The Gem and Jewelry Industry in India: Looking Forward

India has long been known as the land of exquisite jewelry. According to the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), India’s gross exports of polished diamonds, colored gemstones and jewelry totaled $39.899 billion in the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2015. Polished diamonds made up the majority of that figure, with $23.16 billion worth of the stones being exported from India.

India’s massive diamond manufacturing sector employs nearly one million people across the country. Though it initially concentrated only on small diamonds, India now cuts and polishes stones of all sizes and shapes. Most of the manufacturing activity is centred in the western coast of India and is carried out by a highly skilled workforce in large, modern factories with the latest high-tech machinery and equipment. India today manufactures over 65 per cent of the world’s polished diamonds in terms of value, 85 per cent in terms of volume and 92 per cent in terms of number of pieces.

India also has a long tradition in the manufacturing of jewelry and coloured gemstones. Jaipur, which is the hub of the coloured gemstone trade is the world’s largest manufacturer of many different gemstones including tanzanite and emeralds, amongst others. The jewelry segment is now mature and fully developed with highly talented designers and skilled artisans creating the widest possible range of jewelry. From mass-produced diamond jewelry designed for Europe or USA to exquisitely crafted designer jewelry in plain gold or studded with diamonds and coloured gemstones, India offers it all.

There are three main bodies concerned with advancing the gem and jewelry trade in India: the GJEPC, the Gem and Jewellery Trade Council of India (GJTCI), and the All India Gems and Jewelry Trade Federation (GJF). Together, these three organizations provide invaluable resources to the Indian jewelry trade; the display of the latest technology, trends and attractions in the industry both domestically and overseas, and sponsorships and other programs that drive new employees and entrepreneurs into the sector.

The GJEPC is the oldest organization, set up by the Ministry of Commerce of the Government of India in 1966. Today it represents almost 6000 exporters in the sector. It organizes the annual India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) and Signature IIJS. More recently, it has also organized the India Gem and Jewellery Machinery Expo (IGJME), which allows manufacturing companies in the field to access cutting-edge technologies without traveling abroad. It also organizes representation of the Indian Jewelry Industry at expos and trade fairs overseas, as well as the popular India International Jewellery Week, which attracts both fashion enthusiasts and buyers from India and abroad.

A crucial aspect of the GJEPC’s functioning relates to various measures undertaken to upgrade, upskill and generally improve the industry’s standards and products.

The GJEPC India Gem & Jewellery Awards has over the years recognized achievement and excellence of the leading companies within the industry and acted as a spur to improve performance to others.  New categories like Woman Entrepreneur and Socially Responsible Company introduced recently have kept the awards categories relevant and up to date with the current environment. In order to encourage artisans, craftsmen and designers to aspire for ever-higher heights in innovation and design creativity, the Council initiated an annual design competition which has evolved into today’s Artisan Jewellery Design Awards.

The GJTCI has over 1000 members spread all over India, and is primarily concerned with introducing Indian gem and jewelry products to the domestic and international market by informing its members of various fairs and exhibitions taking place around the world.

The GJF represents various industry segments including manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, allied, gold, silver, platinum, diamonds, gem stones, machinery and more – the entire industry value chain from bullion to retail. Its initiatives are largely focused within India, on improving industry business practices, promoting compliance, standardization and transparency, developing skills, promoting entrepreneurship and expanding career opportunities, and offering sponsorships and educational opportunities to encourage new talent in the industry.

Currently, The GJEPC is promoting several ongoing efforts to position India as the ideal destination for not only cutting and polishing diamonds, but for manufacturing diamond and precious gemstone jewelry as well. Some of these initiatives include India pavilions at numerous global exhibitions including the Beijing International Jewellery Fair, The Vicenza Oro Dubai 2015 and the Smart Jewellery Show 2015 in Chicago, USA. The organization is also focusing on adding value through design excellence and with regular trend forecast seminars.

In April of this year, a GJEPC-organized delegation representing Indian jewelers traveled to Latin America, exploring the market for Indian diamonds and gems in Panama, Mexico and Brazil. Today, India’s jewelry industry is truly set to dominate on the world stage!

Learn more about the fascinating world of gems and gemology at JK