Rapaport Magazine


By Zainab Morbiwala
Finding New Ways To Collaborate

Jewelry design was the focus of the Indian gems and jewelry industry in February. First, the annual Signature show, held February 20 to 23 in Mumbai, attracted 580 exhibitors and more than 7,000 visitors. The event, which showcases jewelry collections from designers throughout the country, is a trade-only gathering. The second event was a Design Inspiration workshop, a two-day meeting that followed Signature and highlighted jewelry trends in the industry. The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) organized both events.

A Breakthrough
   To boost India-U.S. trade relations in the gems and jewelry sector, the Gem and Jewellery, Luxury, Lifestyle Forum of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACOC) announced a strategic alliance. The two organizations will cooperate in developing regional jewelry manufacturing hubs in India. The hubs will be designed as shared spaces in which U.S. retailers can invest to support Indian manufacturers with whom they have partnered for the supply of product.
   Speaking exclusively to Rapaport Magazine, Mehul Choksi, chairman of FICCI’s Gem and Jewellery, Luxury, Lifestyle Forum, said the venture is a downstream and upstream collaboration. “We are looking at American companies investing in India and Indian companies investing in the U.S. The aim is to promote business both ways,” he said.
   “We are looking at inviting the American companies to put up manufacturing clusters in India — that’s the downstream part — and we shall do upstream marketing outreach to promote retail sales,” Choksi explained. Plans call for IACOC to assist Indian companies in marketing their products and developing their brands in the U.S. According to press reports, leading U.S. retailers, including Signet and Helzberg, have reportedly shown interest in the project.

Prices, Taxes and Stability
   A recent online member survey by GJEPC on rough price expectations in 2015 revealed that 55.88 percent of the respondents forecast that prices would remain stable, 13.24 percent expect them to rise more than 10 percent and about 30.88 percent were of the opinion that there would be a price rise of about 5 percent to 10 percent during the year.
   Although business in the eurozone is currently flat, Vipul Shah, GJEPC chairman, said that “demand from the U.S. looks positive. We are witnessing good movement in medium to piqué goods and the industry is looking forward to the Hong Kong show.”
   Within India, the gems and jewelry industry is optimistic of resolving presumptive tax issues and also reducing the import duty on gold in the new national budget. Shah said the industry is actively campaigning for the creation of Special Notified Zones, in which mining companies could distribute rough directly to manufacturers with less bureaucracy and expense. Overall, the jewelry sector is benefiting from the stabilization of gold prices in the country. According to Shah, it is hoped that the stability in gold prices will boost consumer confidence in the yellow metal and that should encourage the sale of gold and gold jewelry in India.

Colors and Synthetics
   The third annual Indo-China Colored Gemstone Buyer-Seller Meet was held in February in Panyu, China. It was the first time the meet took place in China. The two-day exhibition had 15 Indian colored gemstone companies interacting with 424 buyers from 275 companies from various parts of Mainland China.
   “The council is very active in all kinds of buyer-seller meets across segments and this applies to colored gemstones as well,” said Shah. “These meets are well received by our members and they also encourage and enhance exports from our country.” More than 70 percent of the attendees at the Panyu meet reportedly confirmed their willingness to participate in similar events in the future.
   The Surat Diamond Association (SDA) recently held a seminar for over 600 diamond artisans and traders on identification of synthetic diamonds. The seminar was given in collaboration with the District Industries Centre of the Government of Gujarat. In addition to addressing the issue of the industry gaining a bad name from the illegal mixing of synthetic diamonds with natural diamonds, the seminar also covered the various processes by which synthetic diamonds are manufactured, including the High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) methods. Participants were shown photographs of over 25 natural and synthetic rough and polished stones that indicated how the synthetics could be easily identified.
   During February, GJEPC also announced its plans to issue identification cards to all its members to facilitate registration and attendance at GJEPC events. The photo ID cards, which will be used to process visitor badges, will be valid for the April 2015 to March 2016 cycle.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - March 2015. To subscribe click here.

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