Rapaport Magazine


By Zainab Morbiwala
Price-Sensitive Jewelry Rules

Sentiments at the year-end remained more or less stable for the gems and jewelry industry in India. There was no major news nor any event nor activity creating positive or negative ripples in the market. With the U.S. market showing continuous signs of improvement, the numbers coming in for holiday 2013 reflected solid demand and encouraged a sense of overall optimism for the months ahead.

Price Still a Priority
   Pocket-friendly diamond jewelry is in demand across the globe, a reflection of the continuing economic instability. This holiday season only accentuated the point. Colin Shah, managing director of Kama Schachter, explained, “Diamonds have always been in demand, whether in India or the international market, and that demand will only increase. In India, with fluctuating gold prices, there has been an increase in demand for lightweight diamond jewelry. Consumers who purchase large diamonds prefer sizes from .30 carats to 1 carat.”
   Colin Shah said he has noticed that while brilliant round white diamonds have traditionally been the all-time favorite in the industry, colored diamonds have been increasing in popularity. “In the international market, there has been some movement from white to color and we have noticed increased demand for colored diamonds in brown, pink and yellow,” he said. “Fiamma, our new line of jewelry with pink color-enhanced diamonds, has seen increased demand in our fashion jewelry collection.” Generally, though, he noted that India is lagging behind other countries in embracing colored diamonds and the country’s consumers are more likely to pair white diamonds with precious colored gemstones than they are to buy colored diamonds.
   In cuts, Colin Shah said rounds have been the traditional favorites but there is now some demand for cushion and emerald cuts, which are seen as being very stylish.

Ringing out the Holidays
   Assessing the 2013 holiday season, Sanjay Shah, director of Gold Star Diamond Pvt. Ltd., pointed out, “Demand was slow for better goods.” But he noted that there was good demand for diamond jewelry from the Chinese as well as the U.S. market. “As far as the U.S. market is concerned, there was a strong demand for -2 carat to .50-carat sizes in G to K color and I2 to I3 clarities in white and white naats,” he said. “There is some demand in white naats in the $350 to $400 range in -11 but the requests are for very specific sizes.”
   In regard to the domestic Indian market, Sanjay Shah noted there “is some movement in northern India for piqué goods below $200 but everything else is showing sluggish demand throughout the country. VS and VVS have negligible movement.”
   Sharing details on pockets of demand for the recent holiday season, Abhishek Haritwal, managing director, Haritsons Group, said, “We noticed a steep rise in low-value flats and rose cuts set in silver jewelry, especially for the pre-Christmas export orders. Northern metropolitan areas in India are seeing a great push in flat and rose-cut diamond sales as most of the ethnic style of Indian design — known in the country as jadau — in wedding jewelry or offbeat designer pieces uses these stones. Diamond slices, rose cuts and flats are used in the majority of reproduction Indian and European jewelry design, which is a current rage.” Citing a trend he came across at the Jaipur Jewellery Show, Haritwal said, “95 percent of the booths were displaying flat diamond jewelry in either a 24-karat jadau look or with silver and 14-karat gold in Victorian and European styles.”

Wish List 2014
   With the onset of a new year, hopes are always on an upswing and that is true also of the gems and jewelry industry. Looking to the future in 2014, Ghanshyam Dholakia, managing director of Hari Krishna Exports Pvt. Ltd., predicted, “There will be good demand for 30-, 40-, 50-pointers, 1-carat and 1.5-carat diamonds in D to H color. We will also witness a continued shortage of cushion and oval shapes. We also expect good demand for fancy shapes above 1 carat with nice makes. Overall, higher-value goods will be slow.” As for economic indicators on his wish list, Dholakia cited “an improving U.S. market combined with stronger U.S. consumer confidence along with increased demand from the domestic Indian market.”
   Despite the fact that he was encouraged by an increase in holiday 2013 sales of around 3 percent, Sanjay Shah is cautious in his projections for 2014. “I don’t see much change. I think business will be similar to 2013. I don’t foresee much strong demand. The market will be dull, with just routine business getting done.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - January 2014. To subscribe click here.

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