A leading Lankan philanthropist passes away

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Founder of Zam Gems, Z.A.M Reffai Hajiar passed away peacefully, on Saturday morning, August 7.

Zam Gems is synonymous with the very best of gemstones mined, in Sri Lanka, and is one of the leading exporters of precious stones and jewellery in the country. Zam Gems has enjoyed tremendous success for over 40 years since its incorporation, due to its commitment to sourcing a variety of the finest gemstones Sri Lanka has to offer and combining them with skilled artisan design and workmanship to create exquisite pieces of jewellery.

Zam Gems had very humble beginnings as a sole proprietorship in the 1970s, when Chairman Z.A.M Refai (or Zam, as he is known in the industry) started conducting business by visiting the hotel rooms of guests to Sri Lanka, who were interested in seeing and purchasing the famous Ceylonese gemstones they had heard much about. He eventually established himself by opening an outlet called ‘El Dorado’ at the Macan Markar arcade in Galle Face in 1972. This small boutique grew into Zam Gems with the opening of the Head Office showroom in Colombo in 1976. Refai had managed to win over many of the international guests with his fine gemstones as well as his exemplary reputation for honesty and business ethics, building an international network of business contacts and lifelong friends. This reputation in a trade built on the cornerstones of trust, honesty and relationships was instrumental in the rapid rise of Zam Gems.

Today, Zam Gems is a proudly recognised Ceylonese brand with a strong customer base from around the world, from gem connoisseurs and jewellery enthusiasts in Japan, China to the United States and Europe.

Marhoom Reffai had been a popular philanthropist who never said ‘no’ to any charitable activity.

His remains were moved to the Oddamavady burial grounds, in the east of Sri Lanka last Saturday.

Sri Lankan expatriates in the Gulf will remember the services rendered by his brother Engineer Aga Barie in constructing the first stormwater system for Saudi Arabia in the early eighties.



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