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"Diamonds are legion in India’s rock caves…"

25 november 2014

Last week, the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) held a presentation organized in team with the Moscow Diamond Bourse in the Marriott Hotel, Moscow.

Anil Sanghwal, chairman of the North Region in India, spoke on behalf of the GJEPC stressing that the history of diamond and gem exports from India can be traced back for several centuries: polished diamonds and jewels brought from India were sold to the kings and peerage in Europe (you can’t avoid remembering the Song of India in Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Sadko”, the words from which were taken for the article heading). Anil Sanghwal emphasized that the cultures of India and Russia have much in common and reminded about the mega-popularity of Raj Kapoor, an outstanding Indian actor, in Russia as an example.

Describing the prospects of the Russian-Indian co-operation, the representatives of the GJEPC announced the agency’s latest initiatives and achievements. The contribution of the gem and jewellery sector to the India’s foreign exchange earnings in the last fiscal year reached US$ 34, 746.90, a decline of 11 percent as compared to the previous year (due to the hardline policy on gold imports). Meanwhile, polished diamond exports earned US$ 19, 635 million, an increase of 12.65 percent. The industry also saw an increase of 11.98 percent in rough diamond imports, which reached US$ 16, 716 million indicating higher activity in the Indian manufacturing sectors.

The combined exports of the gold jewellery and gold medallions in the period of April 2013 to April 2014 was US$ 11, 045.92 million, which showed a 39.5 percent decline mainly due to lack of gold. This year, coloured gem exports also dropped to US$ 519 million, down by 20.1 percent. However, silver jewellery exports posted a significant increase by 58.57 percent to US$ 1,460 million. Key export destinations for gems and jewellery were the UAE (35% of total exports) followed by Hong Kong (28%) and the USA (14%).

But there has been a robust growth in the polished diamond sector. The market is on the rise. Polished diamonds are selling well, even high-end stones from 3 to 10 carats. Demand for them is expected to double by 2020 (up to $3 billion). Polished diamonds find recognition as an investment tool and their price could grow by 5-6% per year on the average. According to the representatives of the GJEPC, the agency pins its hopes on the emerging new markets and mulls various initiatives to promote diamond industry goods.

An overall outlook for India’s gems and jewellery exports in the years to come is positive. The Council is exploring new geographies and continues its various initiatives aimed at promoting international and domestic diamond and jewelry trade in India (the share of the jewellery industry in India’s total exports is 16.67 percent). The Council initiates global exhibitions like the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) (the second largest in Asia) and India International Jewellery Week (IIJW), as well as numerous buyer-seller meets – together with China, the USA and UAE that are essential for establishing stronger business ties. The GJEPC takes part in Baselworld 2014, JCK Las Vegas Show 2014, Singapore International Jewellery Expo, Bangkok Gems and Jewellery Fair 2014, submits its recommendations on the budget to the government of India and regularly issues reports on the industry. In addition to the above GJEPC initiatives and many gem buyer-seller meets scheduled, the MoU signed with ALROSA contributes to this process, and it has become another evidence of warmer trade relations between India and Russia. The MoU stipulates the exchange of information on co-operation between the Indian and Russian diamond sectors, including overviews of the diamond market situation, the Indian and Russian trade figures, and information based on the Indian diamond market research.

The Global Gem and Jewellery Fair offered an opportunity to explore new markets in the Middle East – Dubai and the Gulf countries - to the Indian participants. Over 130 representatives of the jewellery industry from India and the Gulf countries took part in the Fair. After the astounding success of the first edition in 2014, the GJEPC received the invitation to hold another fair in Dubai in six months. The India-China Gemstones Buyer-Seller Meet organized recently was very helpful in establishing stronger business ties. The India-USA Buyer-Seller Meet was organized in Chicago in September. The GJEPC aims at strengthening the existing trade ties with the USA and attracting new customers to the Indian gem and jewellery industry.

After Mr. Sanghwal’s presentation, the floor was taken by Mr. Alex Popov, CEO of the Moscow Diamond Bourse, which is the authorized representative of the GJEPC in Russia since 2008. He also stressed the role of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council in the Indian diamond industry. The GJEPC combines the efforts of individual exporters in the gem and jewellery sector to promote the economic growth of India, turn it into a major trading hub for gems and jewellery and create a brand dubbed ‘India’.

The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council was founded in 1966 by the Ministry of Trade and Industry that partly finances the GJEPC within the framework of the export-oriented programmes. The Council comprises about 6, 000 members and is involved in regulating all the export operations and international trade being a kind of a ‘bridge’ connecting the industry and the government. Throughout its existence, the Council has promoted many ideas for the benefit of the industry, which resulted in establishing the Bharat Diamond Bourse, introduction of octroi (a local municipal tax imposed on consumer goods brought to a given region), and many others.

The GJEPC maintains 15-20 Indian pavilions at the exhibitions in various countries, for example, at Baselworld (where the Ministry of Trade put the GJEPC in charge of creating an ‘Indian Palace’), JCK Las Vegas, Hong Kong Show and Jewellery Arabia; organizes top level meetings with the representatives of major markets; supports the Indian diamantaires and jewelers. The GJEPC is among the leaders in the skilful management of the jewellery industry that provides the control over the state of this business. The agency reviews export performance on a monthly basis and holds conferences on diamonds and colored gems - ‘From Mines to Market’.

India is one of the leaders in manufacturing polished diamonds and an established world trading centre for gems and jewellery. 

The GJEPC believes the industry has a bright future and makes its best to move faster and make the ‘India’ brand recognizable around the world.

Mr. Sanghwal invited all those present to take part in the Indian exhibitions like the IIJS и IIJW, and particularly, invited to the Signature Exhibition, that will be held in Mumbai in February next year.

The fact that the World Diamond Conference – to be attended by all major diamond industry players - will be hosted in New-Delhi in December is another evidence that India is becoming an important diamond center.

Galina Semyonova, Rough&Polished