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Too early to say good days are back, but the industry is witnessing changes

10 july 2017

rajesh_lakhani_xx.jpgRajesh Lakhani, Director of Kiran Gems Pvt Ltd has more than 20 years standing in the diamond industry shouldering major responsibilities at Kiran including planning, developing and managing global marketing, sales and distribution of polished goods. Here, in an interview with Rough & Polished, Rajesh Lakhani comments on the industry's present status and the challenges that it is facing at present.

Some excerpts:

Your views on the recently concluded JCK Vegas Show? Can you give us an idea of the quality/size/colour of polished goods that were in high demand?

The expectations from the show in JCK Vegas was more. The visitor turns around was less when seen in the perspective of that. However, as per Kiran Gems’ observation, it was decent in terms of the seriousness of the buyers.

There were sizeable enquiries of certified diamonds and loose diamonds of course in the American goods, i.e. SI2 and below.

In recent overseas jewellery demand, is ‘silver’ being substituted for ‘gold’ due to high gold prices, especially in diamond studded jewellery?

Any such observation is yet to make on our part. We cannot really say that the ‘gold’ is being replaced by ‘silver’, however- there are businesses which are undertaking a few pilots.

In view of a recent increase in the Indian G&J industry export performance, do you think good days are here again for the Indian industry?

The increase in exports is good news for the industry. It is still too early to comment on whether or not the good days are back. But, yes, the industry is witnessing changes and market is slowly and steadily moving toward stability and growth.

How do you think the natural diamond sector can be protected from lab-grown diamonds, especially in ‘mixing’ episodes?

There are no serious mixing incidents of late. The natural diamonds industry is strong enough. The industry has weathered many such challenges in the past posed by possible substitutes. The desire of natural diamonds is driven by emotions that cannot be easily be replaced by man-made items, if managed well. Trade bodies, like DPA and GJEPC, are mandated with a task to rekindle the target market using the right promotion mix, and they have started well.

Some industry players feel that the SNZ at the Bharat Diamond Bourse will be more useful, if the Indian government makes necessary changes in the tax structure for trading in the SNZ. Your views, please.

It is a commendable step by the government to have built such a place. We are sure the government would do all that is beneficial for the trade and finally to the country.

What is your opinion on the steps taken by the Indian government in terms of implementing the Goods & Services Tax (GST) by 1 July 2017? How will it affect your business given that you are mainly exporters?

The transition to unified tax regime is set to create a little rejig. However, in the long term, it is expected to be good for the trade.

As far functioning of business is concerned, the process and training to adapt to the requirements laid out by the government has been initiated and is smooth.

For the benefit of the readers, can you run us through the Kiran Group's history? Any new projects in the offing for the coming year? Where do you see the Group, say five years down the line?

Kiran Gems Pvt Ltd is the world’s largest manufacturer of diamonds. The company was incorporated in 1985 in Mumbai. Kiran Gems became De Beers Sightholder in the year 2005 and has been the winner of the largest exporter of cut and polished diamonds award by GJEPC since 2007-08. During the same years, the company and its erstwhile group companies were awarded many other awards by GJEPC for showcasing excellent business performance.

Kiran Gems creates employment opportunities for over 36,000 people - the largest in the diamond industry. The company gets its diamonds cut and polished in 170 dedicated manufacturing units. Kiran Gems exported to over 36 countries in the FY 2016-17.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished

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