EghtesadOnline: The bulk sale of Iranian quality products is not exclusive to saffron and pistachio, as Iranian gemstones are also being transferred in bulk to other countries.
According to Mansour Namdar Zandi, a senior member of Iran Gold, Jewels, Silver and Precious Stones Producers Union, Iranian gemstones are being exported to Turkey and other countries, and after they are processed and branded, they generate up to 300% in added value for those countries.
“Several semi-precious gemstone mines, including citrine, amethyst, jasper and a wide variety of agate, are in 18 Iranian provinces. We are capable of low-tech, artisanal mining of some of these gemstones but others are being retrieved through techniques that damage their quality and color. Challenges associated with customs’ procedures have made imports of modern equipment even more difficult than before. However, a number of specialized mining equipment is now being manufactured domestically,” he was quoted as saying by the Persian-language daily Shargh.
Noting that lack of brand identity is one of the problems in this field, Namdari said Iran’s neighboring Turkey has marketed itself as a top producer of gold and jewels, while the country does not have a single mine and imports all raw materials.
“Iran’s marketing strategies are weak. Iran’s export of gemstones in bulk is even worse than that of saffron. Turkey buys our gemstones in bulk and after processing creates multiple times higher added value,” he said.
“All of Iran’s gemstones, except turquoise, are being exported unprocessed. The domestic production of precious stones costs higher than their import due to tax, insurance and customs duties, as well the very complicated government regulations and bureaucracy. For example, the price of Iranian citrine is twice the cost of importing processed citrine from Thailand.”
Arman Khaleqi, a member of House of Industry, Mine and Trade of Iran, said most gemstone mines in Iran are owned by the private sector and the government has privatized all public mines.
“Lack of precious stones such as diamond in Iran is the reason behind traditional mining in the country. Imports of precious stones are usually from Afghanistan’s Badakhshan and India,” he said.
“By employing top designers, the country will make progress in the field; innovative designing is of greater importance than exploration. The whole production chain of gemstones would improve by reforming the gemstone designing techniques.”
Chairman of Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization Khodadad Gharibpour said the capacity of gemstone mining and marketing has been overlooked for years.
“Since November 2019, IMIDRO has held meetings with the Geological Survey and Mineral Exploration of Iran, as well as senior mining and customs officials, Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism, commerce chambers and gold and jewelry union. In cooperation with Isfahan’s Gemstones Consortium and provincial governor, a stone marketing venue has been opened there and a similar market will be opened in Mashhad,” he said.
“IMIDRO also plans to establish a market along Afghanistan’s border. It held a stone carving course in Ferdows in South Khorasan and 360 people attended it. IMIDRO’s policies are focused on preventing the export of unprocessed, raw materials; we are at the beginning of the road, though.”