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In future, only those who offer innovative designs will survive

30 october 2017

k_srinivasan_xx.jpgA science graduate from Madras University, Srinivasan's one-man venture with just 10 employees launched in 1984 has now grown into the present Emerald Group, in about 3 plus decades.

The Group from Southern India is one of the largest jewellery manufacturing conglomerate employing more than 4 500 personnel, and boasting of about 300 000 designs in gold, diamond and platinum jewellery.

The award-winning Group has gradually transformed gold jewellery manufacturing from the conventional methods to technology and talent-driven one. Emerald Group owns four ultra-modern production facilities in Coimbatore each specializing in different kinds of product range, with an annual jewellery production of about 20 tons.

Speaking to Rough & Polished, Srinivasan expresses his opinion candidly about the Indian jewellery sector and its future prospects, with his insights on the need for focusing on the 'design aspect' to survive in the future, where changing tastes of the millennial consumers will rule the demand scenario.

Some excerpts:

Can you walk us through your Emerald Group, its growth graph over the years, and its present standing as a major jewellery manufacturing group in India, with presence across the globe?

Emerald Jewel Industry India Limited has its origin in 1984 as a proprietorship concern in the name and style of Emerald Jewellers.   In year 2004, a Private Limited Company was floated under the name and style of Emerald Jewel Industry India Pvt Ltd., which subsequently took over the various group concerns such as Emerald Jewellers, Emerald Jewel Creators, Emerald Jewel Tech etc.

In 2006, another three subsidiary Companies were floated viz., Ishtaa Gold Jewellery Pvt. Ltd, Indiania Jewellery Co Pvt. Ltd., and Emerald Jewel Export India Pvt. Ltd.   Indiania Jewellery Co. Pvt Ltd is a joint venture with an Italian firm Mauro Vanzi.

In 2007, Boutique de Emerald India Ltd, also became a subsidiary of Emerald Jewel Industries India Pvt Ltd. Emerald Jewel Industry India Private Limited was converted to a public Limited Company during December 2007.

In 2008, the subsidiary companies Boutique de Emerald India Ltd. and Emerald Jewel Export India Pvt. Ltd., were merged with the parent Company Emerald Jewel Industry India Limited. The last merger is that of Ishtaa Gold Jewellery Pvt. Ltd, with the parent company.

Our production has grown substantially over the past 3 decades. In the 1980s, our production was a meagre 36000 gms annually with 10 employees. But today, Emerald Group employs more than 4500 personnel with a global presence. Currently, the annual production of the company is more than 20 tons. The real growth graph of Emerald Group is mainly due to 4 aspects - Purity of gold, unique Design, affordable price and good quality product. The Group boasts of unique custom made ‘QC’ standards enforced at each and every stage of production.

As of today, the following companies constitute the Emerald Group:

Emerald Jewel Industry India Ltd., (Parent company)

Emerald Jewellery Retail Ltd., (subsidiary company)

Indiania Jewellery Co. Pvt. Ltd., (subsidiary company)

Emerald Jewellers DMCC, Dubai, UAE (subsidiary company)

Jewelone Jewellery LLC, Dubai, UAE (subsidiary company),

Emerald Bullions and Jewellers Pvt Ltd.(Group Company)

Al Jawharh Al Ula Jewellery Ind LLLC, Sharjah (Group Company – A manufacturing Unit)

The Group has a centralized marketing office in Mumbai.There are about 100 Wholesalers spread across India, who buy the finished products from the factory directly and sell to customers through the Retailers. Shop-in-shop model is the marketing strategy the group has adopted for marketing their branded jewellery such as Ishtaa & Nishtaa.

In addition to the above brands, ‘Jewelone’ was launched with a view to reaching the common man at an affordable price. The Group has ambitious plans to open the showrooms in all major cities and towns in the entire South India in the coming years.

The Company has the ‘Trading House' status for its continuous excellent performance in exports, by the Govt. of India.; and has won numerous Awards from Govt.of Kerala, GJEPC, GJF, GIA, BBAL, JJS etc.

Having started your business in the Indian domestic market, your views on its growth over the years, changes in demand related to style, design, gold, and diamond and coloured stone jewellery. With regards to diamond especially, what is the demand/trend in quality/size of diamonds in jewellery in today’s domestic market?

Emerald started its domestic operation in traditional plain handmade jewellery and gradually got the best of the best technology available across the world for all its new project namely casting, stamping Imprez, Italian hollow, machine chain, CNC, and Electroforming, this new project made all the jewellery unique due to the complexity and lightweight.

Emerald has always been innovative and very focused on developing unique designs. The present generation likes light weight and good design and so we understand their taste and produce accordingly. Due to the uniqueness in our designs, there is always demand for our products.Though Emerald is doing diamond for more than a decade, our strength is gold.

When we started with diamond, we were the first company to start the bagging cut, so that to maintain the lustre and symmetry of the diamond. We started using only high-quality VVS EF sawn good for all the traditional diamond jewellery in the South India.

With respect to diamond, the demand for +11-14 size is good in South India, mainly due to the quality consistency maintained in diamond along with colour. Our aim is to give quality products of what the market demands and according to the demand/trend in quality/size of the market and liking of the customers we innovate and develop designs.

Over the years, what transformations have you seen in jewellery demand in general - in terms of diamond content, gold content, design, etc. - in the gold-loving Indian market and what is the trend at present, region-wise? Has demand for diamonds picked up?

As we cater to all the regions in India, our products are made to suit demand from across the country. We are involved in designing, developing, production and distribution of wide spectrum of jewellery like handmade Jewellery, casting Jewellery, machine Made Jewellery, Stamping Jewellery, Diamond Jewellery, Multi-Color Studded Jewellery, Fusion of casting and handmade Jewellery, Filigree Jewellery, Light Weight Jewellery including Italian mesh jewellery, Branded Jewellery such as Ishtaa & Nishtaa, Light Weight Electroforming Jewelry (18 & 22 ct), Light Weight Electroforming Articles (24 ct) & Imprez Collections, “Jewelone” branded jewellery, “Corona & Athena” Diamond Jewellery, FFF Collections for Kids and so on...

The population is increasing and so demand for jewellery also grows. In general, only the design-oriented and quality products will move in the market.

Your take on the two main markets where your Group has a strong presence - Indian domestic jewellery sector and Dubai. What growth have you seen over the past decade, not only in demand but in style/design, etc., in jewellery? Your comment on the future demand prospects from these markets.

Both India and Dubai are unique markets and the growth has been seen year on year. Compared to the past decade our growth has doubled now. When you talk about design, as we cater to Indian population in Dubai their taste is almost similar to our local market. We have a good designer base across 4 Metro centres in India and Dubai. Along with various projects, mix match and technology-oriented jewellery stand a very good future.

And your presence overseas... How many marketing/ distributing offices does the Group have right now and what are the plans to grow in that front? What other locations are you looking to spread your wings? If so, how do you justify entering these markets, given the economic downturn in most consuming markets?

We presently have our wholesale office in Dubai to cater our customers in the Middle East. Almost a year now since we started a production unit in Sharjah which is reasonably doing well.

At the moment, there is no plan to spread our wings overseas though we have plans to take our Retail wing to cover Pan-India in the near future.

The company has a capacity to produce more than 35 tons of Gold Jewellery & Articles, Diamond Jewellery per annum and about 70 tons of installed capacity to produce Silver Articles per annum in the production facilities presently, which will help us to supply Pan-India.

What changes have you seen in general in overseas markets, regarding design in plain gold as well as coloured stone/diamond jewellery demand in recent years? Your comments on the future prospects of these markets in terms of diamond jewellery, quality of diamond in demand, etc.

There is a tough competition between countries and peoples’ expectation is high. The present generation perspective is different from earlier generations as the present generation does not view gold as an investment.

In my opinion in future whoever gives the best designs will survive. To keep in tune with the market demand, we have four sophisticated ‘Design Studios’ for the Emerald Group in the cities of Coimbatore, Mumbai, Calcutta & Delhi.

In terms of trends, do you foresee a future where less caratage gold or even silver diamond/colour stone studded jewellery will be accepted in the Indian as well as overseas markets?

The trend these days is moving towards to less caratage gold jewellery. Destination weddings are also becoming popular and people buy destination jewellery as there is no risk of customs. As of now, people prefer 18 kt gold jewellery; and in future, it may go down to 14 kt also.

How has the Indian Government's GST regime affected your Group's business? And how do you see it affecting the whole Indian gem and jewellery industry? Your comments, please.

Our business has not been affected due to GST because we are already organised. Only unorganised business may suffer as it is a transition period. In this move, initially there would be teething problems but in the long run, it is good for the jeweller as well as the country.

Exports of gem and jewellery from the country has declined drastically during the last few months. Given the numerous challenges being faced by the industry, your take on how the industry can get back to its former robust position? Any suggestions?

There may be decline during the last few months but it is not alarming. Export of Gem and Jewellery can scale up provided the existing issues such as non-availability of gold, blockage of working capital in the form of IGST on import gold, permission for import of gold directly for export purposes, personal carriage of gold from countries like Dubai against exports made, drawback facility for platinum jewellery, etc are sorted out by the government the industry can get back to its earlier robust position.

To wrap up, what are Emerald Group’s current initiatives in the ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ endeavours? Any more plans for the future?

Towards the CSR activities, Emerald has a Trust called ‘Krisha Charitable Trust’ through which financial help is provided to the needy students for their school/college education, medical assistance to the poor, providing certain modern facilities in government schools, etc. Our future plan is to start a secular educational institute for the benefit of the local society.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Indian Bureau, Rough&Polished