners look for and temporarily mine the gemstones with rich deposits.  As part of the mining reform, the Nigerian government established the ASM department to support and promote the Artisans and Small-Scale Miners.
The reform also helped to create an investment environment with relatively cheap labor. Today, there are significant opportunities for miners interested in mining deposits of gemstones which are currently under-exploited in Nigeria. These include tourmaline, aquamarine, emerald, ruby, and sapphire.
In addition to the above, the Nigerian government is looking to register private mineral buying centers across the country. The purpose of this is making it possible for traders of gemstones in Nigeria to establish buying centers in any part of the country.
Nigeria exports most of the gemstone it produces since there is not enough demand for the stones within the country. A major reason that Nigeria has been unable to compete at the international level in the gemstones market is that most of the country’s gemstone production is exported rough. Rarely do we see Nigerian gemstones being processes before they are exported. While this is a lost opportunity for the country, it provides players in the local gemstones market with a great opportunity for carving, faceting, beading, tumbling, and jewelry making.

Lessons to Learn from Other Countries

They are lessons to be learned by Nigeria from how gemstones change the fate of some countries. Before 1966, Botswana was plagued with poverty. At that time, the country was mainly an agrarian economy. However, after the country started to mine and export diamond, the most valuable gemstone in the world, its economy got a boost. Since 1966, Botswana’s economy has grown by almost 6% each year. Not only does Botswana export raw diamonds, but it also exports diamonds finished in jewelry.
One of the main reasons Nigeria has been unable to benefit from the large deposits of gemstones is that the country has done little to add value to its mined gemstones. As mentioned earlier, most of the gemstones exported by Nigeria is exported raw. The countries buying gemstones from Nigeria have to process and sometimes finish the gemstones into jewelry before they can be sold to the end customer.
This has discouraged many countries from sourcing gemstones from Nigeria.  Instead, they turn to countries that can provide them with gemstones that are processed or finished into jewelry. This saves them both time and money. If Nigeria is serious about being a major player in the global Gemstones and Jewelry market, then it will have an offer at least what the top producers are already offering. To get ahead of them, Nigeria will have to do something out of the box and nothing fits the bill better than finishing gemstones into jewelry.

The Gemstones Finished into Jewelry that Could Make Nigeria Billions

As mentioned earlier, Nigeria has rich deposits of some of the rarest gemstones in the world. Of these gemstones, the stones that could earn the country billions of dollars in revenue if finished into jewelry include Red Beryl, emerald and ruby. Prices are dependent on origin, color, size, and clarity.On record, The Sunrise Ruby – A 25.59-carat Mogok Burmese Ruby and Diamond Ring, by Cartier – $30,335,698. Loose stones ,Emerald at $305,000 per carat while red beryl was sold for $10,000 per carat. Imagine how much Nigeria could earn by mining, processing, and then finishing these gemstones into jewelry? This is why finishing gemstones into jewelry to add value to its gemstones mining production is a no-brainer strategy for a prosperous Nigeria.
At nigeriangemstones we are proactively learning the processes.From concept to design drawing to CAD to casting to mounting to setting and polishing. Already we are building a collection of custom jewelery (rings,pendants,belt buckles and sunglasses.The experience is so inspirational and heartwarming.

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