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Afghanistan To Launch Its First Gemstone Certification Lab

13 May 2020 Wadsam Afghanistan Business News

Silk Road Heart will be Afghanistan’s first gemstone certification lab and lapidary to be launched in June 2020 with support from USAID INVEST.

According to, the gemstone certification lab in Afghanistan will identify, certify, cut and polish the stones  as per international guidelines and will play a crucial role in introducing the gems of Afghanistan to the international market.

The lab will provide internal mining, sorting, identification, certification, and value-added services which will steer the nation’s gemstone sector toward self-reliance, create employment opportunities and generate revenue for the government and businesses.

USAID INVEST is providing technical and financial assistance to facilitate the formation of the lab, including procuring equipment, finding gemologists, and marketing the lab domestically and internationally.

Smuggling of stones out of Afghanistan to neighboring countries, mainly Pakistan, has been a major issue stalling the progress of the sector. Due to lack of a lab inside the country, Afghan traders have to take stones to other countries for cutting and polishing and certification, and this often happens illegally which leads to lack of provenance of the stone.

“The smuggling of stones, especially to Pakistan, creates a serious issue that needs to be addressed,” quotes Ahmad Rahmani, CEO of Lapis Gems and Jewelry, a leading exporter of precious and semi-precious Afghan gemstones. “Because the traders have no other option for certification, cutting, or selling their stones here, they indulge in this illegal method. Once the stones are in Pakistan, they are sold as a commodity without an origin, and the Afghans selling the stones across the border do so at nominal prices.”

In 2016, Tolo News reported that precious and semi-precious stones worth $267 million were being smuggled out of the country to Pakistan every year.

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