Cambodia garnered over $851 million from the export of jewellery and precious stones to the international market in 2023, represents a surge of 261% increase compared to 2022, as per the Ministry of Commerce.

Ministry undersecretary of state Tan Tepi Kanika noted the significant rise in export value during a January 22 press conference on the 15th Cambodia International Jewellery and Gems Exhibition to be held in Phnom Penh later this year. 

She said the growth is a testament to the successful and comprehensive collaboration between the ministry, private sector and the Cambodian Gems and Jewellery Traders Association (CGJTA).

Chhay Sinath, acting president of the CGJTA, noted that the upcoming exhibition, scheduled from March 21-25, is a crucial event. 

He said it will showcase the potential in the jewellery and gem sector in the country and provide insights into the growth and design of contemporary Cambodian finery.

“It is also a great opportunity for all Cambodian traders and jewellery designers to meet and collaborate with foreign partners to promote their businesses,” he said.

Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, noted the country’s long history of processing jewellery, precious gems and art objects from wood and stone. 

He said that while the export value of the items saw a significant increase in 2023 compared to 2022, it does not necessarily imply that the country is abundant in raw materials like gold and gems. Most of the products, he explained, are imported for processing before being exported again.

“The growth in exports of these valuable products is a source of pride for Cambodia. Through these jewellery pieces, Cambodia can showcase its heritage and sculptures from ancestors, as well as inspire new fashion trends,” he told The Post on January 23.

Vanak also noted that the country spends a considerable amount each year to import gold and precious stones for processing, yet he remains optimistic about the future growth in exports. 

The Ministry of Mines and Energy recently reported that since the first gold production in June 2021 until mid-November 2023, the Kingdom had produced nearly 9 tonnes.

Energy minister Keo Rattanak said during the “Mining and Energy Policy in Cambodia” forum last November that there were six companies refining gold in various provinces, contributing additional revenue to the national budget. 

“As of November, Cambodia has produced about 1,040 bars of gold, totalling approximately 8,979kg. From this, the government has received over $14.4 million in royalties,” he stated.