Maneesha, the gemstone buyer at bespoke jewellery brand Taylor & Hart, leads an all-female team and is making history, having broken her way into the male-dominated industry in Sri Lanka.
With grit and ambition, she’s tackled hurdles to become an industry leader in the world-famous Ratnapura gemstone region.
Maneesha was born in Ratnapura and entered the gemstone buying industry at a young age. It was extremely daunting being a woman in an extremely male-dominated industry.
She became a gemstone exporter in 2011, working for another sapphire company, but then decided to start her own all-female business in 2015 with two colleagues. By 2017 they had investment and had opened an office in Ratnapura.
As a woman and a mother, breaking into this industry was full of challenges, Maneesha said: “As women in the gemstone mining industry, we are making a statement. I even sometimes wear heels to visit the mines. I wear a nice outfit and do my make up. One of my clients was laughing asking, ‘Why are you so dressed up?’ It’s because I’ve carved an image for myself. I wanted to stand out from the rest, and I did.”