The need for the formation of an association of qualified gemmologists was felt by the first batch of Diplomates in 1969, emerging from Ceylon College of Technology, now known as the University of Moratuwa (Katubedda).

In that decade there was a dearth of qualified Gemmologists in the country. Moreover, about this time, the traders had observed unnatural gemstones surfacing in our market which were later found to be synthetic gemstones. Hence, the traders felt the neeed for qualified Gemmologists who could help them in their quandary. In order to rectify the situation, the gem and jewellery mer­chants who were members of the Ceylon Jewellers and Travel Traders Association made represen­tations to the Ministry of Education, and persuaded them to organise a course in Gemmology at the Ceylon College of Technology.

Thus, in 1969 was started the first course in Gemmology, open to all including those who were not in the trade.

Of our 13 Founder members, eleven were from this group that qualified from the first batch. This group headed by Hilal, Ameen & Nalliah motivated their batch mates to band themselves together into a group but they did not have the ability and mature leadership to form an Association. Mean­while, Ameen Saleh contacted Prof. K. Kularatnam who replied on 2nd Oct. 1969, welcoming the idea of an Association which had been his own goal for many years. Thus was born the Gemmologists Association of Ceylon which had its inaugural meeting at the Ceylon Tea Propaganda Board Hall on 7th July 1970. Prof. Kularatnam was elected the Founder President. The founder members were19 , Prof.K. Kularatnam M. A. Ph D. (Lond), Dr De 1' Universite (Sciences)(Paris), Diploma in • Gemmology, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ceylon, H. S. Gunaratne, Z. Ameen Saleh, M. Hilal Abdulla, P. A. Siriniwasa, M. J. M. Ansar, C. R. Fernando, M. P. N. Fernando,

The main objective of the Association is to promote the study of and research in Gemmology., over the years we have been organising several field trips and lectures by Srilankans and eminent foreign gemmologists visiting Sri Lanka. We have also conducted many educational courses in Gemmology, Diamond Grading and Geuda heating techniques.

In order to raise funds and to popularise Gemmology, the GASL in 1972 endeavoured to organise an Introductory course in Gemmology but found it difficult due to various restraining factors. At this juncture Hilal Abdulla managed to organise such a course under the aegis of the Colombo Jaycees. This proved to be highly successful. Not only did the Colombo Jaycees win a National Award for it as one of their best 'Economic Affairs' projects but also an unprecedented gemmological awareness was created. So much so that private Gemmology classes began springing up in the Colombo and Ratnapura districts. The Gemmology fever was now on; some of the participants at this course turned out in later years to be leading gem merchants and gemmologists in the country.

In 1978 our beloved President Professor Kularatnam passed away and the reins were taken over by the first Sri Lankan lady Gemmologist, Mrs. Barbara Edirisinghe. The year 1982 was a significant year when the GASL, as a co-sponsor, together with the State Gem Corporation, Sri Lanka Gem Merchants Ferderation, Export Development Board, and the Sri Lanka Jewellery Manufacturing Exports Association organised and hosted the first International Coloured Gemstones Conference and the Gem & Jewellery Exhibition at the BMICH. In the same year the GASL organised a course for the Public in Diamond Grading and Evaluation under the guidance of our member S. Nalliah, Chief Gemmologist Sri Lanka Customs.

The following year, 1983, was perhaps the saddest as well as the proudest year for our Association. All our property, including gem testing instruments, books, files and records were destroyed in July 1983 when the Bristol Building went up in flames. However, in November of the same year, we staged a formidable come-back and organised our proudest and most successful project, the 19th International Gemmological Conference. This was held at a venue overlooking the golden beaches of Beruwela at the Riverina Hotel. Gemmologists from all over the world participated a this Conference which was not only an outstanding success for our Association, but was also personal triumph for our past president Dr Gamini Soysa and then President, Mrs. Barbara Edrisinghe who exerted herself beyond the limits of feminine endurance for the success of the Conference.

The GASL was also instrumental in the formation of the International Coloured Gemstone Association.ICA,in 1984 in Mexico. Past presidents Dr.Gamini Zoysa and M.S.M. Fazli were the representatives for the GASL and Mr. Fazli being the only founding organizer from Sri Lanka together with world renowned gemologists Mr.Richard Liddicot and Dr.Guberlin as founding organizers .

The Association organised several public lectures and met visiting foreign gemmolgists,
the Swiss Gemmological Association and the Gemmological Association of All Japan. Professor A Chikayama of the GAAJ had been a great benefactor and a friend of the GASL from its very incep­tion.All the members of the GASL are permitted to use the title MGA (SL) after their names.

Among many activities of the Association to educate the general public about the Gem wealth of Sri Lanka, the gems and mineral show conducted once in every two years became a major event in the GASL calendar. It was initiated in the year 2001 by the then president of the GASL Mr. Chanaka Ellawela. In 2008 this Mineral Show of Sri Lanka was renamed Jewels 2008, under the guidance of then president Mr.Ajith Siriwardena and the sponsorship of National Gem and Jewellery Authority, the Jewel show was held at the BMICH and was a great success. As a result it was held again in 2009,where the show was upgraded further under the President of Daya Ranasinghe and Jewels 2009 chairman Ruzwan Kamil. This year too the Jewels 2010 is being held in a much bigger scale together with the National Gem and Jewellery Authority to mark the 40th anniversary of the GASL.

The GASL has taken another great step towards improving the standard and the level of Gemmological knowledge of Sri Lankans through the introduction of Diploma in Gemmology Examination in Sri Lanka. For the first time in the history of Gemmologists Association this Diploma in Gemmology Examination was held on 21' and 22' of November 2009 and again in November 2010 fullfilling a great need of the industry and providing every Sri Lankan Gemmology lover an opportunity to get a qualification of international standards here in Sri Lanka for an affordable fee, Which is standardized through reputed local and foreign moderators to maintain the standard to be in par with any other international Diploma.

The GASL is celebrating its Ruby Anniversary as it turned 40 in July 2010 and we are proud that the GASL has been able to render a yeomen service to the gem trade and gemmology in Sri Lanka.