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There truly is a shift of interest of the masses in LGDs

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shashikant_d_shah_axx.pngShashikanth Dalichand Shah, Chairman of Lab Grown Diamond & Jewelry Promotion Council (LGDJPC), has been promoting the lab-grown diamond and jewellery sector for the past few years spreading awareness of lab-grown diamonds and helping and educating traders in the sector.

A businessman in his own right Shashikant D Shah is the founder and owner of DM Gems which was established in 2003. The very next year the company was appointed as Distributor for Gemesis Cultured Diamonds (Gemesis Corp.) and entered the world of lab-grown diamonds (LGD).

Armed with a commerce degree, Shashikant Shah entered the diamond trade by opening a diamond jewellery showroom exclusively for Nakshatra and Asmi brands in 2003 and has not looked back since.

In an exclusive interview with Rough&Polished, Shashikanth Shah talks about the recently concluded LGDJ Expo in Mumbai; and also foresees a great future for the LGD sector globally.

Some excerpts:

How do you rate the 2nd edition of the Lab Grown Diamond Show (LGDS 2022) in terms of visitors, the volume of business generated on-site, and orders coming post the expo?

This year we had a tremendous response and more than 11,000 visitors from across the country and also from Dubai, Hong Kong, USA and Antwerp. In terms of business, we witnessed many deals going through and many MoUs being signed with Indian Growers, which if executed properly may achieve a total business of more than 50 billion.

Can you give us the approximate number of LGD producing labs as well as cutting and polishing units in India currently? What is the production volume in both processes?

There are almost 8-9 big growers and 100’s units in the cutting and polishing process. There must be more than 150 thousand carats being grown in India, processed and exported majorly to USA, Hong Kong, Dubai, etc., and more than 200 thousand carats rough lab grown diamonds processed including imported rough lab grown diamonds and lab grown diamonds grown in India

What is the volume of rough LGD imported, and from which countries? What volume of polished goods is exported from India; and from which country is the major demand?

Last year, in April 2021 time frame, total imports of rough lab grown diamonds amounted to more than 80 million dollars and during the same time frame, this year in April 2022 import of rough lab grown diamonds was more than 100 million dollars, in the same manner, exports of polished lab grown diamonds for April 2021 amounted to 90 million dollars and during April 2022 export of polished lab grown diamonds amounted to almost 150 million dollars. The major demand we see is from the United States of America.

What percentage of the polished stones does the Indian market consume? What is the present demand pattern for LGD jewellery in India?

The percentage of polished lab grown diamonds being consumed in India as of now is too low compared to what is being exported, but truly awareness is being spread and new jewellery giants such as Sonani Jewels, Bhandari Lab Grown Diamond Jewellery, Maitri Lab Grown Diamond Jewellery, Go Green Lab Grown Diamond Jewellery, Wonder Diamonds, Fiona Solitaire, Limelight and many more are doing a great job.

The LGD sector has been growing in leaps and bounds in India. According to media reports, the State Bank of India has begun financing the sector. Your thoughts?

Better late than never. It has been a need but due to the pandemic, I feel the same has been delayed by almost 2 years. Its blessings in the skies, as it will help as we all know the initial capital cost is huge.

What will be the future trend for LGDs/jewellery globally? Given that Gen Z is also showing interest in LGD/ LGD jewellery, do you see a shift in interest from mined stones considering the price difference? Your opinion.

Shifting its interest from mined diamonds, I am yet not so sure. But as a new product, yes, there truly is a shift of interest of the masses as it is affordable and many new designs as per the tastes of Gen-Z can be achieved and huge clientele base can be targeted.

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