Kochi, November 17, 2008: The Kerala Gem and Jewellery Show 2008 (KGJS 2008), the first ever business-to-business jewelry show in Kerala, which concluded in Cochin on November 16, 2008, has created a revolutionary shift in the state’s manufacturer-retail supply chain.
The participants -- from Kerala and across the country -- have benefited from the enormous jewelry consumption in Kerala and the future potential it offers, while the state’s retail trade has been exposed to a wide range of products and designs from across the country which can satisfy a demanding consumer base.
KGJS 2008 was organized by The Art of Jewellery, India’s No. 1 jewelry magazine, and was presented by the government of Kerala in association with All Kerala Gold & Silver Merchants Association (AKGSMA), Jewellery Manufacturing Association of Kerala (JMA) and the World Gold Council (WGC).
Speaking at the inauguration, Elamaram Karim, Kerala's minister of industries & commerce, announced the government’s support in promoting the jewelry industry. He said the event would be held in conjunction with the Kerala shopping festival from next year onward.
T. Balakrishnan, principal secretary of industries and commerce for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), said, “The department of industries & commerce, government of Kerala takes pride in supporting the 1st KGJS 2008. The exhibition will, apart from promoting the jewelry industry and trade, help to create new job opportunities in the state. This event will act as a catalyst in the growth of the gem and jewelry sector. The Kerala government will work towards placing KGJS on the global calendar of jewelry shows."
KGJS 2008 had around 125 participants and over 150 stalls in various categories, including gold jewelry, diamond jewelry, studded jewelry, loose diamonds, machinery and other allied sectors from Thrissur, Calicut, Chennai, Mumbai, Rajkot, Jaipur, Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and Kolkata. The show saw around 7,500 quality trade visitors over three days from every district in Kerala, Chennai, Madurai and other regions of all the four south Indian states. Interestingly, there were visitors from Mumbai, Surat and Rajkot as well. Representatives from the leading jewelry chains from Kerala, including Alukkas, Bhima and Josco, were some of the eminent visitors.
The plain gold jewelry and studded jewelry segments did roaring business. Also, in a market known for its mammoth gold consumption, the show saw diamond jewelry doing well, another indicator of a shift at the retail and consumer level. Other segments like silver jewelry and pearl jewelry were well received by the trade. The massive manufacturing base, especially in Thrissur, ensured that the machinery segment did healthy business.
The state consumes 20 percent of India’s gold and gold jewelry. Over 500 kg (1102 lbs.) of gold jewelry is manufactured every day in the state, and a third of this is sold to jewelers outside Kerala. There are more than 5,000 retailers in Kerala. Thrissur is one of the largest jewelry manufacturing hubs in South India and has around 3,000 large and medium-sized jewelry manufacturers. Moreover, around 40,000 artisans are employed in Kerala. The trade provides direct and indirect employment to 200,000 people.
The Kerala Jewellery Awards, instituted by the Kerala government and held at KGJS 2008, recognized and honored leaders of the jewelry industry for their sterling contribution to the growth and progress of this sector. The legendary father figure of the Kerala jewelry industry, P T Cherian, president of the All Kerala Gold and Silver Merchants Association, who has been an office bearer for an astounding 60 years, was awarded for “Outstanding Contribution to the Gem & Jewelry Trade in Kerala” .
Others honored included:
• Rafy Antony of Peeyar Exports – Highest Jewelry Exporter 2008 from Kerala
• Joy Alukkas – Best Overseas Retailer 2008 from Kerala
• Shri. N.A. Davies – Outstanding Contribution to the Jewelry Manufacturer and trading in Kerala
• Shri. Gaurav Gupta & Ashish Gupta, joint managing director, Aerens Gold Souk – Outstanding Contribution to the Gem and Jewelry Infrastructure in Kerala
• and James Jose, managing director of Chemmanur Gold Refinery (P) Ltd – Establishing India’s First Hallmarking Centre.
The brilliant creativity and workmanship of Kerala’s artisans was recognized and honored. The Artisans Excellence Awards were presented to:
• Jaison Mani, Moon Star Jewelry, Thrissur for Best Long Chain
• Saleem, Paris Jewelry Works, Cochin for Best Necklace
• and Thomas, Konikkara Gold, Thrissur for Best Bangle.
To provide impetus to jewelry designing as a vital and integral component of the jewelry sector, the organizers conducted a jewelry design competition, which received nearly 500 entries from all over India.The competition was sponsored by the Pranda Group, Thailand.
The three top winners announced on awards night were:
• Bikash Paul, Suraj Diamonds, West Bengal – 1st Prize
• Niranjan Parui, Suraj Diamonds, Mumbai – 2nd Prize
• Akanksha Srivastav, Titan Industries, Bangalore – 3rd Prize
The awards function was followed by Aaga , a dazzling fashion show that showcased exquisite creations from R M Jewellers, Mukti Gold, Gem Impex and Rudraksha by Meenaksh . The show was not only a visual treat but an excellent brand-building opportunity, held before a focused target audience.
Educational trade seminars were also held across the three days, where industry veterans provided their insights into various aspects of the gem and jewelry sector. Bijou Kurien, chief executive officer (CEO) of Reliance Lifestyle, provided deep sociocultural insights while charting the road ahead for the jewelry sector. Chintan Karnani dwelt on the ground realities of gold price volatility and mechanics of hedging. Vidya Mazumdar of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and Hitendra Mistry of the International Gemological Institute (IGI) educated the trade on the finer aspects of diamonds, including the four Cs, grading, detection of synthetics and the value of diamonds. James Jose of the Indian Association of Hallmarking Centres gave a detailed presentation on hallmarking and assaying of gold. Dr Vyjayanti Pandit, Western Region director of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) spoke on the various initiatives by FICCI to provide an impetus to the Indian gem and jewelry sector. Vineet Bhansali of Copper Spiral RFID educated the trade on radio frequency tags and their importance in inventory management and security.
P.V. Jose, convenor of KGJS 2008 & chief patron of the Jewellery Manufactures Association in Kerala said, “KGJS 2008 was the ideal platform for providing networking opportunities across India, especially, for our small and medium manufacturers and wholesalers. I am certain KGJS will go from strength to strength with the success of this show and make its mark as a leading trading show.”
P.T. Cherian, president of the All-Kerala Gold and Silver Merchants’ Association (AKGSMA), said, “The overwhelming success of the show will provide a boost for the state’s jewelry trade and industry. More importantly, it will provide the constituents of the state’s jewelry sector the confidence to go beyond the Kerala and India."
“History is being made with KGJS, and this event will provide the necessary impetus to the Kerala jewelry [industry]. Given the location, the immense business potential the market offers and the range of participants from all across the country, the WGC is very keen on cross-regional distribution and wants that the state’s players leverage this opportunity and go beyond the borders of Kerala,” said K. Shivram, vice president of the World Gold Council (WGS).
Sumesh Wadhera, managing director and chief editor of The Art of Jewellery and an organizer of KGJS said, “KGJS 2008 was designed to address the long-felt need in the state to bring the retail trade closer to the manufacturers and strengthen the supply chain, and that objective was met at KGJS 2008. It was the ideal platform for jewelry manufacturers, retailers, artisans, exporters and wholesalers to interact, network, source the latest designs and enhance their knowledge and further their business prospects.”